Catch Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at the Buckhead Theatre on Friday, Nov. 23. Photo: Erika Goldring / All Eyes Media
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, the Whigs
The holiday season is a great time to catch locally based artists, and this show is among the best of the bunch. Isbell, formerly of Athens’ Drive-By Truckers, has been going from strength to strength with his acclaimed solo career, winning song of the year for “Alabama Pines” at the 2012 Americana Music Awards. His latest album is “Live From Alabama,” which includes his own take on “Outfit,” a brilliant gem he originally recorded with the Truckers. Crafting crunchy modern rock that transcends most of its contemporaries with hook-filled and memorable songs, Athens’ Whigs proves that you don’t need gimmicks to make great records. The band’s fourth album, “Enjoy the Company,” was released in September. They’re joined by Athens alt-country chanteuse Lera Lynn and Atlanta rock quintet the District Attorneys.
8:30 p.m. Nov. 23. $20; $17.50 in advance. The Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-843-2825.
Martina McBride: “The Joy of Christmas”
The clarity and technical proficiency of McBride’s voice makes the perfect vehicle for songs of the season. For a preview of what’s in store, check out her 1998 album, “White Christmas,” which got an upgrade and four new songs with its 2007 reissue.
8 p.m. Nov. 23. $39.50-$59.50. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.
Eddie Owen Presents Songwriter’s Open Mic Shootout #1
When he presided over Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, the Open Mic Shootouts were among the most entertaining and variety-packed nights of entertainment on the calendar. Expect that to continue as Owen revives the concept at his new home.
7:30 p.m. Nov. 23. $20. The Red Clay Theatre, 3116 Main St., Duluth. 404-478-2749.
This diminutive guitarist is an Atlanta native and Westminster graduate who has earned a place among the best contemporary six-string players. Back in 2007, Rolling Stone named the 20 new guitar gods, and King was the only female among them. Her new album, “Glow,” finds her working with adventurous contemporary classical string quartet ETHEL.
9 p.m. Nov. 23. $13-$15. Terminal West, 887 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta.
Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas Show
If you think bigger is better when it comes to Christmas music, then Mannheim Steamroller is for you. Mannheim Steamroller is about as subtle as the second half of its name, but there’s something holiday-appropriate about the synthetically over-the-top concoctions created by Chip Davis. Perhaps that’s why Davis has sold close to 30 million copies of his Christmas albums.
8 p.m. Nov. 24. $34-$65. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.
Shawn Mullins, Michelle Malone
Here’s another chance to catch up with a couple of long-serving local musicians. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mullins, who had an international hit with “Lullaby” in the late ’90s, has been a presence on the Atlanta scene since the late ’80s. His latest album is 2010’s “Light You Up,” but he’s been busy with another project. Mullins produced the latest album by the artist who shares this bill. “Day 2” is fellow Atlanta native Malone’s 14th album. Playboy raves that “on this loose and blues-stoked new album, Malone churns up those Southern roots with the vigor of Lucinda Williams while embracing her inner Keith Richards.”
8:30 p.m. Nov. 24. $22.50; $20. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Kristian Bush and Friends
Taking a break from filling stadiums as half of country superstar duo Sugarland, Bush comes home to the intimate music room at Eddie’s Attic for three shows. He’ll be joined by Ellis Paul and Canaan Smith on Sunday, and Patrick Davis takes Paul’s place for the Monday show.
6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Nov. 25; 8 p.m. Nov. 26. $25. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.
Megadeth was formed by guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1983 after he was dismissed from Metallica. His political pronouncements have been getting more attention than his musical exploits in recent months, but this tour is celebrating one of Megadeth’s milestones. It’s the 20th anniversary of “Countdown to Extinction,” and the band will play the entire album live (along with a batch of fan favorites).
7 p.m. Nov. 26. $34.50. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.
LaMontagne sounds like classic rock without aping anyone in particular. His rootsy, blues-tinged singer-songwriter Americana is a dark horse winner. His debut album, “Trouble, “ was a word-of-mouth success, supported by a heavy touring schedule. His fourth and latest album, 2010’s “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise,” was named Grammy’s best contemporary folk album.
8 p.m. Nov. 28. $32.50-$62.50. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800.
Shane Harrison, email@example.com