MUSIC MENU: December 2019
A selection of bands to see in Atlanta this month
SELDOM SCENE – Red Clay Theater, Fri. Dec. 6. It’s nearly impossible to identify the root source of “newgrass,” but if I was voting, Seldom Scene would be high on the list. Pretty much the late John Duffey’s brainchild, his passing several years ago left a gaping hole. And while nobody can quite capture his unique vocal style and range, the band has managed to reinvent themselves while retaining the great qualities that made them so special in the first place. The high harmonies and odd covers are still part of the show, and the goods are delivered with love and respect for their past history. $36-$47. 8 p.m.
PATTERSON HOOD – Eddie’s Attic, Mon. Dec. 9 & Tues. Dec. 10. Atlanta fans remember the now legendary Drive-By Truckers shows at the Star Bar and Drive Invasion from long ago. Now an international phenomenon, singer Patterson Hood tones it down and brings his solo acoustic thing to town. He often pairs these events with Mike Cooley, but this time they play a couple of days apart. Hood’s perceptions of the South and the human condition seep through almost every word he writes, and no doubt you will recognize a crazy relative described somewhere in the set. Darkly funny at times, and painfully true at others, Hood’s songs capture reality in a way few others do. $30. 8 p.m.
ROBERT EARL KEEN’S COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS with SHINYRIBS, Variety Playhouse, Wed. Dec. 11. A true Texas troubadour, REK has covered a lot of ground in his career. From the mellow folkie beginnings to the raucous red-dirt rocker era, he has done it all. One constant in his career has been the iconic “Merry Christmas from the Family” tune, a mainstay on every sarcastic holiday mix tape in existence. Keen has now capitalized on it by hosting a seasonal Christmas-themed tour, which is sure to please the diehard fans. Former Gourds frontman Kevin Russell opens with his new gig, Shinyribs. $37-58. 8 p.m.
MIKE COOLEY – Eddie’s Attic, Mon. Dec. 13. Atlanta fans remember the now legendary Drive-By Truckers shows at the Star Bar and Drive Invasion from long ago. Now an international phenomenon, singer Mike Cooley tones it down and brings his solo acoustic thing to town. He often pairs these events with Patterson Hood, but this time they play a couple of days apart. Cooley’s perceptions of the South and the human condition seep through almost every word he writes, and no doubt you will recognize a crazy relative described somewhere in the set. Darkly funny at times, and painfully true at others, Hood’s songs capture reality in a way few others do. $20. 9:15 p.m. (doors)
CHRIS KNIGHT – Terminal West, Thur. Dec. 19 There are a few singer/songwriters who capture their personal experience in a way that touches people. Never a household name like his contemporary Steve Earle, Chris Knight has maintained a steady and consistently good output of rootsy albums filled with great songs. His recent release Almost Daylight, featuring Dan Baird on guitar, showcases the same great song stylings, but with added instrumental accompaniment less like his previous stripped down work. 8PM.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS & THE VENTURES CHRISTMAS ALBUM – The EARL Dec. 20 & 21 (9PM) What has become a wonderful Atlanta holiday tradition happens four times in December, with one kid friendly matinee at Kavarna the afternoon of Dec. 7. Initiated a few years ago by Jeffrey Butzer and T.T. Mahony, the event has staying power. Even the most curmudgeonly anti-Xmas music purveyors (ME!) love the late Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts inspired soundtrack to the season. Doubled up with the Ventures’ twangy takes on the traditional tunes by Chad Shivers’ pals, it’s a fun time regardless of your (my) bah humbug attitude. As an added bonus the EARL performances also include a puppet show!
DRIVIN’ N’ CRYIN’ – Variety Playhouse, Fri. Dec. 27 The longevity of one of Atlanta’s musical treasures is a testament to their consistent high quality work. Kevn Kinney’s combo may have had some personnel changes over the years, but the core of the band is his song crafting ability. Personal life events, rocking anthems, and social observations are all fair game. The energy has barely dissipated in the 33+ years of roadwork and recording. Dust some of the holiday grime off and let’s all go straight to hell. 8:30PM.