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Concerts: Todd Snider, Guster, Montana Skies

todd_JJW-14_20120321_135134Todd Snider, who released two new albums in 2012, will headline the Variety Playhouse on Friday, Jan. 4. Photo courtesy Shore Fire Media

FRIDAY
Todd Snider

Nashville’s Snider can be snarky and snide, but he’s also witty, observant and even poignant. He released two albums in 2012. “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables” is a set of his own originals that The New York Times deems among his best work and calls “a genial catalog of working-class rage and revenge.” He also paid tribute to one of his inspirations with “Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker.” Jack Ingram, who was originally on the bill for this show, has been replaced by Elizabeth Cook.
8:30 p.m. today. Variety Playhouse. $22.50. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

SATURDAY
Montana Skies

Guitar and cello duo blends chamber music, world music and rock. Husband-and-wife team Jonathan and Jennifer Adams met as students at the University of Georgia. They’ve just made the compilation “cello.guitar.fusion” available through the Montana Skies website (www.montanaskiesmusic.com). Until recently, you could only get it at their shows, but it’s now available as both a download and a physical CD. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the duo’s music.
8 p.m. Saturday. $15; $12 in advance. The Art Place-Mountain View, 3330 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. 770-509-2700.

SUNDAY
Joe Gransden

It would be easy to take the Chet Baker-like charms of trumpeter and vocalist Gransden for granted. He’s a hardworking musician who seems to be playing somewhere in Atlanta every day. Even if that were true, we’d be OK with it, since he’s always a joy to hear.
6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. $20. The Velvet Note, 4075 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta. 1-855-583-5838.

THURSDAY-JAN. 11
Guster

Guster is a quirky pop combo from Massachusetts with an acoustic bent and a college-band sensibility. The band has built a large and loyal following through seemingly endless touring and a charismatic live presence. This tour accompanies the release of “Live Acoustic,” available for download Tuesday, which was recorded on the band’s 2012 spring tour, and it’s billed as A Night of Acoustic Music featuring the Guster String Players.
8 p.m. Thursday; 8:30 p.m. Jan. 11. Tickets for Thursday are $27.50; $25 in advance. Jan. 11 show is sold out. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

THURSDAY-JAN. 12
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Principal clarinetist Laura Ardan premieres Michael Gandolfi’s “The Nature of Light,” a piece written for her. The two-part work explores the dual nature of light, with sections titled “Waves (Anthem)” and “Particles (Shape Shifter).” The program also includes young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen joining the orchestra for Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5. The orchestra also will play Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”
8 p.m. Thursday to Jan. 12. $23-$67. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000.

Shane Harrison, sharrison@ajc.com

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