Music | WABE 90.1 FM


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.

Kate Gardiner /

This weekend, Atlanta is playing host to a glam-rock throwback, some unaccompanied voices and most of the Grateful Dead. WABE contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for "Mara's Music Mix."

Sarah A. /

WABE contributor Mara Davis and host emeritus Steve Goss look ahead at some of the concerts packing this weekend's calendar, including a pair of bluegrass-tinged festivals, the original funk rock party band and a group called Lettuce. 

Jonathan Short / associated press file

Adele's "Hello" has become the first song to sell 1 million tracks in a week.

Nielsen Music said Monday that Adele's comeback track sold 1.11 million digital songs, setting a new record. Flo Rida's "Right Round" previously had the record for most downloads in a week with 636,000.

"Hello" also debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart this week. It is Adele's fourth No. 1 on the chart following "Rolling in the Deep," ''Someone Like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain."

"Hello" is the first single from Adele's third album, "25," to be released Nov. 20.

Soul Asylum hits the Masquerade along with the Meat Puppets this Monday.
Joshua Smelser /


This weekend, Atlanta plays host to Georgia's favorite party band, hip-hop pioneers, a band that brings the cowbell and much more. WABE contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for a look at some of the upcoming concerts around town with Mara's Music Mix.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Shawn Mullins’ new record “My Stupid Heart” takes off in all directions, exploring the ups and downs of romantic love, love for one’s brother, love for our country and love for humor and good times, too.

Michael Liu /

Over the centuries, so much concert, opera and film music has been written to depict the dark side.

WABE's Lois Reitzes sat down with WABE film music contributor and host of "Strike Up the Band" Scott Stewart to talk about what it is that makes scary music so scary.

Stewart brought in examples of music ranging from Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" to the iconic theme from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." 

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.

JD Scott

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is replenishing its bass section, and Colin Corner just started as principal bassist. Corner joined the symphony at the beginning of this season after seven years as principal of the Rochester Philharmonic. 

Along with playing in the ASO, Corner plans on teaching bass here in Atlanta and at universities around the state. He already has students and masterclasses lined up with help from other bass teachers and professors in Georgia.

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.

Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP


In September, the Emmy Awards included a number of music-related categories for some of the more innovative programs on television.


The so-called “emerging media” category includes scores and soundtracks for shows seen on newer services like Netflix and Amazon Studios as well as cable stalwarts HBO and Showtime.

On “City Lights,” contributor Scott Stewart discussed the music of “emerging media” programming with producer Erin Wright.

Charles Sykes / Invision/AP

Taylor Swift earned six American Music Awards nominations announced Tuesday, and if she wins everything she's up for the singer will become the most-honored artist in the show's history.

Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd had five nominations each. Neither artist has won an American Music Award in the past.

Swift was one of 10 nominees for artist of the year. She's won 16 American Music Awards. Whitney Houston is the most-honored artist in the award show's history, with 21 wins.

Jennifer Lopez will host the show, which will air Nov. 22 from Los Angeles on ABC.

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.

Katy Winn / AP Photo

On Saturday afternoon, the 25th anniversary season of classical concerts at Spivey Hall begins with a program featuring organ and the voice.

Soprano Christine Brewer and organist Paul Jacobs are the featured performers for a program that includes Bach, Handel, Boulanger, Puccini and Gounod.

On “City Lights,” Brewer and Jacobs spoke with host Lois Reitzes about the program, the history of Spivey Hall, their collaboration and the value of musical education.

Drake performs during Music Midtown 2015 at Piedmont Park on Friday, September 18, 2015, in Atlanta
Robb D. Cohen/Invision / Associated Press

Drake returns for the second straight time as the top nominee at the 10th annual BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta.

Veteran rapper Scarface will receive the "I Am Hip-Hop Icon" award at the taping of the show Friday night at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. Scarface's claimed fame through the group Geto Boys, becoming known as a solo artist with hits "Smile" and "I Seen a Man Die."

Drake received the most nominations with 12, while Big Sean followed with 10. Nicki Minaj scored nine nods. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole each had eight nominations.

