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Sound Menu

CL's picks for the week's best shows



ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO A long way from his young punky roots as guitarist for the Nuns in the late '70s, Austin-based Escovedo, now in his late '50s, still exhibits grit and fury with mature assurance and a wider mix of stylistic influences, whether sporting Bowie-esque rock or intimate Velvet Underground-ish strings. His latest album, the autobiographical Real Animal, released this year, successfully breaks out of the confined psychological barriers of his 2006 CD The Boxing Mirror. $20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. -- Mark Gresham

RUTHIE FOSTER Boasting of greatness in the title of your album (as in The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster) might be considered somewhat narcissistic. But it ain't bragging if you can back it up, and Foster's volcanic blend of jazzy R&B, blues, folk and gospel nails the mark. Her expressive voice is the very definition of soul and when she lays into either her own originals or powerful covers from Lucinda Williams and Son House (the latter, sung a cappella, is one of her most riveting performances), phenomenal is the first word that comes to mind. $15-$75. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. -- Hal Horowitz

AL GREEN, MICHAEL McDONALD Riding a new wave of success with one of the best albums of his illustrious career, Green proves he still is the master of sweet soul music. It's a shame he has to do medleys, but with so many great songs, what else can he do? McDonald is a journeyman, whose credentials include Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers and an illustrious solo career. But will his blue-eyed soul pale in comparison to the mighty Reverend? $25-$90. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-733-4800. -- James Kelly


LORI MCKENNA Late-starting New England folkie McKenna was a mother of three in her mid-20s when she began performing. Her smart, grounded, homespun songs reflect solid American virtues, so it's no surprise that Faith Hill seized upon four McKenna songs including the title track for 2004's Fireflies. It earned McKenna a major-label shot, and her debut release, Unglamorous, while more produced, and bit more country, still crackles with McKenna's shining spirit, buoyed by a keen writer's eye. $17-$85. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. -- Chris Parker


MARSHALL CHAPMAN, TIM KREKEL, TOMMY WOMACK There are so many facets to "Music City" (Nashville) that are virtual secrets outside of town, including these three brilliant and original artists. Chapman has been in the biz for years, and is one of the most talented female songwriters around. Krekel put out a fantastic CD late last year of pure country soul, and Womack is a walking definition of singer/songwriter. Repeat show Saturday. $17.50. 10 p.m. The Swallow at the Hollow. 678-352-1975. -- JK

TYRONE JACKSON QUARTET, RIO NEGRO Two top Atlanta jazz bands play a seven-hour marathon in conjunction with the National Black Arts Festival. A protégé of Ellis Marsalis, keyboardist/composer Jackson melds traditional, Latin and fusion elements into a personal jazz language. His quartet plays the lion's share of the evening until 10 p.m., when Rio Negro takes over until midnight, offering up Latin jazz spiced with hints of salsa, merengue and the urban flavors of reggaeton. $10-$18. 5 p.m. High Museum of Art. 404-733-4444. -- MG

SMALL EYEZ, TENDABERRY, SPREE WILSON, ALIEN 1 The Radiant Kids have been shining all over Atlanta with their snazzy live show that includes a bright mixture of punk, hip-hop and soul. With a resident drummer (Alien 1) who gets as much shine as the artists he backs up, this is one show the kiddies should be talking about for a while. Free. 3 p.m. WonderRoot. 404-254-5955. -- Jacinta Howard


THE OHIO PLAYERS REVUE, FRANK MCCOMB, TORTURED SOUL AND JIVA The word "funk" is about as overused as "indie" nowadays. But Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner is the real deal. Expect his Ohio Players Revue to set the roof on "Fire" with a roundup of the band's definitive '70s jams. Tortured Soul wilts wallflowers with its soul/house fusion. Frank McComb and Jiva also open. Kemit, Calvin Morgan and Larrmarous DJ. Hosted by Mitch Faulkner, Jamal Ahmad and Ken Rye. $25. 8 p.m. Center Stage. 404-875-9364. -- RC

