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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Chris Tomlin album debuts at No. 1 on Billboard chart

Chris Tomlin has much to celebrate this week. Photo: Courtesy

Chris Tomlin has much to celebrate this week. Photo: Courtesy

Chris Tomlin is having a very proud day.

The Atlanta-based Christian singer just saw his latest album, “Burning Lights,” debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, only the fourth time in chart history that a Christian music album entered at the top spot.

“Burning Lights,” which in last week’s album review I noted found Tomlin at his peak, moved more than 72,000 copies in its first week; that’s small compared to the couple hundred thousand posted by acts such as Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars last month, but enough to earn top billing in January.

The impressive sales for the album, released on the locally-based sixstepsrecords, mark a 60 percent increase over the first-week sales of Tomlin’s last studio album, “And If Our God is For Us…,” which moved 45,000 units.

“Burning Lights” also captured the No. 1 slot on iTunes’ Christian and Gospel Albums chart the day of its release.

Tomlin is heading …

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Tickets: Emmylou Harris, Widespread Panic, Avett Brothers

emmylouharris.0625Emmylou Harris, seen here at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2010, returns to town for a show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with Rodney Crowell and Richard Thompson. Photo: Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

ON SALE JAN. 18

Dweezilla. A Dweezil Zappa master guitar class. 2 p.m.  Jan. 29. Variety Playhouse. $75. TM.

Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, Electra and Saul Kaye. Presented by the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. 8:30 p.m. March 16. Variety Playhouse. $30; $25 in advance. TM.

Leonard Cohen. 8 p.m. March 22. Fox Theatre. FoxATLTix.com.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Richard Thompson Electric Trio. 8 p.m. April 4. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. $35-$65. TM.

Sevendust, Coal Chamber, Lacuna Coil, Stolen Babies. 7 p.m. April 24. The Tabernacle. $26. LN.

Widespread Panic. 7:30 p.m. April 26-27. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. $47. TM.

The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show. 7:30 p.m. May 17. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. $38.50-$49.50. TM.

Leo Kottke. 8:30 p.m. June …

Continue reading Tickets: Emmylou Harris, Widespread Panic, Avett Brothers »

Jermaine Dupri announces So So Def anniversary concert

The So So Def crew. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

The So So Def crew. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Two decades ago, Jermaine Dupri debuted So So Def Recordings and first exposed the country to Xscape, the female R&B group who quickly ascended the charts with “Just Kickin’ It” and “Understanding.”

Who would have ever thought that one of its members – Kandi Burruss – would one day be infamous not so much for her legitimate music talents, but for starring in a top-rated reality show?

Now, 20 years later, Burruss is a household name, while thousands of music fans still groove to the sounds of So So Def’s laundry list of artists – Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Bow Wow, Bonecrusher, Anthony Hamilton, J-Kwon, Dem Franchise Boyz and more.

SoSoDef 001Part of the crew was on hand Tuesday afternoon at Atlanta City Hall for the announcement of an “All-Star Anniversary Concert” to celebrate the label’s 20th anniversary. The show will take place at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Fox Theatre and, according to Dupri, include performances from the …

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Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on Teena Marie

teenamarie_beautiful_0When Teena Marie unexpectedly died the day after Christmas in 2010 at the age of 54, the music world mourned a unique talent.

But the music of The Ivory Queen of Soul known for hits such as “Lovergirl” and “Ooo La La La,” gets a new boost thanks to her daughter, Alia Rose, who shepherded the completion of “Beautiful,” Marie’s 14th studio album that was being finished days before her death.

Co-produced by Doug Grigsby, Marie’s longtime musical director and bassist, “Beautiful” is a fitting elegy with few lapses.

In fact, there are several moments on the album where it seems that Marie was prescient about her fate. “The Long Play” is really about sex with the usual obligations of “going all night” and “not stopping until the morning light,” but its intro is downright eerie, with Marie playing the part of a DJ broadcasting on WHEVN, “a heavenly station.”

On the album’s closer, the gorgeous, hymn-like “The Perfect Feeling,” Marie also …

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What do you think of the new Justin Timberlake song?

Shortly before midnight, Justin Timberlake officially returned to music.

What do you think of the new Justin Timberlake song?

  • Totally worth the wait
  • Hope the rest of the album is better
  • Justin who?

View Results

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His new single,”Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z, is his first fresh music in more than six years. The song isn’t the fizzy blast some might have been expecting. Instead, it chugs along with a vintage soul vibe and Jay-Z pops in for a head-scratching rap (”Disturbing the guests years of distress, tears on the dress…This is trouble season, time for tuxedos for no reason”). Bursts of horns and percussion fill in the grooves as Timberlake continues with the same loverman smack he perfected a decade ago:

“I can’t wait til I get you on the floor, good-looking
Going out so hot, just like an oven
And I’ll burn myself but just have to touch it
It’s so fly and it’s all mine”

The song will be available for purchase exclusively on iTunes …

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Georgia blues musician Precious Bryant has died at 71

LVkickoff0119a_preciousTalbot County musician Precious Bryant, circa 2005. She died on Saturday, Jan. 12. Photo: Axel Kustner / Big Hassle Media

Georgia blues singer Precious Bryant has died, according to a report from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. She was 71.

