BLUES & BEYOND: Documenting Atlanta blues

Grab a PBR: the long awaited Northside Tavern documentary is finally here; Tinsley Ellis tells his tales

#1 Northside Tavern X Joe Boris
Photo credit: Courtesy of Hal Jacobs
NORTHSIDE CREW: From Left-Oliver Wood, Hal Jacobs, Henry Jacobs stand tall in front of the city’s diviest bar.

Look up “dive bar” in any encyclopedia — you won’t see a picture of the Northside Tavern.

You should.

The iconic downtown Atlanta blues joint is not only proud of its scuzzy reputation, it revels in it. It’s been three decades since musician Mudcat and owner Ellyn Webb brought roots music to the Northside, located at 1058 Howell Mill Road, in 1992. Since then it has become the go-to for this city’s blues fans unconcerned with clean bathrooms, cigarette smoke infused interiors, or beer stained … well everything.

Rather than distance themselves from this rather negative narrative, the owners of the Northside embrace it. So do the many musicians who consider it a second home and the throngs of regulars who flock to the small, seedy, space at the crossroads of Howell Mill and Brady Avenue. Not long ago the neighborhood the Northside inhabits was considered dicey, charitably speaking, but all that has changed as gentrification has rebuilt the area as the chi-chi “West Side,” and the bar’ is the last of the old school Atlanta establishments still-standing in the now upscale location.

The Northside is what movie and television location scouts search for when in need of when filming an authentic, grungy, boozy background scene. The bar’s website attests to the shows and movies in which it has played minor parts. That list is likely to grow as other local watering holes succumb to the wrecking ball, a situation which threatens to turn some of Atlanta’s most historic bars into parking lots or “mixed use” facilities.

The tavern is so archetypal, someone should make a film about it.

That’s what local documentarian Hal Jacobs thought too, and he has done just that. After two years of work, conducting dozens of interviews with artists, employees and regulars, Northside Tavern: The Mostly True Account of the Golden Age of Atlanta’s Most Exquisite Blues Dive is finally complete.

While clips and an early trailer are already available, director Jacobs (his wife and son are executive producers) elaborates on the genesis of this venture, which arrives after his helming two other Atlanta based docs. “I started seeing the Northside Tavern … as not just a gritty little blues dive bar in a gentrifying neighborhood of office and apartment towers, but as a cultural institution that’s endured for over 25 years as a blues incubator for a city with a rich blues heritage … and all of that because of the dedication and passion of its owner/manager, Ellyn Webb, who died in 2017.

“Not coincidentally, my wife, friends and myself were devotees of the Northside in the late 1990s and early 2000s, during the peak of its ‘Golden Age’ (when) Sean Costello, King Johnson, Mudcat, Breeze Kings, Donnie Mac, Bill Sheffield, and many others (were regulars there).

“So when I talked with the current owner, Tommy Webb (Ellen Webb’s brother), about doing the documentary, he was thrilled to hear that the story would take shape around Ellyn and her legacy — and that the film would premiere during the 50th anniversary year of his parents acquiring the little neighborhood tavern.”

Jacobs goes on to explain. “The 90-minute film showcases the legacy of blues in Atlanta, from Blind Willie McTell, Curley Weaver, Buddy Moss, and Frank Edwards, to Albert White, Beverly Guitar Watkins, and Eddie Tigner, and the current generation of musicians on the national/international stage.”

Northside Tavern: The Mostly True Account of the Golden Age of Atlanta’s Most Exquisite Blues Dive is now ready for its Atlanta unveiling. We assume there won’t be a red carpet at its premier Dec. 13 at the Plaza Theatre. Or, if there is one, it’ll be stained and tattered with a slight odor of vomit and Pine-Sol.

$15. The December 13 screening is sold out, but a second screening is scheduled for Monday, December 19, 6:30 p.m., the Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, 30306. (470) 410-1939 

Straight from the heart

Tinsley Ellis makes frequent appearances in this column. And for good reason. He’s the highest profile, most prolific blues rocking guitarist to still call Atlanta home. Plus, his lengthy history with the city makes him somewhat of a walking encyclopedia of all things blues. So, it’s worth mentioning that Ellis is doing his first full acoustic, solo tour. Appropriately titled, “Acoustic Songs and Stories,” he’s on tour, including many area stops, performing many of his most popular songs, along with roots classics, accompanying himself only on his 1937 National Steel and 1969 Martin D-35. Shows have included performances in Dahlonega and Hartwell, with concerts scheduled for Athens, Jan.7; the City Winery, Atlanta, Jan. 20; and Macon, with two shows Jan. 21. Whether this is a one-off or the beginning of a new phase for Ellis is unclear, but it’s certainly something that should attract most roots fans, especially those who go back with Tinsley. Hopefully, he’ll throw in some Col. Bruce tales, too. He’s got some great ones....

