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Closer Look: Balancing Work And Singing; And More

Jun 23, 2016
Courtesy of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Thursday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Courtesy of Voices of Note

Two Atlanta singing groups are joining forces for the first time with a concert this weekend: the 35-year-old Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus (AGMC) and the relatively new Atlanta Women’s Chorus.

They’ll be performing a program of music titled “And Justice For All” on Friday and Saturday. Lois Reitzes sat down with the artistic directors of each choir, Melissa Arasi and Kevin Robison, to talk about the significance of the collaboration and about performing one of Robison's own compositions in the show.

Joel Price (cropped) /

Looking ahead at some of the weekend's concerts, we have an Australian pop sensation, a pair of soul singers with plenty of history in their voices and much more.

Contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for this week's "Mara's Music Mix."

Myke Johns / WABE

Each year, the 120 dynamic and talented young artists of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra energetically tackle masterworks of classical and modern music, all under the baton of director Joseph Young.

The ASYO is preparing to give its Crescendo Concert, which features some ambitious programming rooted in opera.

"City Lights" host Lois Reitzes sat down with Young to talk about the thinking behind programming works by John Adams and Puccini for the youth.

Super 45 | Música Independiente (cropped) /

This weekend and beyond, Atlanta is playing host to singer-songwriters, neo-soul singers, R&B greats and many more.

Contributor Mara Davis joined host emeritus Steve Goss for a look ahead at some of the upcoming concerts around town.

April Williams

Lady Gaga meets The Beatles meets Adele. That describes Wrenn's eclectic sound. She's out with a new EP called "Apathy and Good Books."  

The up-and-coming Athens, Georgia, musician stopped by the "Closer Look" studio with guitarist Chris Padgett to talk about her musical influences, the origins of her stage name and the nickname she's given her fans:

Red Bull Media House

Atlanta's independent music scene is busy, and you can find evidence of that in Immersive Atlanta.

The website -- which covers the local and regional music scene -- has assembled a list of seventeen new record releases out this month by groups from around Atlanta and Athens.

Myke Johns sat down with Guillermo Castro, Immersive's managing editor, to talk about some of the highlights:

Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP

2016 is set to be a big year for Atlanta concerts, with visits from Adele, Madonna and the Boss himself scheduled in the coming months. 

Contributor Mara Davis joins WABE host emeritus Steve Goss for a look ahead at the most noteworthy acts and artists coming to town in the new year.

Atlanta Swedes Celebrate Saint Lucia Day With Song

Dec 10, 2015
Claudia Gründer / Wikimedia

Once a year in some countries, a bearded man shimmies down a chimney to deliver presents to good children and coal to naughty ones.

This incarnation of Saint Nicholas is by no means the only holiday tradition loosely based on Catholic saints.

In Sweden, for example, Saint Lucia and her band of maidens bring light, song and warm saffron buns and gingerbread to townspeople. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Graham Nash performs during the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
AP Photo/, Jay Janner, Pool

Graham Nash is coming to Atlanta.

The singer-songwriter's new album, "This Path Tonight," is scheduled to come out in April. Nash's show at the Buckhead Theatre, in Atlanta, is scheduled for Feb. 5. Tickets have not gone on sale yet. 

Nash's catalog includes classics from The Hollies, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and his solo career.   

He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Hollies and with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Pianist George Winston lists among his sources of inspiration Professor Longhair, Vince Guaraldi, the late Allen Toussaint and The Doors.
Joe Del Tufo

George Winston is probably best known for his contemplative piano compositions. He has 10 albums of piano music, including the 1982 album “December.” However, the composer and musician has lately moved beyond the spare sounds that many know him for and branched out into jazz and boogie-woogie.

WABE  spoke with George Winston about where he finds inspiration and his resistance of musical labels. He began by discussing his earliest influences.

Lance Ledbetter of Dust to Digital Records with his two treasured copies of The Anthology of American Folk Music by Harry Smith
Kate Sweeney / WABE

Lance Ledbetter runs the record label Dust to Digital here in Atlanta, along with his wife, April. They specialize in high-quality reissues of music from all over the world, and they are probably best-known for the 2004 box set, “Goodbye, Babylon,” which was nominated for two Grammy awards.

But there would have been no “Goodbye, Babylon” without Harry Smith. And that’s the story Ledbetter tells in this installment of Page-Turners.

Jana Beamer /

The metro area is full-to-bursting this weekend with big shows, and WABE contributor Mara Davis and host emeritus Steve Goss join forces to help guide you through their picks for Mara's Music Mix.

The Walking Guys


Bands hit the road every day of every year, but not like this.

The Walking Guys are living up to their name.

The four singer-songwriters started their first tour in Portland, Maine, in June. Over the past few months, they’ve walked cross-country from show to show.

“We planned it really well, and we mapped it out and we built in extra, kind of like rest days in cities, so those are kind of our buffer days,” says guitarist Christopher Kessenich.

The band is enjoying this jaunt, but it will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Elvis Costello will be in conversation at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, Oct. 18.
Martin Dobey /

This week metro Atlanta plays host to not one, but three music festivals, an Eagle gone country and a legendary songwriter in conversation at the Variety.

WABE contributor Mara Davis and host emeritus Steve Goss bring us Mara's Music Mix.

Jason Isbell performs during the 2015 Shaky Boots Music Festival at the Kennesaw State Sports and Entertainment Park on Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Atlanta.
Katie Darby/Invision / Associated Press

Alabama songwriter Jason Isbell will be headlining the Parklife Festival in Piedmont Park this weekend. 

He's supporting his latest solo album "Something More Than Free," which came out this summer, and he spoke to WABE contributor Mara Davis about coming back to Atlanta, his time playing with Drive-By Truckers, and the possibility of following in the footsteps of Taylor Swift.

