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CL's picks for the week's best show

WED/9

SOUL ASYLUM, GIN BLOSSOMS These two once-scrappy '80s pop/alternative relics both released new albums in the past few years, not that anyone noticed or cared. Neither has many original members left, either, but as long as they stick with the MTV-approved hits, their ringing, guitar-based pop goes down easy and remains far less dated than the music of many of their contemporaries. Still, as retro summer concert shed bills go, this is a surprisingly anemic lineup. $25-$35. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-733-5000. www.classicchastain.com. -- Hal Horowitz

THURS/10

LANGHORNE SLIM & THE WAR EAGLES Rootsy folk and bluegrass processed through an indie sensibility take on a precarious vibe with Slim's trenchant approach. His keening, innocent vocals shape-shift heartland country informed by an urban twist that adds an incisive edge. Tempo changes and simple yet wry lyrics combined with skewed musicality makes him something of a Beck for the Americana crowd. Interesting, thought-provoking and he even rocks out ... occasionally. Missy Gossip and the Secret Keepers and Ben Trickey also appear. $10. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- HH

ROBERT PLANT & ALISON KRAUSS This unlikely collaboration has borne some sweet fruit, and by all reports the live shows are better than the record, which was damn good. Mixing songs from both artists' backlog with the new material and supported by superpickers T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller, this is a can't-miss. But you might; it's sold out. $38.50-$78.50. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-249-6400. www.livenation. -- James Kelly

FRI/11

BT A grad of Berklee School of Music, Brain Transeau helped pioneer progressive house music working with fellow D.C.-area musicians Deep Dish. His '96 global hit remix of Tori Amos' "Blue Skies" wrote his ticket, but he was always more of a producer than a DJ and soon moved on to more cinematic, well-manicured, but still surprising soundscapes. He's known for his rhythmic vocal stutters, sampled and diced for percussive effect, though he completely eschews vocals on 2006's This Binary Universe, which spans from jazzy breakbeats to full-orchestra classical music. $15-$50. 10 p.m. Swerve. www.swerveatl.com. -- Chris Parker

LARRY CORDLE, CARL JACKSON, JERRY SALLEY This trio has a ton of combined hit tunes, and tonight will be a very blend of bluegrass, gospel and country music. Jackson is well-known for his work with Emmylou Harris, Cordle had a smash with "Murder On Music Row" and Salley has had cuts done by John Anderson and Reba McEntire. $17.50. 10 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.). The Swallow at the Hollow. 678-352-1975. www.theswallowatthehollow.com. -- JK

JOHN HIATT, MARY DELANY Once a poet spewing acid and vinegar, these days Hiatt comes across as a gruff but softened geezer who is secretly happy with his lot in life. He's still making great records, and the newest "Same Old Man" follows the path of his best work of the '90s, updated for the new millennium. Local singer Delany opens. $35. 8 p.m. Atlanta Botanical Garden. 404-876-5859. www.atlantabotanicalgardens.org. -- JK

JOHN McCUTCHEON Back in 2006, noted dulcimer player and folkster McCutcheon moved to Decatur after three decades living in Virginia. The move also marked a reunion with one of his teenage loves, known in those days as the Milwaukee Braves. While primarily known for his sociopolitically conscious folk music, McCutcheon's love of both music and baseball merge in his newest album, Sermon on the Mound, released on opening day at the end of March. $25-$125. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- Mark Gresham

SAT/12

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Macon-born Robert McDuffie was a fan of the ASO as a youngster, long before he earned world-class stature as a concert violinist. In his appearance as guest soloist this time around, he's featured in the "Violin Concerto" of Pyotr Ilyich Tchiakovsky, in a romantic program comprised entirely of that Russian composer's music. Romeo and Juliet and Symphony No. 3 are also on the docket. The spontaneous Robert Spano conducts. $21-$59. 8 p.m. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. 404-733-5397, 404-249-6400. www.vzwamp.com. -- MG