Silent night? Not with these Blues and Beyond shows in town this month:

Thurs., Dec. 1-Fri. Dec. 2

FLYING BLIND: The Blind Boys of Alabama bring the seasonal spirit, Dec. 1 and 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy eddiesattic.com

Blind Boys of Alabama, Eddie’s Attic — It’s the Blind Boys’ annual Christmas show, an event where we can catch these gospel legends in a cozy setting, singing their lively, church infused versions of holiday fare. Pricey? Sure, but you can’t put a dollar sign on a spiritually uplifting experience — Hal Horowitz
$50. 7:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com 

Thurs., Dec. 1

POPOVIC POWER: Ana Popovic tears those six strings up, Dec. 1. Photo credit: Courtesy anapopovic.com

Ana Popovic, Vinyl — There are just a handful of contemporary, headlining guitar slinging blues women, but not that started in 1999 and were born and raised in Yugoslavia. Popovic can also stake her claim as one of the best, and most prolific of the batch. Last time through she brought a horn section and tore the roof off Terminal West. Don’t miss her. — Hal Horowitz
$30-35. 8:00 p.m. Vinyl, 1374 West Peachtree St., Atlanta, 30309. 404-885-1365. centerstage-atlanta.com



Fri., Dec. 2

HERE COMES THE SON: Son Little brings his blues based indie folk and bluesy rock to Smith’s, Dec. 2. PHOTO CREDIT: CYNTHIA PEREZ

Son Little, Lizzie No, Smith’s Olde Bar — Little’s homespun voice, somewhat similar to that of Bill Withers, pushes his indie soul into directions of Sly Stone, Bob Marley, War, Stevie Wonder and, of course, Withers. His latest album is a searing yet easygoing and overwhelmingly melodic, personal project that finds the singer/songwriter at his most vulnerable. — Hal Horowitz
$20. 8:00 p.m. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave. NE, 30324. 404-875-1522. sob.com 


Sat., Dec. 3

MALONE TIME: It’s a month full of Michelle Malone, starting Dec. 3. Photo Credit: michellemalone.com

Michelle Malone and the Hot Toddies, Red Clay Music Foundry — You won’t need to look hard to catch venerable roots/blues journeywoman Malone performing her annual Christmas gigs with the Hot Toddies band this month. She kicks things off at this Duluth venue, then continues the holiday tradition at Napoleon’s in Decatur (Dec. 18) and the Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville (Dec. 20), with Avondale’s 37 Main (Dec. 23) before closing out the month — and year — with a double header at her usual spot, Eddie’s Attic, on New Year’s Eve. See one, see ‘em all. — Hal Horowitz
$25-34. 8:00 p.m. Red Clay Music Foundry, 3116 Main Street, Duluth, 30096. eddieowenpresents.com

Sun., Dec. 4

GOOD KNIGHT: Chris Knight brings his outlaw spirit to Eddie’s, Dec. 4. Photo Credit: eddiesattic.com

Chris Knight, Eddie’s Attic — Gritty, swamp-infested country singer/songwriter Knight’s major label debut appeared in 1998 and he has defiantly maintained that outlaw stance ever since. The releases became less frequent through the years, resulting in just two albums in the past decade. But if it takes that long to craft 2019’s terrific and moving ‘Almost Daylight,’ which he will likely feature tonight, it was worth the wait. — Hal Horowitz
$30. 8:15 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com

Tues., Dec. 6

ORGAN-IC: It’s an instrumental soul-funk throwdown with organ master Delvon Lamarr and his band, Dec. 5. Photo Credit: Courtesy delvonlamarrorgantrio.com

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Khari Cabrel & Jiva, Grant Green Jr., Terminal West — There aren’t many organ led, instrumental soul/jazz/blues outfits around, but Lamarr and his tough band would be the best if there were. And no one else has a guitarist like the incredible Jimmy James who channels the spirit of Hendrix and Funkadelic’s Eddie Hazel. It’s fire, all night long. Don’t miss local opener, Grant Green Jr. — Hal Horowitz
$20-25. 7:30 p.m. Terminal West, 887-C West Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566. terminalwestatl.com  


