1) The Beat likes country music. Heck, we recently posited on our Facebook page (“Like” us at www.facebook.com/TWTheBeat) that Rascal Flatts would make a great Super Bowl halftime act.
But there is stuff that continues to confound us as regards modern country music, and one of those things is the string of post-Garth country men who — to The Beat, anyway — come out of nowhere to headline arena shows. First it was Kenny Chesney, then Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Blake Shelton. We don’t dislike any of those fellas, just can’t figure out what they did or do to get so blessed huge.
More power to ’em, we say, as we welcome Mr. Shelton, along with openers Justin Moore and the Shelton-coached The Voice contestant Dia Frampton, to Nationwide Arena Friday, Feb. 17.
Tickets are $52.75/$28. Visit www.nationwidearena.com.
2) Umphrey's McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins told The Beat a couple years back that the band writes new material for every show.
"We start with something we might have worked out backstage and just start throwing visual cues back and forth," he said. "Sometimes we come up with some pretty good stuff."
Needless to say, improvisation is a staple of the UM live set. The Chicago sextet is equally adept at changing time signatures and the occasional pomp and circumstance as it is at ripping off groovy vocal harmonies.
Tickets for the band's Friday, Feb. 17, show at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion are $20/$25. Visit www.promowestlive.com.
3) Steven Curtis Chapman stands alongside Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant as giants of the second generation of modern Christian pop.
He's got a new record out — Re:Creation — and has taken to the road for a storyteller-style tour with friends Andrew Peterson (a The Beat fave) and Josh Wilson (I Refuse).
The tour visits Grace Brethren Church in Westerville Friday, Feb. 17. Tickets are $45-$20. Visit www.itickets.com.
4) This weekend provides a couple different takes on modern southern rock, first courtesy Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Friday, Feb. 17, at The Basement.
This southern metal outfit offers a full-on, swampy, denim-and-flannel assault on the senses.
Tickets are $11/$13.
The following night, The Basement welcomes the oddly named The Dirty Guv’nahs, as clean-cut a quintet of southern blues-rockers in the mold of The Black Crowes you’re ever likely to meet.
Tickets are $10/$12.
For either show, visit www.promowestlive.com.
5) ProMusica Chamber Orchestra’s Feb. 18-19 concerts at the Pontifical College Josephinum and Southern Theatre respectively, programmatically span the centuries and display sensitivity to their settings.
The programs include pieces by Baroque composer Arcangelo Corelli, classical master Joseph Haydn, 20th-century Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla and contemporary Argentine Osvaldo Golijov.
Additionally, the Haydn portion will vary from Saturday, when his Symphony No. 34, composed specifically to be performed in a church setting, will be performed, to Sunday, when ProMusica presents his more expansive and dramatic Symphony No. 104.
Tickets are $9-$10. Visit www.promusicacolumbus.org.
6) Beneath Tab Benoit's debonair exterior lies a rip-snorting, fire-breathing heart. The Beat is hard-pressed to decide whether his ache is better expressed in his classic Bayou vocal delivery or his whine and wail on the six-string.
The Cajun bluesman is touring in support of last year’s Medicine, and plays Woodlands Tavern, Feb. 19. Sean Carney opens. Tickets are $20. Visit www.woodlandstavern.com.
7) You can call Frank Turner an acoustic punk singer-songwriter all you want but what it all really means is that he’s making modern-day drinking songs.
Which is a good thing. Turner is a streetlife poet, a purveyor of wisdom and inspiration — and one helluva rousing, raucous performer.
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, touring in support of the new CD England Keep My Bones, stop at Outland Live Wednesday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $12/$15. Visit www.tix.artistarena.com/starwood.
8) More ambient and atmospheric than Thrice but more intense than modern minimalists like Mogwai, Atlanta experimental quintet O’Brother is attention-getting in a jarring, disquieting and epic kind of way.
Witness the tunes on the band’s debut release, Garden Window.
O’Brother is on a co-headlining tour with Boston modern rockers Junius, a tour that stops Wednesday, Feb. 22, at The Basement.
Tickets are $10/$12. Visit www.promowest.com.
9) Spirited and joyous, The Klezmatics ply their trade in historical Yiddish music with an infusion of modern-day disposition.
Formed in New York City's East Village in the mid-1980s, The Klezmatics helped invigorate interest in this traditional music that is at once spiritual and danceable.
CityMusic welcomes The Klezmatics to the Lincoln Theatre Thursday, Feb. 23. Tickets are $25/$20/$10. Visit www.citymusiccolumbus.com.
10) Fresh-faced and earnest, Rachel Platten is a pop singer par excellence.
Her zesty-yet-winsome presence imbues her pop anthems with an infectious vivacity. She’s also cute and witty and boasts a gift for gab from the stage.
Platten plays The Basement Thursday, Feb. 23. Tickets are $10/$12. Visit www.promowestlive.com.