BLUES & BEYOND: New music from old professionals

Grant Green Jr. and Hermon Hitson unveil recent albums

AGE AIN’T NUTHIN‘ BUT A NUMBER: Atlanta based veterans Herman Hitson and Grant Green Jr. return with new music. Photo credit: Hitson (B&W)-Tim Duffy-color-Courtesy
Photo credit: Hitson (L) Courtesy / Green (R) -Courtesy of Bandcamp
AGE AIN’T NUTHIN‘ BUT A NUMBER: Atlanta based veterans Herman Hitson and Grant Green Jr. return with new music

It’s always noteworthy when local roots musicians record new albums. It’s especially significant when both are into their retirement years.

Grant Green Jr. and Hermon Hitson are two well respected Atlanta-based blues and jazz musicians who have recently released new discs. Both are radically different musically, but are similarly noteworthy because they both have extensive, multi-decade careers, usually working as sidemen to others. It has also been a while since we have heard fresh music from either one of them as frontmen.

At 68 years old, Grant Green Jr. is the younger of the two. His name, as well as that of his legendary father (both guitarists), should be familiar to local jam, blues and jazz followers. The younger Green moved to Atlanta 15 years ago and has been a frequent presence around local clubs since then, playing with various members of Bruce Hampton’s extended circle of musicians, in particular B3 expert, the late Ike Stubblefield. His set of Burt Bacharach covers is appropriately titled Thank You Mr. Bacharach and is on a UMG distributed label which should ensure wide exposure.

The brisk, easy grooving collection finds Green Jr. fronting a stripped down ensemble as he sets six of Bacharach’s more notable tunes to a George Benson styled vibe. Some are radically rearranged like a smoothly funky version of “Walk On By.” Others such as “Anyone Who Had a Heart” go for a softer nightclub route. Although, at just over a half hour, it’s on the short side, Green Jr. infuses intricate twists and turns into well-known pop standards making the performances sweet and occasionally spicy as he extends them with breezy jamming.

Now 79, few were expecting any new music from Hermon Hitson, a blues/funk/soul guitarist and singer whose career extends back to the late 50s. He has played with Wilson Pickett, Joe Tex, and others and was famously a roommate of a young Jimi Hendrix. But his own work has been relegated to mostly obscure singles on hard to find indie labels. Now, with the help of Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson, Hitson gets a new lease on life with Let the Gods Sing, a raw, ragged, rugged set, recorded in two days. It’s slightly unhinged, occasionally winding psychedelic, soulful and funky blues rock reminiscent at times of Sly & the Family Stone circa There’s a Riot Goin’ On with tinges of Funkadelic at their most scruffy. Dark and cool. Hopefully this gets him some long overdue national press and back on stages, especially in his Atlanta hometown.

Summer winds are cooling things down, but these Blues & Beyond shows remain hot.

Mon., Sept. 5

WRFG Labor Day Blues Barbecue, Park Tavern The annual fundraiser for the non-profit station’s lineup featuring veteran Chicago slide guitarist Lil Ed and his Blues Imperials band along with locals The Cazanovas, Rae and the Royal Peacocks, and others, is always a blast as everyone brings their A game. This year’s honoree is Frankie Lee Robinson, frontman of Frankie’s Blues Mission, who also performs.
$25. 1:00 p.m. Park Tavern, 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta, 30309. 404-249-0001.

Tues., Sept. 6


WANNA HEAR ABOUT MY FIRST BAND?: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss return for a rematch to support their second album of rootsy Americana with a show at Chastain Park Amphitheatre Sept 6, after June’s rained out gig. Photo credit: Courtesy Shore Fire Media

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park — The pairing of Mr. Lemon Squeezer and the demure bluegrass/country artist Krauss initially seemed an odd when their 2007 debut first appeared. But a gold album and many, many awards later, it looks inspired. The follow-up, Raising Sand, didn’t appear until 2021 but the resulting album was easily as good, if not arguably better, than their first effort as the twosome tackled obscure oldies with other under-the-radar gems for a folk/rock masterpiece that became one of the year’s finest releases. Hear them pick and choose from both recordings on this tour and maybe even throw in a few rearranged Zepp zingers.
$71.50-274. 8:00 p.m. Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Dr. NW., Atlanta, 30342. 404-733-5012.