Wed., Dec. 7

NO HORSIN’ AROUND: Bonny Light Horseman plays music from two well-received folk albums, Dec. 7. Photo Credit: Courtesy terminalwestatl.com

Bonny Light Horseman, Joan Shelly, Terminal West — The trio of Anais Mitchell, the Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman has rightly been called a folk supergroup, albeit one that’s somewhat under the radar. Their first album featured updated traditional folk tunes and the recent follow-up, Rolling Golden Holy is all originals. It’s a step in the right direction to expand their blueprint of sweet, beautifully crafted, indie roots music with strong ties to the past. — Hal Horowitz
$25-30. 8:00 p.m. Terminal West, 887-C West Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566. terminalwestatl.com 

Thurs., Dec. 8

BIG VELVET: Paul Cauthen and his booming voice fill Center Stage, Dec. 8. Photo Credit: centerstage-atlanta.com

Paul Cauthen, Center Stage — His booming baritone voice isn’t named Big Velvet for no reason. Texas raised Cauthen took his country roots, added some disco beats and attitude and let loose with the throbbing “Cocaine Country Dancing” which became a left field roots hit in 2019. That warmed up his audience for this year’s even edgier “Country as FK” and “Fk You Money,” neither of which will find a home on commercial radio. That makes him unconventional at best. But when he plays it straight, he’s a potent country singer and writer who isn’t afraid to bite the hand that feeds. — Hal Horowitz
$30. 8:00 p.m. Center Stage, 1374 West Peachtree St, Atlanta, 30309. 404-885-1365. centerstage-atlanta.com 

SOLO TRAMPLIN’: Trampled Underfoot’s Danielle Nicole rocks the joint with soulful blues, Dec. 8. Photo Credit: Courtesy eddiesattic.com

Danielle Nicole, Eddie’s Attic — The ex-Trampled Underfoot bassist/singer has been solo since 2015. Nicole’s tough, throaty voice conveys the hurt and often longing in her melodic blues rockers. Her band is great and she’s a compelling, soulful front woman along with being a badass bassist. — Hal Horowitz
$17. 9:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com 


TELECASTER MASTER: Tab Benoit and his trusty, beat up Tele crank out the Louisiana blues, Dec. 8. Photo Credit: Courtesy tabbenoit.com

Tab Benoit, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Variety Playhouse — No matter how many blues guitar slingers you’ve seen, Louisiana’s Benoit has ‘em beat. Not only can he seriously shred, his dusky voice brings soulful emotion to the rugged music of his state. The legendary New Orleans horn band warms up and will likely also accompany Benoit in a closing jam that promises to rattle the venue’s huge ceiling fan, as he did the last time through. —Hal Horowitz
$34-79. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354. variety-playhouse.com


“HILL-BILLIE” HOLIDAY: Swing along to frisky country and sweet swing with Melissa Carper and her big stand-up bass, Dec. 8. Photo Credit: Courtesy eddiesattic.com

Melissa Carper, Eddie’s Attic — Carper’s slight build and sweet, scratchy voice, somewhat like that of Billie Holiday, brings honesty and charm to her traditional country swing and glowing, bluesy countrypolitan. She looks especially tiny next to the stand-up bass she plucks, yet her lovely, often humorous approach will win over the most jaded audience. She will feature songs from her new ‘Ramblin’ Soul’ release, and everyone leaves a fan. — Hal Horowitz
$15. 9:15 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com

Fri., Dec. 9

GALE FORCE: Hang on tight as Eric Gales and his funky-blues rock storms into town, Dec. 9. Photo Credit: Courtesy ericgales.com

Eric Gales, Buckhead Theatre — Blues rocker Gales has been grinding it out since 1991. Substance abuse and a jail stint slowed his career, but he has kicked the habit, gotten a vote of confidence from blues headliner Joe Bonamassa (who produced and plays on his new album), and is ready for his time in the spotlight. He’s far from a traditional bluesman though, preferring to add funk, rock and psychedelia to his palette, in addition to a few Hendrix-isms. Sweaty and cool. — Hal Horowitz
$39-99. 8:00 p.m. Buckhead Theater, 3110 Roswell Rd. NE, 30305. 404-843-2825. livenation.com 

Sun., Dec. 11

BLUES HOLIDAY: The Atlanta Blues Society celebrates Christmas with The Trouble Tones and others, Dec. 11. Photo Credit: Courtesy atlantabluessociety.org