Back in 2005, the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran this tale of a visit with the Talbot County musician.

At home with the blues
If y’all don’t mind, Precious Bryant would like to get some kerosene

By Nick Marino

On the winding drive from Buena Vista through Talbotton, the paved road carves through fields of blond grass, and the land spreads into something resembling wilderness.

The blueswoman Precious Bryant lives here in this Middle Georgia countryside, at the end of a gravel path lined with pine straw.

Precious — everybody calls her Precious — has lived in this part of the world all of her 63 years. She used to stay in her grandparents’ log cabin, but it burned down long ago. So now, in the very same clearing just a pebble-toss …

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The Darkness promotes mindless fun at Masquerade

Do ya wanna get rocked? Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Do ya wanna get rocked? Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Fittingly, one of the last pre-show songs to play before The Darkness took the stage was Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town.”

Last year, the cheeky British hair metal gods got their act back together after a six-year hiatus caused by the typical rock ‘n’ roll reasons: drugs and ego.

They returned to the U.S. last spring and spent part of the summer opening for Lady Gaga on her European tour, but Saturday night’s packed gig at The Masquerade exemplified what is so great about this band: They’re completely ridiculous, and they know it.

Frontman Justin Hawkins – he of the prior drug issues which broke up the band for a bit – is looking shaggy and muscled, his admirably in-shape frame on display in his open-shirted striped spandex jumpsuit, a kaleidoscope of tattoos coloring his body.

That crazy falsetto of his is still in fine working order, too, – aided, no doubt, by the bottles of water he chugged …

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Friday Riffs: What musical things are you anticipating in 2013?

For 10 days I’ve read the stories, heard the discussions and rolled my eyes at those who wonder if 2013 will be a “bad luck year” because of the number 13.

Please. Some of us – including, famously, Taylor Swift – love the number 13. My birthday is the 13th of November. Dan Marino is my forever-favorite quarterback. I consider it the best luck ever if I draw a hotel room at a casino with the number 13 in it (sadly, a useless talisman most of the time). Hey, and guess what else? I have two black cats! Just send me off to Salem.

Since I’m looking forward to what 2013 has in store, especially from a music/entertainment standpoint, here are a few of those things that are written in bold on my calendar.

Let me know what you’re excited about hearing and seeing in the upcoming year.

  • Meow. Photo: Getty Images.

    Meow. Photo: Getty Images.

    Demi Lovato and Britney Spears couldn’t do it for me. But put Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey together in front of cameras where they’re being paid to …

Continue reading Friday Riffs: What musical things are you anticipating in 2013? »

Jennifer Holliday to return to Atlanta stage in ‘Dreamgirls’

Jennifer Holliday slayed it on the "American Idol" finale last year. Photo: Getty Images

Jennifer Holliday slayed it on the "American Idol" finale last year. Photo: Getty Images

Powerhouse singer Jennifer Holliday will return to the Atlanta stage this summer in “Dreamgirls” as part of the Theater of the Stars’ 2013-2014 season.

Holliday, who lives in Atlanta, established herself as a Broadway presence in the early ‘80s playing Effie in the musical, the role for which she won a Tony Award and is still best known. “Dreamgirls” last played Atlanta in 2010, but Holliday’s previous performance in the role was in 2007. She’ll portray Effie only in the Atlanta production and at Wolf Trap in northern Virginia.

“Dreamgirls” heads to the Fox Theatre Aug. 2-11.

Also of musical note in the TOTS season announcement is the 25th anniversary tour of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.” The jukebox musical – which can be credited for starting that craze – includes plenty of Holly hits, such as “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll be the Day.”

That show rolls into …

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Concerts: Robert Earl Keen, Rebirth Brass Band, Emeli Sande

hi_res_color_press_rsb_jm_group_2Royal Southern Bortherhood — from left, Charlie Wooton, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Yonrico Scott — will play Center Stage on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Photo:Jerry Moran

FRIDAY-SATURDAY
Rebirth Brass Band

This beloved New Orleans institution, formed in 1983, has become a big favorite in Atlanta, too. The band has gained a bigger national fan base from its contributions to the New Orleans-set HBO series “Treme.” Their latest release, 2011’s “Rebirth of New Orleans,” brought the group a Grammy for best regional roots music album.
Jan. 11-12. $20 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-875-1522, www.smithsoldebar.com.

SATURDAY
Emeli Sande

British singer-songwriter Sande left her medical studies for a music career. She got started writing songs for other artists, including Rihanna and Leona Lewis, and released her acclaimed solo debut, “Our Version of Events,” in 2012. It debuted at No. 1 and became the U.K.’s best-selling …

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