Wed., Sept. 7


WAR AND PEACE: Nashville’s married gospel duo brings the soulful church to Terminal West Sept. 7. Photo credit: courtesy

The War and Treaty/Leah Blevins, Terminal West — Married couple Michael Trotter, Jr. and Tanya Blount have been burning up stages as the oddly named The War and Treaty since even before their acclaimed 2018 recorded debut. Although gospel based, their music incorporates plenty of soul, country, blues, folk and even rock. Hang on because they explode live — especially when they trade lead vocals. Arrive early for newcomer country pop singer Blevins, whose 2021 debut was a highlight of last year.
$25-30. 8:00 p.m. Terminal West, 887 West Marietta St. NW C., Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566.

Thurs., Sept. 8


LESS IS MORE: River Whyless’ stunning folk and mellifluous vocals flows into Eddie’s Attic Sept. 8. Photo credit: Courtesy

River Whyless, Eddie’s Attic — This Ashville based folk quartet have been spinning their unique acoustic threads for a decade and just keep getting better. They tour behind the recently released Monoflora an exquisite album that ties their gorgeous harmonies to graceful folk with world music influences.
$17. 7:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976.

CAPTAINS OF CAJUN: Beausoleil is back, carrying the traditional Cajun torch to Duluth Sept. 8. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Beausoleil Avec Michael Doucet, Red Clay Music Foundry — At one time, around the late 80’s, Beausoleil was unquestionably the most famous and talented pure Cajun band on the scene. It’s hard to say why they fell off the map, but with them not having released a new album in nearly a decade, it seemed they had disbanded. Happily, they are back! As long as 70 year old frontman Doucet (who sings in French and English) is still carrying the Cajun torch, you can be assured they remain as rooted to the Louisiana tradition of two-steps and waltzes as in their heyday. Not to be missed.
$35. 8:00 p.m. Red Clay Music Foundry, 3116 Main St., Duluth, 30096. 404-478-2749.

BLUEGRASS BELLE: Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz injects youthful energy to the traditional backwoods genre at Terminal West Sept. 8. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Sara Jarosz/Ric Robertson, Terminal West — Just in her early 30’s, Jarosz is the young face of bluegrass, who, along with Billy Strings, is turning on a new generation to this decades old string music. Also a member of the all woman trio I’m With Her, the talented mandolin/guitar/banjo player Jarosz has already won a GRAMMY® for Best Americana album. She tours now promoting 2021’s Blue Heron Suite.
$25-30. 8:30 p.m. Terminal West, 887 West Marietta St. NW C., Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566.

Fri., Sept. 9


ROUND ‘EM UP:An incredible lineup of country music outsiders, headlined by everybody’s favorite outlaw Willie Nelson, ride into Alpharetta Sept. 9. Photo credit:Courtesy

Outlaw Music Festival, Ameris Bank Amphitheatre — Roots Americana lineups don’t get more impressive than this. Willie Nelson tops the bill, followed by Jason Isbell, Billy Strings, Charley Crockett, and local blues sisters made good, Larkin Poe, who make this an all killer-no-filler affair. And how many more times will you get to see the 89 year old Nelson, let alone headlining a show this impressive? Note the early start time.
$39-249. 3:25 p.m. Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta, GA. 30009. 404-733-5010.

Sat., Sept. 10


SOUL SURVIVORS: Georgia’s veteran rockers Collective Soul play a rare hometown gig promoting their new album Sept. 10. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Collective Soul/Switchfoot, Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park — Ed Roland and his brother Dean still lead this nearly three decades old Georgia-based outfit who once were considered “post-grunge” but now just sound like the veteran arena hook heavy rockers they always were. You’ll likely get a large dose of the band’s new album, Vibrating, which is as solid a work as anything they have done. Switchfoot, another group led by brothers and similarly styled — albeit with spiritual undertones-- co-headlines.
$20-65. 8:00 p.m. Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Dr. NW., Atlanta, 30342. 404-733-5012.

Tues., Sept. 13


A CASE OF HER: Neko Case sings her imaginative alt-Americana country Sept. 13. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Neko Case/Sean Rowe, Variety Playhouse — Singer/songwriter Case has a long, rich history with Atlanta having played the Star Bar often in the mid-90s before she blew up big time commercially. Once a member of Bloodshot’s insurgent country lineup, she has moved into far more experimental and challenging waters, all of which are on display on 2018’s magnificent alt-AmericanaHell-On which will likely be featured. Deep voiced anti-folkie Rowe makes a wonderful opener.
$39.50-59.50. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354.