Atlanta Blues Society Holiday Party and Toys for Tots Drive, Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex, Sandy Springs — It’s an unusual venue for a blues bash, but if the professionals at ABS are involved, it’ll be a classy, top notch experience. Join other blues fans for the Society’s annual Christmas shindig. All the bands that won the Atlanta Blues Challenge will perform, so it’s a great way to get to know some of the top Atlanta talent. — Hal Horowitz
$ Free to members/$15 non-members. 3:00 p.m. Dorothy C. Benson Multipurpose Complex, 6500 Vernon Woods Dr., Sandy Springs, 30328. 404-693-4900. atlantabluessociety.org

GET BACK, JOJO: Widespread Panic’s keyboard man JoJo Herman plays a rare solo show, Dec. 11. Photo Credit: Courtesy citywinery.com/Atlanta

JoJo Hermann, Sam Holt, City Winery — Widespread Panic’s keyboardist takes time away from his regular gig for this rare small venue solo show. He will feature music from some of his inspirations including Ray Charles, Professor Longhair and Dr. John. And sure, he will dig into some solo material and Panic stuff too. It should be fun, a lot less frantic and way more intimate than a typical arena sized WP gig. — Hal Horowitz
$28-40. 8:00 p.m. City Winery, 650 North Ave. NE., 30308. 404-496-3791. citywinery.com/Atlanta 

Mon., Dec.12-Tues., Dec.13

SOLO SOUL: Ed Roland’s annual holiday stand, with mystery special guests, returns Dec. 12 and 13. Photo Credit: Courtesy collectivesoul.com

Ed Roland & Friends’ Winter Wonder Bash, Eddie’s Attic — Mr. Collective Soul returns for his annual holiday benefit show (proceeds go to the TJ Martell Foundation), and brings along special unnamed guests. Roland scales back the playing to the back rows posturing of his day job for a more minimalist sound more applicable to this intimate stage. The two day event always sells out so get tickets early. — Hal Horowitz
$60. 8:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com




Tues., Dec.13-Wed., Dec.14

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’: Hear songs and stories with the Drive-By Truckers’ co-founder and frontman Patterson Hood, Dec. 13 and 14. Photo Credit: Courtesy citywinery.com/Atlanta

Patterson Hood, City Winery — Sometimes the sheer volume and Southern rocking bombast of a typical Drive-By Truckers gig obscures the intricate, poetic and powerful lyrics of their songs. Which is why it’s a treat to have co-founder and frontman Hood lower the intensity a few notches, chatting affably about all things musical and of course political, while performing stripped down covers and unplugged versions of Truckers’ tunes. He’s a longtime friend of this city from the many appearances his band made at the Star Bar, so these solo shows are always a sweet homecoming. — Hal Horowitz
$35-50. 8:00 p.m. City Winery, 650 North Ave. NE., 30308. 404-496-3791. Citywinery.com/Atlanta 

Wed., Dec. 14

NO STRAGGLIN’: Jason Boland and his Stragglers mosey into town, Dec. 14. Photo Credit: Courtesy thestragglers.com

Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Vinyl — It’s a short hop from Waylon Jennings’ gruff country to Oklahoma’s husky voiced Boland and his band’s similarly styled tough, leathery approach. After pounding the highways for over twenty years they have recently received well deserved recognition for keeping their roots rocking true to its scruffy influences. Expect music from 2021’s rollicking ‘The Light Saw Me,’ one their finest in a career of rugged releases. — Hal Horowitz
$25. 8:00 p.m. Vinyl, 1374 West Peachtree St., Atlanta, 30309. 404-885-1365. centerstage-atlanta.com

Thurs., Dec. 15

CHRONIC CELEBRATION: An all star ensemble including the Pylon Reenactment Society (pictured) pays tribute to Georgia’s R.E.M., Dec.15. Photo Credit: Courtesy pylonreenactmentsociety.com

40th Anniversary of R.E.M.’s Chronic Town Celebration Concert, Coca-Cola Roxy — Hosted By David Cross. Proceeds go to Planned Parenthood. See feature. — Hal Horowitz
$Sold out. 8:00 p.m. Coca-Cola Roxy, 800 Battery Ave. SE #500, 30339. livenation.com  
For those without tickets, a live stream is available for $9.99 via veeps which also benefits Planned Parenthood.



