Another year has come and gone, and that calls for a New Year’s resolution.
The other day I was browsing Spotify when I got a notification for a playlist called “Your Top Songs of 2017,” but I was surprised when I opened it. The playlist was made up of my most listened to songs of the year but didn’t have one artist I hadn’t heard of before 2017.
It was jarring because I consider myself in the know about new music.
This year I’m not letting that happen. My musical New Year’s resolution is to go out of my way to listen to new artists in genres familiar and foreign.
Why are we afraid to get out of our musical comfort zone? Listening to a familiar song is like spending time with an old friend. Listening to a new artist can be stressful. Also, with so many choices, from iTunes and Spotify to YouTube and Pandora, we retreat to the relative comfort of familiar tunes.
A great way to get to know new artists is to listen to live music. My big critique of the music scene in Jewish Atlanta is that people aren’t willing to give a chance to artists they haven’t heard of. If people don’t know you, they won’t go to your show.
In June, a show at Terminal West with Israeli trio A-WA was canceled because of low ticket sales. Later that month, longtime Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer canceled his show at the Center Stage Theater for the same reason.
In September, Hurricane Irma hit Atlanta on the day of Israeli piano man Rami Kleinstein’s scheduled show at City Winery, but because of low interest it wasn’t rescheduled.
It wasn’t just the canceled shows that disappointed me about Jewish Atlanta’s music scene in 2017. In March, I watched as the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, in collaboration with album-cover live music series ATL Collective, brought three of the biggest names in Israeli hip-hop for a performance that was sparsely attended.
We are lucky to see some of the world’s best Jewish musicians stop in Atlanta, thanks the AJMF, ATL Collective, City Winery Atlanta and others, but if we stay in our musical comfort zone and don’t support them, they will eventually stop coming.
My New Year’s challenge to you is to go to at least one show with an artist you haven’t heard. A great place to start is the concert calendar in this column.
Saturday, Jan. 6
Goldberg. Macon native Daniel Aaron Goldberg brings his blend of soul and hip-hop to the Atlanta room at Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Ave., Midtown, for an album release show. Goldberg’s sound, which is both natural and electronic, has been described as “electric soul.” Tickets are $8; smithsoldebar.com.
Thursday, Jan. 11
Adam Klein & the Wild Fires. Athens-based singer-songwriter Adam Klein performs at The Foundry, 295 E. Dougherty St., Athens. Fans of Americana will enjoy Klein’s happy blend of rustic country folk music. You may remember his performance at the 2016 Atlanta Kosher BBQ Competition. Klein is wrapping up his newest album, “Low Flyin’ Planes.” Tickets are $5; thefoundryathens.com.
Friday, Jan. 19
Acoustic Shabbat. The musicians at this month’s coffeehouse evening of soulful music include Rabbi Brian Glusman, Drew Cohen and students from the Weber School at 7 p.m. at Alon’s Bakery & Market, 4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Food and wine are available for purchase. Free; bit.ly/2jMQCQq.
Saturday, Jan. 20
Zale. Atlantan Hannah Zale performs at Aisle 5, 1123 Euclid Ave., Little 5 Points, for her “Eye See You” single release. Zale is a boundary-pushing, alternative rock five-piece band and was a featured artist at the 2015 Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Tickets are $12; www.aisle5atl.com.
Wednesday, Jan. 24
Kosher Klezmer. AJFF opening night at the Cobb Energy Center on Jan. 24 will feature the music of the 4th Ward Afro Klezmer Orchestra prior to a showing of the documentary “Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me.” The local group are mainstays in the Atlanta Jewish music scene. Tickets are $36; www.ajff.org/.
Wednesday, Jan. 31
Norit Galron. Israeli recording artist Norit Galron visits City Winery Atlanta for a performance of her hits Jan. 31. Galron has several number one hits in Israel including “This Is How We Separated” (משהו בלבבה),“ That You Know” (אתה הרי יודע), “Love Song” (שיר אהבה ) and “This is the Rain” (זה הגשם) which are all still relevant and popular today. Tickets start at $40; citywinery.com/atlanta/nurit-galron-1-31-18.
Saturday, Feb. 3
Bluegrass Havdallah. YJP Atlanta hosts a night of wine, cheese and bluegrass featuring local guitar-mandolin duo the Cohen Brothers Band (yes that’s me). The CoBros have been performing their blend of progressive bluegrass and folk music with tight vocal harmonies since 2010. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. 928 Ponce De Leon Ave. yjpintownatl.com/events/wine-cheese-havdallah/.
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