Thurs., Sept. 15


AMERICANA GOES BLUES:Jamie McLean’s melodic yet tough and emotional blues rocking energizes SOB’s stage Sept. 15. Photo credit: Courtesy

Jamie McLean, Smith’s Olde Bar — It seems like a long time ago that this blues rocking, arguably more like rocking blues, guitarist worked with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Since 2005 he has released a handful of gutsy bluesy Americana sets, including this year’s tough Paradise Found, which might be the best of the lot.
$15-20. 8:00 p.m. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave. NE, 30324.




Fri., Sept. 16


MODERN LOVE: Matt Nathanson opens up with emotional yet catchy singer/songwriter tunes Sept. 16. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Matt Nathanson, Variety Playhouse — West Coast singer/songwriter Nathanson had been releasing albums almost a decade before his 2003 major label debut. He has since amassed an impressive batch of a dozen discs all boasting his boyish voice with songs exploring the ins and outs of relationships, most with hooky choruses. His newest album, Boston Accent, was released at the end of July, expect to hear the new tunes mixed in with highlights of his earlier catalog items.
$49.50-79.50. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354.


PARKER GOES POP: Wieuca headlines a bill that also features ex-Whigs Parker Gispert (pictured) whose new poppy singer/songwriter album is a highlight of late summer releases. Check them out at the EARL Sept. 16. Photo credit: Courtesy

Wieuca/Parker Gispert, The EARL — This enticing double bill is headlined by Athens’ eclectic Wieuca who mix country and alt-pop with intoxicating results. Gispert may be best known for his work with The Whigs, but he has out a new, second solo album Golden Years, which reveals his more sensitive singer/songwriter side.
’’$15. 8:30 p.m. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave.NE, Atlanta, 30316.




GEORGIA PEACH: Georgia’s own Randall Bramblett returns to Eddie’s Attic Sept. 16 with another dose of lyrically challenging Southern soul. Photo credit: Courtesy

Randall Bramblett, Eddie’s Attic — Georgia native Bramblett’s gritty Southern soul permeates his often obtuse lyrics and ghostly melodies, especially prevalent on 2020’s terrific Pine Needle Fire. It’s the most recent in a spate of quality solo discs the singer/songwriter has been releasing every few years since 1998. He’s a frequent live presence, but every show is a treat, and the intimate room he plays tonight is the perfect place to experience his evocative music.—Hal Horowitz
$18. 7:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976.


Sat., Sept. 17


IT TAKES TWO: Hang on tight as King Khan and his buddy BBQ bring raw garage rocking to the EARL Sept. 17. Photo credit: Courtesy

The King Khan & BBQ Show/Miranda and the Beat, The EARL — You never really know what to expect when multi-instrumentalist/masked men Arish “King” Khan and his buddy Mark “BBQ” Sultan hit the stage, but you can be sure it’s going to rock your world. Basically it’s raw, face-melting guitar rawk that makes the White Stripes sound like the Carpenters. The retro rocking, girl group soul, of openers Miranda and the Beat makes for a perfect bill.
’’$22-25. 9:00 p.m. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave.NE, Atlanta, 30316.



Sun., Sept. 18

Atlanta Blues Society Gathering, The Green Room, Mableton — William “Blues Man” Reed and the Juke Joint Jukes host this month’s ABS Sunday shindig. Catch up on local blues happenings, mingle with old friends and make new ones at one of the most sociable music societies in the area.
$free. 3:00 p.m. The Green Room, 3976 Lawrenceville Highway., Tucker, 30084. 770-674-2133.

Tues., Sept. 20


HAUNTING: Avi Kaplan’s booming vocals create evocative and compelling Americana. Hear them live Sept. 20. Photo credit: Courtesy

Avi Kaplan, Terminal West — Imagine a combination of Nick Cave’s emotional baritone with Chris Isaak’s retro Americana and you’re close to Avi Kaplan’s windswept, deeply emotional style. Once you hear that booming, room filling voice wrapped around his haunting music, you won’t forget the experience. He will be featuring songs from a stunning new album Floating on a Dream.
$20-22. 8:00 p.m. Terminal West, 887 West Marietta St. NW C., Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566.

