Atlanta is a musical city, and the Jewish community is a big part of what makes the music scene here so special. Besides the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, which has established a strong following in the Southeast, Jewish music and Jewish musicians often find their way to Atlanta for performances, residencies and other fun stuff.
As a musician and an enthusiast of the local scene, I’ve started a monthly column highlighting Jewish music in Atlanta. The column usually will combine local Jewish music news with a calendar of concerts.
Rosenbaum Releases EP
Atlanta-based musician Sammy Rosenbaum, who released his debut album in 2015, released the EP “Lift,” a collection meant “to lift up our souls for Shabbat,” on Monday, Nov. 27.
“It’s music meant for lifting you up before Shabbat, and it’s music meant for Kabbalat Shabbat,” Rosenbaum said. “My hope is this music can be another melody in the repertoire of Jewish music and the music that we use in our prayer spaces.”
The three tracks — “Kol Ha’olam Kulo,” “Or Zarua” and “Lecha Dodi” — seamlessly connect the reggae, jam band and Judaic music genres into a blend of Shabbat music perfect for a new generation.
The EP and accompanying sheet music can be downloaded free at sammyrosenbaum.com.
Rosenbaum has lived in Atlanta since 2014 as a resident of Moishe House, but he will soon move away as he prepares to apply to rabbinical school. The founding member of Moishe House Virginia-Highland will move out in a few weeks but said he’ll return to Atlanta from time to time and will continue to lead The Well with Rabbi David Spinrad.
Billy Joel at AJMF9
The eighth annual Atlanta Jewish Music Festival included a collaboration with album-cover live-music series ATL Collective to perform the classic Beastie Boys album “Licensed to Ill.” During ATL Collective’s re-creation of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at City Winery Atlanta on Nov. 22, the festival announced that it will partner again with ATL Collective for a production of Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” at AJMF9 in March.
“The Stranger” remains Joel’s best-selling noncompilation album and is ranked No. 70 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. With hits such as “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “Just the Way You Are” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” the album is considered by many to be Joel’s masterwork.
The double-bill show will have early and late sets March 24. Like all ATL Collective shows, it will involve a group of local musicians re-creating the classic album. AJMF3 featured artist Jacob Jeffries will perform original tunes to open the show.
Friday, Dec. 8
Acoustic Shabbat. The featured musicians at this month’s casual coffee-house evening of acoustic and soulful music include Rabbi Brian Glusman, Drew Cohen, Tristan Hulsebos, Max Bittner and Rebecca Glusman. Food and wine are available for purchase. Free, 7 p.m., Java Monkey Decatur, 425 Church St., bit.ly/2jMQCQq.
Sunday, Dec. 10
Children’s music. Latin Grammy winner Mister G, a superstar in children’s music, performs kid-friendly rock at The Davis Academy, which presents the show in partnership with PJ Library and the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Free, 10:30 a.m., 8105 Roberts Drive, Sandy Springs, www.davisacademy.org/cubclub.
Teen open mic. The open mic series continues at Intown Coffeehouse in Toco Hills. Soloists, duos and groups of all genres are welcome. Free, 4 p.m., 1219 Houston Mill Road, www.intowncoffeehouse.org.
Thursday, Dec. 14
David Bromberg Quintet. Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter David Bromberg performs at The Foundry in Athens. Bromberg, 72, is known for his unique fingerpicking style. He has performed and recorded with many famous musicians, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan. Tickets are $25, 8 p.m., 295 E. Dougherty St., thefoundryathens.com.
Friday, Dec. 15
Jewgrass Chanukah. Bluegrass group Nefesh Mountain takes up a two-day Chanukah and Shabbat residency at Temple Beth Tikvah. Friday evening at 6:30 includes candles, food and dreidel games. On Saturday night at 7:30, the New Jersey-based duo of Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg performs a Chanukah concert. In 2016, Nefesh Mountain released a pairing of Chanukah songs written by Woody Guthrie, “The Chanukah Dance” and “Chanukah’s Flame,” inspired by Guthrie’s Jewish mother-in-law, Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt. Saturday admission is a $5 donation for Drake House, 9955 Coleman Road, Roswell, www.bethtikvah.com.
Sunday, Dec. 24
Gozapalooza. Goza Tequila’s fourth annual Christmas Eve bash for young Jewish professionals is set for City Winery Atlanta. Zale performs at 8 p.m., and a DJ starts at 10. Tickets are $20, 8 p.m., 650 North Ave., Suite 201, Old Fourth Ward, gozapalooza.com.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with music news and concerts for the calendar.