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. 

Joe Giblin / Associated Press

As Atlanta transitions from big summer concerts to fall festivals, contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for a look at some of the acts and artists performing in town, including some hometown heroes partying on Ponce and a trio of very different Nordic acts.

Alexandra Gardner /

Christopher Theofanidis is no stranger to Atlanta's classical music scene.

In April, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performed the world premiere of his ambitious composition, “Creation/Creator.”

Last month, a recording of that performance was released on the ASO’s label.

Earlier this week, Theofanidis joined The Westminster Schools Orchestra for a concert at the private school in Buckhead.

Young Country Crooner Breaks Down Stereotypes

Oct 7, 2015
Jack Dempsey / AP Photo

Country music artist Mickey Guyton is one of the few African-American women writing and singing in the male-dominated genre.

The Texas-born Guyton topped the charts this year with her hit single “Better Than You Left Me.” The popular song landed her on tour with country superstar Brad Paisley and on her way to super stardom herself.

Guyton said during an interview on “Closer Look” that she was first inspired to sing country music when she saw a young LeAnn Rimes singing the national anthem at a Texas ball game.

Ludacris performs as part of Final Four Big Dance Concerts at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Atlanta.
Robb D. Cohen/RobbsPhotos/Invision / Associated Press

In September 2015, WABE sent our reporters out to find out one thing: "What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" You can read the rest of the stories here. 

Atlanta has been central to hip-hop for years. WABE asked Atlanta’s DJ Drama, Kawan Prather, Bear Sills and DJ Cowboy when they knew Atlanta had made it in the previously New York- and Los Angeles-dominated world of hip-hop.

Ainsley Joseph


Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers has just released her latest recording, a collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra called "Serenade: The Love Album."

"Serenade: The Love Album” celebrates the 50th wedding anniversary of Meyers’ parents. Her father grew up playing jazz clubs in Chicago, so she commissioned arrangements of some of his old repertoire, along with tracks from classic movies.

“City Lights” producer Erin Wright spoke with Meyers about the new release, which includes works from Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade.”

Richard Crean


Over the next week, there's a great story unfolding at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.


He's a writer who has to burn his own books for heat. She's delicate, like a flower, sensitive and beautiful. Their friends are a laugh a minute, other than the not-so-infrequent lovers' quarrel.


They’re the lead characters in Puccini's “La Bohème," regarded as one of the most romantic works ever put to stage.


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. 

Jennifer Higdon
Candace DiCarlo

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon met Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Spano around 30 years ago, when they were both in college.

The two became fast friends, but they didn't work professionally together until both were well into their separate careers. Then Spano conducted Higdon's “Concerto for Orchestra,” and asked her if he could make the world premiere recording with the ASO.

Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera via AP


When Peter Gelb took over New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2006, winds of change were in the air. Old productions were retired; new directors were hired, and operas started streaming live on movie screens around the world.

The Met Live in HD series opens its 10th anniversary season Saturday with Giuseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore."

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.

Nick Johns playing a Steinway Concert Grand once played by Emanuel Ax, Diana Krall, Lang Lang, McCoy Tyner, and many others at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Alpharetta.
Myke Johns / WABE

The piano manufacturer Steinway is offering the chance to meet some living legends … or at least play their pianos.

Three pianos on display at Steinway Piano Galleries have been played by the likes of Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax, Billy Joel and more. WABE producer Myke Johns paid a visit to check them out along with his brother, a classically trained pianist.

AfroPunk sign on Edgewood
Alison Guillory / WABE

Afropunk has canceled its first foray into Atlanta, citing the city's recent stint of bad weather as the reason.

The festival, which was originally going to take place Oct. 3 and 4, said on their Facebook page that "site operations and build [had] been greatly impeded due to heavy rains throughout the week, with more inclement weather in the forecast for the next several days."

Ticket holders will be automatically refunded at point of purchase.

You can read a statement from Afropunk's founder, Matthew Morgan, below:



TomorrowWorld organizers said in a statement that they understand festivalgoers' frustrations and disappointments following a weekend that many attendees called "chaotic."