NO DOGGIN’ AROUND: Country singer Kelsey Waldon plays tracks from ‘No Regular Dog’ at Smith’s Olde Bar, Dec. 15. Photo Credit: Courtesy kelseywaldon.com

Kelsey Waldon, Kristina Murray, Smith’s Olde Bar — Americana singer/songwriter Waldon’s fledgling career got a major boost when she was personally signed by John Prine to his Oh Boy label. Her albums since have been highlights of the contemporary country genre with her latest, ‘No Regular Dog,’ which she features tonight, one of the year’s finest. Waldon’s voice and music are as crisp and clear as a breezy spring day and her veteran band is top notch. — Hal Horowitz
$15-25. 8:00 p.m. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave. NE, 30324. 404-875-1522 sob.com


Thurs., Dec. 15-Sat., Dec.17

CHRISTMAS WITH CHARLIE BROWN: It’s a holiday tradition at The EARL, Dec. 15-17. Photo Credit:Courtesy badearl.com

A Charlie Brown Christmas, The EARL — The irrepressible Jeffrey Butzer and T.T. Mahoney return to East Atlanta for the 15th anniversary three night stand of their annual holiday remake/remodel of Vince Guaraldi’s holiday classic. It’s artsy, joyous and a local tradition. Bonus:The Frigidaires open performing ‘The Ventures Christmas Album.’ Butzer and Mahoney also performs the show at Madlife in Woodstock (Dec.13/all ages) and Waller’s Coffee Shop in Decatur (Dec. 19). — Hal Horowitz
$20-25. 9:00 p.m. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave.NE, Atlanta, 30316. 404-522-3950. badearl.com


Fri., Dec. 16

SUGARTIME: Head out to Duluth for a dose of Diane Durrett’s Soul Sugar, Dec. 16. Photo Credit: Courtesy dianedurrett.com

Diane Durrett & Soul Sugar, Red Clay Music Foundry — Subtitled “Merry Lil' Woohoo" and described as “soulful holiday favorites with a tribute to the songs of the Carpenters” this seems like a diverse and family friendly evening with one of Atlanta’s most soulful blues, jazz and funk women leading her longtime band. She also promises “special guests” for this Christmas themed evening. Sounds like fun. And those once schlocky Carpenters songs sound much better after all these years. — Hal Horowitz
$25-33. 8:00 p.m. Red Clay Music Foundry, 3116 Main Street, Duluth, 30096. 404-875-1522. eddieowenpresents.com 

Sat., Dec. 17

HIGH VOLTAGE: Eddie 9V electrifies on his Dec. 17 homecoming. Photo Credit: Courtesy variety-playhouse.com

Eddie 9V, J & the Causeways, Gus Glasser, Variety Playhouse — It has been quite the year for Atlanta singer/guitar slinger Eddie as he graduated from blowing down the walls at familiar local clubs to the national and even world stage. Headlining this larger venue is proof. While Eddie’s not a household name in the soul/blues world quite yet, he’s clearly on his way. This holiday homecoming features music from his upcoming, highly anticipated second indie label release. — Hal Horowitz
$17-20. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354. variety-playhouse.com

BEARDS ENCOURAGED: Hirsute southern rockers The Vegabonds take center stage at Center Stage, Dec. 17. Photo Credit: Courtesy of thevegabonds.com

The Vegabonds, Grady Spencer & the Work, Center Stage — The Vegabonds’ 2012 album was entitled ‘Southern Sons’ which is a reasonable description of the music they have crafted for the better part of a decade. It’s red dirt rocking with sharply written songs, guitars that float and sting and tough/tender vocals. Signing with high profile roots indie label Blue Elan for 2021’s ‘Sinners and Saints’ helped move them to this larger auditorium, but they have earned every fan the hard way through non-stop road work. — Hal Horowitz
$20. 8:00 p.m. Center Stage, 1374 West Peachtree St., Atlanta, 30309. 404-885-1365. centerstage-atlanta.com 

Sun., Dec. 18

GET YOUR HOOTENANNY ON: Jim Lauderdale returns for another Holiday Hootenanny, Dec. 18 Photo Credit: Courtesy jimlauderdale.com

Holiday Hootenanny, Variety Playhouse — The eleventh anniversary of this rootsy and rollicking variety holiday extravaganza features longtime participant Jim Lauderdale along with a sprawling cast of mostly acoustic bluegrass and “jamgrass” players cranking out their music on fiddles, dobros, mandolins and pedal steel. A horn section is sure to bring the soul, but the fun is in not knowing what’ll happen next. It’s an Atlanta Christmas tradition. — Hal Horowitz
$35-48. 7 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354. variety-playhouse.com

