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Concerts: Toby Keith, Mary J. Blige, My Morning Jacket, Loretta Lynn

BrantleyGilbertAdd Brantley Gilbert to the list of chart-topping country music stars from Georgia. The Jefferson native scored two No. 1 hits last year and he’ll be opening to Toby Keith at Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood on Friday, Aug. 24. Photo courtesy Big Machine Label Group

Toby Keith, Brantley Gilbert

The two-time Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year Keith makes catchy, unapologetically country music that still appeals to a pop audience. It’s a tough balancing act, but he’s managed well. He has plenty of talent, and he gives people what they want. He scored his 29th No. 1 country single in 2011 with “Made in America,” the first track released from the album “Clancy’s Tavern.” That album’s second single, “Red Solo Cup,” became his highest charting single on the all-genre Top 40 pop chart, climbing to No. 15. Gilbert, from the Jackson County seat of Jefferson, makes easy work of a blend that eludes many mainstream country artists. His marriage of country and Southern rock rings true because he hasn’t knocked all the dirt off of his rural roots. His second album, “Halfway to Heaven,” contains two No. 1 singles with “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.”
7 p.m. Aug. 24. $19.75-$69.75. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-443-5090.

Loretta Lynn

Along with George Jones, Lynn is the living embodiment of all that is great and good about country music. There should be no hesitation about using the word legend when this groundbreaking singer and songwriter is the subject. Her early recordings still send shivers down the spine as she sings those hardscrabble songs with a twang as stalwart and strong as the mountains that fostered it. See our interview with the remarkably candid star. Atlanta singer and songwriter Sonia Leigh, who opens the show, has been a hard-working musician on the local scene for many years, and now she’s getting noticed on a national scale. Thanks to her longtime association with the Zac Brown Band, she’s now signed to Brown’s Southern Ground record label.
8 p.m. Aug. 24. $25-$55. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta. 404-733-4900.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

The country-folk tunesmith’s latest album, the June release “Ashes and Roses,” is among the most personal in the long line of finely crafted albums she’s released in the 25 years since her debut, “Hometown Girl.” The song “What to Keep and What to Throw Away,” for example, is “a moment-by-moment replay of having to clean out my former spouse’s things from my house,” she told Billboard. Carpenter has sustained a level of quiet brilliance that seems so effortless yet gets overlooked all too often.
8 p.m. Aug. 24. $49.50. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859.

IMG_9061The fabulously flamboyant Big Freedia is back in town this weekend for a performance at Terminal West. Photo courtesy the Windish Agency

Big Freedia

Bounce music is a distinctively New Orleans-based style of hip-hop. It’s an upbeat, chant-heavy and very sexualized take on rap that’s spawned an unusual, gender-bending sub-genre sometimes called sissy rap (or sissy bounce). Hip-hop is a genre that’s often criticized for homophobia, so sissy bounce is a surprising development, but it’s been an underground phenomenon for a while now. The flamboyant Big Freedia, aka the “Queen Diva” of bounce, released the debut album “An Ha, Oh Yeah” back in 1999. Freedia is one of the genre’s best known ambassadors, having taken the style to television earlier this year on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with “Excuse,” a track powered by speaker-rattling bass and Freedia’s rapid-fire patter. For you fans of HBO’s “True Blood,” imagine Lafayette as a rapper, and Big Freedia is what you’d get.
9 p.m. Aug. 24. $15. Terminal West, 887 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta.

My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses

Kentucky quintet My Morning Jacket’s sound has evolved over the years, demonstrating an unwillingness to remain in one place for very long. The reverb-drenched haze of the early years has given way to pop adventuring and an exploration of the influences — from Prince to Neil Young — that course through the band’s work. Formerly based in Seattle, the acclaimed Band of Horses returned to its native South Carolina before releasing 2007’s “Cease to Begin.” Frontman Ben Bridwell has crafted a shimmering blend of Neil Young and melodic indie rock haunted by his Southern roots. Album No. 4, “Mirage Rock,” is set for September release.
7 p.m. Aug. 24. $37-$49.50. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 404-733-5010.


If you want to know what Atlanta’s underground music scene sounds like, you won’t find a better place and time. At Nophest, you can hear 80 bands in one weekend. This independent local music festival, now in its sixth year, takes place in several East Atlanta venues.
8:30 p.m. Aug. 24; 2 p.m. Aug. 25 and 26. One day pass, $7.50; weekend pass, $15. 529, 529 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-228-6769.

B.B. King, Tedeschi Trucks Band

He’ll be 87 in a few weeks, so it’s no surprise that blues legend King does his shows seated center stage. While most musicians would have been retired for a couple of decades, King keeps up a demanding touring schedule that even includes a couple of dates in Brazil in October. Critically acclaimed blues-rock guitarist and singer Susan Tedeschi is a four-time Grammy nominee. Derek Trucks, guitarist for the Allman Brothers, also happens to be Tedeschi’s husband. The pair put their own bands on hiatus last year and joined together for this new project. The band released its second album, the two-disc live set “Everybody’s Talkin’,” in June. Check out our interview with Trucks.
7 p.m. Aug. 26. $45-$55; $35 lawn. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-733-5012.

mjbMary J. Blige headlines at Chastain Park Amphitheatre Tuesday, Aug. 28. She’ll be joined by the re-emerging D’Angelo and rising star Melanie Fiona. Photo: Getty Images

Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo

Queen of hip-hop soul Blige wipes the floor with many of the lip-syncing lesser musical mortals populating the charts these days. It’s been more than 12 years since his most recent album, “Voodoo,” but D’Angelo is slowly re-emerging, having made a surprise appearance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in June. Rumors of a new release with the working title “James River” have been flying since 2009. With his live appearances increasing, maybe 2012 is the year we’ll finally get some new music. With Melanie Fiona.
7 p.m. Aug. 28. $55.75-$125.75. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-733-5012.

Shane Harrison,

7 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


August 23rd, 2012
8:10 pm

Whoever wrote this article needs to be fired! You put a picture of Big Freedia but you fail to mention Phish is in town. Seriously…. Fire Shane Harrison.


August 24th, 2012
8:51 am

Mary J Blige on concert with De Angelo? This could be interesting. I am surprised she never did a reality show. I bet it would be quite watchable.
Now DeAngelo…..the jury is still out on. Where has he been in?

Shane Harrison

August 24th, 2012
10:10 am

When we have something separate planned on a show, I don’t always include it here. You’ll find more on Phish here:

[...] more music happenings, check out our Live Music Picks on the Atlanta Music Scene blog. This is just a selective list of events happening around town, so [...]

Simon George

August 27th, 2012
7:31 pm

I used to listen to a lot of electronic music until I got into MMJ and realized rock n roll, more specifically southern rock, is still alive and well. Jimmy James is truly a great front man backed by an awesome band. Great post keep up the hard work. Check these out IStillGotMyGuitar.


August 28th, 2012
3:02 pm

MJB and D’Angelo tonight at Chastain……a hurricane in the gulf and Atlanta is getting rain from it…the EXACT reason I don’t go to outdoor concerts. Hope they offer refunds.