This week’s best music
is about steel strings and a little bit of twang.
I prefer to start these updates with something local
. This week that can be found at one of my favorite venues – Eddie’s Attic
. Wednesday night is being billed as the Atlanta
Star Songwriter Series. Two of the four scheduled performers are of note: Girlyman, who is a favorite of one of Eddie’s staff, for their lighthearted lyrics and energetic urban folk. Garrison Starr
is another emerging local
with the more serious take on the world but one that delivers with sincerity. (Besides what a great name for music
– she had to make that up.)
The feature for me this weekend is at the Variety Playhouse
on September 5. It’s the venue that most often brings my favorite acts to town and puts them on stage, on time, every time. Saturday night Tift Merritt
will be joined by Teddy Thompson on a bill that is being presented as a dual headliner.
I am not the one to comment on the state of modern country music
or to classify the variations thereof. I will say, however, that if you have ever really listened to Waylon Jennings, or Emmylou Harris, or George Jones, then you know that there is more to country music
than Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. This is like that. Which is to say, country music
the way I like it best. Tift Merritt struck my fancy with her fantastic 200_ record, Tamborine, which went on to garnet a Grammy nomination. Her latest work is This Country and while not embellished with the same r&b flavor that made her earlier effort so accessible, it is solid effort that likely will keep her on the minds of the critics if not the spin lords at pop country radio.
, who will be with Tift Merritt at the Variety on Saturday night, is newer to the scene. The highlight of his 200_ pressing is a cover of the Elvis classic I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone. He can’t copy the inimitable Elvis warble, but he doesn’t try to. Instead he picks a tempo between the original Elvis release and the “slow version” that first appeared a couple of years ago on the Sun recordings. (For both of the originals check out Elvis at Sun.) It is worth checking out that record. He – Teddy, that is – is on the road in support of his new record, A Piece of What You Need. I have not listened to it front to back but what I have heard is a little more accessible in the alt-country mode. If you like Jeff Tweedy’s work with Wilco
, I think you might like this.
Since we are talking twang, sweet vocals, and that small space between commercial country and the old-fashioned way of doing things that doesn’t quite qualify as traditional, I would be remiss in not mentioning that Chris Isaak will be at the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheatre in Peachtree City on Friday and Saturday night, so if you’re south of town check out this country crooner with your favorite guy or gal.
Another weekend stand will be at Smith’s Olde Bar where you will find the Hackensaw Boys
on Friday and Saturday night. In my view this is unquestionably bluegrass despite some of the modern frills and the frequent participation of Modest Mouser Tom Peloso. These boys can play, however, and have been featured all over the place like the Oxford American Review and Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.
Finally, if fiddles, twang and blackberry brandy don’t get your motor running, check out the breast cancer benefit, Totally Titties Two, at Lenny’s. This is the other end of the spectrum and the band I would drop in to see are The Coathangers. These girls call what they do “experimental punk” (maybe because they are experimenting with how to play their instruments) on tracks like Tonya Harding (yes, her!). Check out the Coathangers
and the benefit schedule Totally Titties.
That’s the A-List and who need yesterday’s papers?