The Parklife Festival takes place in Piedmont Park Sunday.

Jorge Ferrer /

John Lennon was born on Oct. 9, 1940.

By the time he was 23 years old, he and his fellow bandmates in the Beatles were household names across the globe.

On Friday, there are numerous events worldwide to honor Lennon, who was assassinated in New York City, on Dec. 8, 1980. 

Members of Atlanta contemporary ensemble Chamber Cartel rehearsing for their performance of Xenakis' "Pleiades" at the Goat Farm Arts Center.
Myke Johns / WABE

If you’re a fan of percussion, this story is for you.

The Atlanta-based contemporary chamber ensemble Chamber Cartel is performing a piece for six percussionists. And they’re using an instrument that the musicians had to build themselves. Reporter Myke Johns joined the ensemble as they rehearsed at the Goat Farm Arts Center to perform "Pleiades" by modern composer Iannis Xenakis. 

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs at Citi Field on Thursday, July 16, 2015, in New York.
Greg Allen / Invision/AP

Though this weekend's Afropunk Fest may have been canceled, there are still plenty of concerts going on in town. WABE contributor Mara Davis sits down with host emeritus Steve Goss to look at some of the indie legends and arena rockers coming to town this weekend.

As a musician, Kristin Hersh says Angier's "rhythm and melody...captures both sides of our brain at the same time."
Lena Moses-Schmitt

Great science writing is more than a dry explanation of the natural world around us.

It brings that world to life, using the literary tools that make readers care about the subject. Natalie Angier is widely credited with bringing a kind of poetry to her science writing — and, if Kristin Hersh is to be believed, a kind of music.

In this installment of Page-Turners, singer-songwriter Hersh explains why she loves Natalie Angier’s book “The Beauty of the Beastly.”

Kristin Hersh and Vic Chesnutt playing together at The Mint in Los Angeles in 2000
Kerina and Michael Marcon

A new nonfiction book by singer-songwriter Kristin Hersh looks at her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt.

Originally from Athens, Georgia, Chesnutt was a musician's musician. He never achieved commercial success, but his 17 albums were championed by artists such as R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe and the Indigo Girls. 

Chesnutt died in 2012 after an overdose of muscle relaxants.

Willie Nelson will appear on the Tabernacle stage with his trusty guitar, Trigger, on February 27.
John P. /

This weekend, the metro area plays host to an electronic dance music festival, a teen idol, a country legend and much more. WABE contributor Mara Davis sat down with host emeritus Steve Goss for this week's Music Mix.

j-No /

'Tis the season for music festivals in the metro-Atlanta area, and there is a new festival in town called Afropunk.

The festival’s roots are in New York, where it has held a festival for 10 years. This is the first year it has traveled to other cities in addition to its usual Brooklyn location. It was in Paris in May, and now it will be in Atlanta on Oct. 3 and 4 at Central Park.  

Afropunk co-founded Matthew Morgan spoke with City Lights's Gabbie Watts about how the festival transformed from 20 kids in a room to one of the most multicultural festivals in the country. 

In this 1970 file photo, Jimi Hendrix performs on the Isle of Wight in England.
File / Associated Press


There is a new Jimi Hendrix album available in stores now, improbable as that may seem, seeing as how this Friday marks the 45th anniversary of the guitarist’s death. Perhaps more improbable still: It was recorded in Georgia, in front of the largest American audience of his career.

Lauryn Hill June 21, 2014 at Sound Academy (Toronto)
Eddy Rissling for The Come Up Show /

In this week's look ahead at some upcoming concerts around the city, we have a pop diva from across the pond, a pair of big-voiced superstars, a genuine psychobilly freakout and much more. 

WABE contributor Mara Davis sits down with Steve Goss for the weekly Mara's Music Mix.

Cece Peniston takes Center Stage in Atlanta on September 4

This weekend, Atlanta has dance floor divas, a disco inferno, a jazz bass virtuoso and much more. WABE contributor Mara Davis brings us a look ahead at some upcoming concerts for the Labor Day weekend with Morning Edition host Steve Goss.

From left to right: Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris, and Wanya Morris, better known as the Boyz II Men, singing amongst onlooking audiences at their concert in Genting Highlands, Malaysia on January 2007
Najeeb Ishak /

Atlanta is playing host to a lot of music this coming weekend. Contributor Mara Davis, with her weekly Music Mix, brings everyone up to speed on just some of what is going on. This weekend, there's '90s R&B, '80s rock and a festival of electronic music seemingly from the future. Davis joined WABE's Steve Goss for this look ahead. 

Brittany Howard and the Alabama Shakes perform at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in Austin, Texas.
Jack Plunkett / AP Photo

Each week we check in on some of the upcoming concerts around Atlanta, and this weekend, we have women wielding surf guitar, '70s prog rock and a pair of bluegrass-filled benefits.

WABE contributor Mara Davis joins Morning Edition host Steve Goss for this week's Music Mix.

Babacar Ndiaye

Disillusioned by the criticism against mainstream American music, Atlanta-based filmmaker Babacar Ndiaye went in search of a place where hip-hop was used as a tool for education. He found such a hip-hop scene in Senegal.

He made a short documentary film called “More than Music” and hopes to turn that into a full feature later on.

Senegalese culture is community-based, and that extends through the hip-hop community.

Peter Frampton performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on October 5, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida.
Jeff Daly / AP Photo

Each week, we check in on some of the upcoming concerts around town, and this weekend we have a 1970s guitar god, a Black Crowe, a Killer and much more.

 WABE contributor Mara Davis joins Morning Edition host Steve Goss for Mara's Music Mix.