Wed., Sept. 21


WHERE’S FREEDY?: That was the question over the past decade, but critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston is back with a new album and a rare Atlanta appearance Sept. 21. Photo credit: Courtesy

Freedy Johnston, Eddie’s Attic — It’s tough to maintain a career in the cutthroat singer/songwriter trenches when you release an album every decade or so. But after a promising start in the early 90’s that found Freedy Johnston cranking out some terrific discs every few years, he dropped off the radar. He has a new album, only his second since 2001, and it’s a keeper. Back on the Road to You is another smart set of folk rockers in the Jackson Browne mode that sounds as invigorated as he did 30 years ago. Don’t wait for his next one to catch him this time around. —Hal Horowitz
$17. 7:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976.

Thurs., Sept. 22


HIGHWOMAN ALERT!: Amanda Shires returns from her side project, The Highwomen, to support her new album Sept. 22. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Amanda Shires/Honey Harper, Variety Playhouse — The fiddle playing singer/songwriter Shires had a thriving solo career even before she married Jason Isbell. But that merging certainly hasn’t hurt her commercial fortunes, nor did her membership in the high profile quartet, The Highwomen. She has a new album to support that’s yet another artsy and cool slice of offbeat Americana with a strong female empowerment viewpoint.
$25-39.50. 8:00 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354.

FINGERS ON FIRE: Watch jazz/blues pianist Joe Alterman’s fingers fly over the keyboard Sept. 22. Photo credit: Courtesy

Joe Alterman/David Perdue, Eddie’s Attic — Local pianist Alterman comes straight from the Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann school of jazz and blues. Those two musicians have been friends and mentors to the keyboard whiz, whose star is on the rise by way of his new Live at Birdland release. Atlanta based stand-up funnyman David Perdue opens.
$20. 8:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976.

ROCK THAT FUNK: High octane soul/blues/R&B singer songwriter Black Joe Lewis makes a much anticipated return to Atlanta Sept. 22. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears/Cedric Burnside, The Loft — Texas based soul/funk singer Lewis seemed to be on the verge of being the “next-big-thing” in the retro /R&B genre, but he has been quiet since 2018, releasing only one new song. Thankfully, he’s back on tour with his Honeybears band to turn it loose again. Deep Mississippi bluesman Cedric Burnside is a headliner on his own, which makes this a particularly potent double bill.
$25. 8:00 p.m. The Loft, 1374 West Peachtree St., Marietta, 30309. 404-885-1365.

Fri., Sept. 23


POST-PETTY PARTY: Mike Campbell and his Dirty Knobs’ garage rocking can’t help but invoke a bit of Petty’s ghost on this band’s visit Sept. 23. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Mike Campbell & the Dirty Knobs/Alvin Youngblood Hart, Variety Playhouse — Tom Petty’s long serving shotgun riding lead guitarist (and often co-songwriter) rebounds from his post-Heartbreaker stint as a hired hand in Fleetwood Mac, where he replaced Lindsey Buckingham. His blues rocking Dirty Knobs outfit tours supporting its second album in three years. Raw blues/soul veteran Hart makes for a terrific double bill.
$35-309. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354.




RENAISSANCE MAN: Actor, author, film maker and, oh yeah, twisted Euro-influenced rockabilly cabaret musician Tav Falco descends on the EARL for a show Sept. 23. Photo credit: Courtesy

Tav Falco’s Panther Burns/Twisty Cats/Georgie Harris, The EARL — The Cramps might be gone, but we’ve still got veteran rocker Falco and his band to pump out his version of ghoulish warped retro rockabilly punk with almost as much fire, if not quite as much humor, as Lux Interior’s crew. He’s been working this ominous, somewhat dangerous groove intermittently since 1979 but lately he has moved to a dark European cabaret style. Openers Twisty Cats add synthesizers to their creepy retro rocking.
’’$16-18. 8:30 p.m. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave.NE, Atlanta, 30316.