AU CONTRAIRE: The Black Lillies’ frontman Cruz Contrares appears Dec. 18th. Photo Credit: Courtesy eddiesattic.com

Cruz Contreras, Eddie’s Attic — The ex-Black Lillies’ frontman (they are on an extended, perhaps permanent hiatus) goes it alone, dialing down some of the more blustery bluegrass of his band for a smaller, warmer show. — Hal Horowitz
$25. 8:00 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com 




Tues., Dec. 20 

HOLIDAY HONEY: Get into the seasonal spirit with Amanda Anne Platt and her Honeycutters, Dec. 20th. Photo Credit: Courtesy eddiesattic.com

Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters, Eddie’s Attic — Eddie’s seems to be the go-to location for rootsy Christmas fare this year and Asheville’s Amanda Anne Platt with her band are happy to sign up. The group’s easy rolling music glides and swoops gracefully, led by Platt’s succulent but never saccharin vocals. Since the show is billed as “a holiday spectacular,” she will likely forego some of her terrific originals for seasonal fare. — Hal Horowitz
$20. 7:30 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com 

Fri., Dec. 23


GREAT SCOTT!: Bad ass bassman Kevin Scott invites a who’s-who of exceptional players to this one-off event, Dec. 23rd. Photo Credit: kevinscottmuisc.com

Kevin Scott’s All Star Holiday Revival, Variety Playhouse — There is no room to list the two dozen or so players that one time Atlanta bassist Kevin Scott will bring for this sure to be blowout show. But anytime you get a chance to see the legendary Bernard “Pretty” Purdie in action, one of the most recorded drummers alive, you’ll want to take advantage of that. And the rest of the “all stars” are some of the best local roots/jazz/blues players. A guaranteed sell out. — Hal Horowitz
$25-39.50. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE. Atlanta, GA. 30307. 404-504-7354. variety-playhouse.com


Thurs., Dec. 29

DYNAMIC DUO: Shake off that holiday family tension as Jennifer Hartswick and Brendan Bayliss combine forces for this post-holiday gig, Dec. 29th

Hartliss, Terminal West — That’s the duo of Brendan Bayliss (founder/guitarist Umphrey’s McGee) and Jennifer Hartswick (singer/trumpet player for the Trey Anastasio Band and many others) who combine their substantial talents for a Christmas jamboree. They don’t have any music available as a duo but you can expect tunes from Hartswick’s recent jazz/blues/funk disc Something in the Water, a few of Umphrey’s nuggets and likely some rearranged seasonal faves. — Hal Horowitz
$30-35. 8:30 p.m. Terminal West, 887-C West Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, 30318. 404-876-5566. terminalwestatl.com

Fri., Dec. 30 

MOTHER KNOWS BEST: Mother’s Finest will shake the rafters of the usually staid Eddie’s Attic for two shows, Dec. 30th. Photo Credit: Courtesy eddiesattic.com

Mother’s Finest, Stevie G., Eddie’s Attic — It’s often a wakeup call to realize that these Atlanta based, 70s era, hard charging funk rockers remain active in one form or another. Still fronted by Joyce Kennedy and Glenn Murdock’s tornado vocals, they have been releasing under the radar albums throughout the decades. But it has always been about the dynamic live show, which might be a bit raucous for this hushed space. Those who want to slam dance or audience surf might want to catch them the night before at the more crowd friendly Buckhead Theater. — Hal Horowitz
$30. 7:00 and 9:15 p.m. Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur, 30030. 404-377-4976. eddiesattic.com

Fri., Dec. 30-Sat., Dec. 31

BIG SKY: Twang in the New Year with contemporary rustic music as Greensky Bluegrass hits town for a two night stand, Dec. 30th and 31st. Photo Credit: Courtesy greenskybluegrass.com

Greensky Bluegrass, The Tabernacle — As their name implies, this veteran Michigan quintet uses mountain music as their base. But through over 20 years of touring, they have shifted to incorporate more rock influences and their latest, 2022’s ‘Stress Dreams’, finds a balance between traditional string band plinkin’ and plunkin’ with a more contemporary, even tougher, indie folk approach. A two night stand at this larger venue speaks to how well that has attracted the jamgrass faithful. — Hal Horowitz
$33-57. 8:00 p.m. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St.NW., Atlanta, 30303. 404-659-9022. tabernacleatl.com 

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