CREATIVE CONTROL FEATURING DILLON, CLAN DESTINED, SEÑOR KAOS, ROCK MOST, SHORT BUS ALUMNI, SPREE WILSON AND BOOG BROWN With his bimonthly event Creative Control, promoter/MC/etc. Señor Kaos regularly delivers a much-needed alternative to the hip-hop scene. This month, Atlanta underground all-stars Clan Destined, Spree Wilson and Kaos himself will be on hand to deliver their brand of realist rhymes. This will also be a chance to catch everyone's favorite "new" kid, Dillon, spitting jawns from his recently released, much-hyped mixtape, Southern Scramble. $5-$10. Cenci. 404-627-0533. -- Jacinta Howard

DRAKE FEATURING TREY SONGZ Yeah, he may not get as much attention as some of his other young R&B peers, but Songz has the pipes and the sound that suggest he might be around for a while. Coupled with the smooth crooning of Drake, this show should be a decent prelude to a nice afterparty for two. $20. 10 p.m. Vinyl. 404-885-1365. www.vinylatlanta.com. -- JH

THE EVERYBODYFIELDS Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews met at summer camp a decade ago and have been writing songs together ever since. Andrews' raw wanton alto and Quinn's wobbly, reedy twang gently harmonize over songs ranging from the soulful old-timey ode "By Your Side" to sweet, rootsy-pop reverence of "So Good." With the departure of dobro player David Richey, the band moves away from traditional country/bluegrass toward a more rocking sound evident on last year's Nothing Is Okay. $10. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- CP

THE LOVELL SISTERS Trust me on this one, this amazingly talented trio is on its way up in the acoustic music world, and these freebies are gonna be few and far between. Instrumental and vocal virtuosity at its finest, the Lovells could well be the next generation of bluegrass superstars. Free. 7:30 p.m. Downtown City Park, Arnold Mill Road, Woodstock. 678-445-6518. www.woodstockga.gov. -- JK

PAPA GROWS FUNK This quintet is on the shortlist of finest and most popular contemporary New Orleans jazz-funk bands, which is saying a lot coming from a city where those propagate like kudzu in an Atlanta field. The songs on the group's newest disc are some of its best and when these accomplished musicians connect live, it's a throbbing, rump-shaking great time that'll keep the dance floor as hot and sweaty as the music. Soak it all in and let yourself go. Gurufish gets things under way with its retro '70s party vibe. $12. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- HH

SUN/13

KENNY CHESNEY, LEANN RIMES, GARY ALLAN The bill features a panoply of chart toppers, none bigger than Chesney, who won his fourth consecutive ACM Entertainer of the Year award after last year's Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates. The 25-year-old Rimes has lived a lifetime in her dozen years since Blue made her a star, sampling a variety of genres on her way to pop success. She's supporting her first album of all originals, Family. New traditionalist Allan can be spotted "Watching Airplanes" with hard-bitten resilience, drawing with his tenor from a deep emotional well. $85.50-$106. 3:30 p.m. Turner Field. www.ticketmaster.com -- CP

TUES/15

JON BYRD & BYRD'S AUTO PARTS, SLIM CHANCE & THE CONVICTS Old Atlanta Redneck Underground pals Byrd and Chance team up for a night of classic country and Americana. Byrd's somewhat belated debut shows him to be a low-key yet mesmerizing talent heavily influenced by Merle and Willie, whose everyman voice perfectly expresses his tales of working-class heroes. Chance has been slinging out his rootsy C&W for more than two decades and is one of the city's most respected, musically knowledgeable and dedicated talents. 8:30 p.m. Blind Willie's. 404-872-2583. www.blindwilliesblues.com. -- HH

WED/16

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. 404-521-1786. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- MG

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. www.eddiesattic.com. -- HH

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: rodney.carmichael@creativeloafing.com. 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 soundboard@creativeloafing.com.

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