Sat., Sept. 24


BEAUCOUPS OF BLUES: Rocking Atlanta bluesman Tinsley Ellis is on a post-pandemic roll as he headlines this Sept. 24th OTP Beaucoup Jazz & Blues Fest supporting his new ‘Devil May Care’ release. Photo credit: Elaine Thomas Campbell

Beaucoup Jazz & Blues Festival, King’s Market — Atlanta’s gutsy iconic blues rocker Tinsley Ellis headlines this year’s OTP blues and jazz fest along with the smoother sounds of Grant Green Jr. Local jazz vocalist Karla Harris and the horn based Huntertones also appear at this diverse all afternoon/evening event.
$25. 2:00 p.m. King’s Market, 1465 Market Blvd., Roswell, GA. 30076.





GOT THEM THOMSON BLUES: Jimmie Vaughan headlines this year’s annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Fest in the legendary bluesman’s home town of Thomson, GA, Sept. 24. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Blind Willie McTell Music Festival, Thomson, GA — Jimmie Vaughan’s sinewy Texas blues headlines this annual Georgia blues and roots Americana event with support from The Texas Gentlemen, Joachim Cooder, Chatham County Line and the Cordovas.
$40-50. Noon. Thomson, GA., 1021 Stagecoach Rd. NE., Thomson, GA. 30824.




Mon., Sept. 26


FROM KENYA WITH LOVE: Nairobi born folksinger Ondara supports his third release with his first Atlanta gig Sept. 26. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Ondara, Terminal West — Ondara, the Kenyan born folk singer with a unique high pitched, ghostly voice, moved to Minneapolis because of its Dylan connection (?—ed.), but his 2019 GRAMMY®-nominated debut showed he was no mere imitator. His less heralded 2020 entry was a stripped down home recording that addressed the pandemic from a variety of protagonists. He is touring behind the newly released, Spanish Villager No.3, a concept album concerning the title character and from the promotional photo, it looks pretty out there.
$20-25. 8:00 p.m. Terminal West, 887 West Marietta St. NW C., Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566.

Thurs., Sept. 29


SHAKE OFF THE DUST: Dustbowl Revival brings their recently updated approach to City Winery Sept. 29. Photo credit: Courtesy of

Dustbowl Revival, City Winery — This West Coast collective started out playing the more organic sounds that their name implies about 15 years ago. But a recent shift to a more modern if still dusky, rootsy sound motivated by their influences is a fresh, inspired and wonderfully unpredictable twist on their still frisky vibe.
$25-35. 8:00 p.m. City Winery, 650 North Ave. NE.,

Thurs.-Fri., Sept. 29-30


EXTRA SWEATY NIGHTS: Nathanial Rateliff and his Night Sweats set up shop for two shows, Sept. 29-30. Photo credit:

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats/Midlake, The Eastern — Give the Denver based Rateliff and his guys credit for playing two nights at a smaller venue rather than one at a larger arena. That keeps the intimacy of their horn accented bluesy, soulful rocking immediate as they tour behind a recently released third album that combines their raucous side with a more pensive, measured approach.
$59.50-99. 8:00 p.m. The Eastern, 777 Memorial Dr. SE., Atlanta, 30316.

Sat./Sun., Oct. 1/2


MARCUS KING:The young roots rocker lets his six strings do the talking on Oct. 1 and 2. Photo credit:Courtesy of

Marcus King, The Tabernacle — Young guitarist King is very much in the mode of Gov’t Mule, whose frontman, Warren Haynes, produced King’s second album and is a mentor to the up and coming roots/blues rocker. He’s a “Hard Working Man,” as he sings in one of the songs on his third album, Youngblood, and has clearly arrived as this two night stand in a larger setting proves.
$36-55. 7:00 p.m. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St.NW., Atlanta, 30303. 404-659-9022.

Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., Oct. 3,4,6,7


SETTLE IN WITH LUCINDA: The queen of literate Americana displays her swaggering roots music for a rare four night stand Oct. 3,4,6, and 7. Photo Credit: Courtesy of

Lucinda Williams, City Winery — A recent stroke might have left the iconic Americana singer/songwriter a little less physically sturdy, but her voice and attitude remains determined and steely. This unusual four night stand in the intimate venue is a rare chance to hear her bulging catalog of songs up close and personal — and each night is sure to sell out. Don’t miss it.
$75-115. 8:00 p.m. City Winery, 650 North Ave. NE.,

Please send upcoming blues events to consider for CL’s Blues & Beyond concert calendar to hal.horowitz at

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