CERBERUS TRIO Founded in 2007 by percussionists Isaac Anderson, Caleb Herron and Ellery Trafford, Cerberus Trio has invited a number of fellow Atlanta musicians to join with them in this 45-minute performance of Terry Riley's "In C." Written in 1964, "In C" is often cited as the first example of "minimalist" music, a reaction against the heavy-handed academicness of mid-20th-century serialism. Free. 8 p.m. WonderRoot. 404-254-5955. -- MG

A FIGHT TO THE DEATH Most of the 11 tracks for the group's new self-titled CD make use of evocative sounds like pedal steel guitar, stride piano, off-the-beat percussion-driven punctuations, plain-spoken bass, various knick-knacks and predominantly mumbly vocals in ways that conjure curiously modern twists on anachronistic images of Hollywood Westerns and archetypal American cowboy-gypsies. Free. 9 p.m. Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. 404-874-5756, ext. 450. -- MG

TONY JOE WHITE Those who only remember White's lone radio hit "Polk Salad Annie" or know he penned "Rainy Night in Georgia" have missed out on his four-decade career as the guy who popularized swamp music. His new album revisits older, obscure material with a stripped-down approach that highlights White's mumbling baritone vocals, high, lonesome harmonica and gnarled, greasy guitar lines. $15-$75. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. -- HH


ROGER CLYNE & THE PEACEMAKERS, JIM BIANCO Rock music is a vital component of the Americana "big tent," and Clyne's Peacemakers epitomize it. Hard enough to keep the heads bobbing, but with an extra element of gentility to make you listen closely. Bianco's gritty songs follow the trail of folks like Tom Waits, and while such comparisons seem blasphemous, in this case it's legit. $15. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. -- JK


OLD 97'S If the Beatles had been born and bred in Texas, they might have sounded something like the Old 97's. A return to Dallas for the recording of the pop-twang band's first studio set in four years yields a new album that might be the group's finest in an impressive 15-year run. Lead singer Rhett Miller sounds older yet wiser and the songs walk a tightrope between hooky pop/punk and strummy country without slipping into either. The quartet's live performance is always better than the discs, though, so this oughta be a lively show. Sleepercar also appears. $20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. -- HH


HIEROGLYPHICS, BLUE SCHOLARS, TANYA MORGAN This Oakland-bred hip-hop crew has been a West Coast standard-bearer, uniting the talents of childhood schoolmates Souls of Mischief, Casual, Pep Love and DJ Domino. Their tight battle rhymes and jazzy, heady loops have built a loyal following that they've nurtured on their own label, Hiero Imperium, for a decade. They're bringing a pair of hot young hip-hop acts, blitzing Seattle duo Blue Scholars and grimy, swaggering trio Tanya Morgan. Notably absent, however, is Del the Funkee Homosapien, their highest profile (ex?) member, who released his last album for Def Jux. $15. 7 p.m. Masquerade. 404-577-8178. -- CP

JACUZZI BOYS, MAMMALS Florida trio Jacuzzi Boys combine '60s garage primitivism with a shambling psych shimmy, like Brian Jonestown's Anton Newcombe might have gotten them high. While they've only released a handful of 7s, they possess a similar droning allure as Black Rebel Motorcycle Gang. They're joined by gritty, reverb-soaked Atlanta garage trio Mammals. Just hearing it makes you feel dirty. $7. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. 404-870-0575. -- CP

DAYNA KURTZ Far more beloved across the pond than in her home, Kurtz's smoky, rugged alto waltzes brazenly through a mix of folk, country, blues and rock, with touches of jazzy, adult contemporary sophistication. Her gruff vocals give gravitas to her dramatic swooning numbers, with slide guitar offered at times for a properly haunted air. She's supporting her fifth album, 2006's fine Another Black Feather. $12-$60. 8 p.m. -- CP

Bands/performers/venues wishing to be included in Sound Menu's noted-acts boxes may send recordings, press material and schedules two weeks in advance to Creative Loafing c/o Rodney Carmichael, 384 Northyards Blvd., Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30313, or e-mail information to: To be included in the listings only, e-mail venue and band schedules by Thursday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Wednesday) to


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