The New Orleans Suspects — from left, CR Gruver, Jeff Watkins, Reggie Scanlan, Jake Eckert and Mean Willie Green — will play Smith’s Olde Bar on New Year’s Eve. Photo: Jeffrey Dupuis
JJ Grey & Mofro
Grey’s evocative songs about the vanishing landscape of his home state of Florida and its hearty backwoods denizens are buoyed by his band’s deeply funky execution. His music is still as down-home and tasty as a mess of collard greens and fried catfish. You’ll have a hard time finding a set of muscular swamp funk this soulful, proud and unrepentantly Southern.
8:30 p.m. Dec. 28. $27.50; $25 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Among the post-Dead jam-rockers, popular Chicago outfit Umphrey’s McGee is more accomplished — and more varied — than most. “Miami Virtue,” the lead track on the band’s latest album, “Death by Stereo,” even recalls ’80s synth pop. “Domino Theory” rides on a big, crunchy guitar riff. There’s still room for things like a long-awaited studio take on “Hajimemashite,” a compact epic that brings to mind a modern take on Wishbone Ash and shows off the stellar talents of guitarist Jake Cinninger. It’s also been a fan favorite, a frequent part of the band’s live set from the beginning and first appeared on the 1998 live album “Songs for Older Women.”
8 p.m. Dec. 28-31. $35; Dec. 31 sold out. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.
The Hackensaw Boys with Danny Barnes
There’s nothing watered down about the Hackensaw Boys’ take on Appalachian traditions. This Virginia aggregation’s stuff can get rowdy, and really, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. The boys will be joined by former Bad Livers leader and banjo player extraordinaire Barnes.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Dec. 30. $18; $15 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-875-1522.
New Orleans Suspects
This Crescent City supergroup came together following the demise of the Radiators in 2011 after more than three decades. Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan is joined by Neville Brothers drummer Mean Willie Green, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Jake Eckert on guitar, Outformation keyboardist C.R. Gruver and former James Brown sax man Jeff Watkins. Both the band’s self-titled debut and a live album were released this year. Expect to hear songs from New Orleans legends such as Professor Longhair, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint along with tunes from the members’ former bands and some originals.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Dec. 31. $25 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-875-1522.
Take a trip through the hypnotic catalog of this Savannah-born, Athens-based band at the group’s annual year-end shows, which have been going strong since 2002 became 2003 during a sold-out show at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. The band’s music stretches across the jam-rock spectrum, taking in jazz, reggae, rock, country, blues and just about anything else that gets in its path.
8 p.m. Dec. 31. $30; $25 in advance. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
Atlanta singer and songwriter Leigh has been a hardworking musician on the local scene for many years, and now she’s getting noticed on a national scale. Part of that is due to another successful Georgia export. Zac Brown signed Leigh to his Southern Ground label. Leigh also co-wrote the Zac Brown Band’s current single, the Top 10 country hit “Goodbye in Her Eyes.”
9 p.m. Dec. 31. $30; $25 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Malone is one of the South’s hardest-working musicians. The bluesy roots-rocker released her debut album in 1988 and became a fixture on the Atlanta music scene in the ’90s. After living in Alabama for a time, she’s back in Atlanta when she isn’t on the road in support of her new album, “Day 2.”
7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 31. $22; $20 in advance. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.
By Shane Harrison, email@example.com