By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

The Atlanta History Center invites the public to embrace its Southern roots through a new music series called Southern Music: Shaken & Stirred.

Each month from March to June, the center will feature artists from one of four genres: soul, Southern rock, jazz fusion and blues.

The idea for the concerts sprang from the Nothin’ But the Blues series, a program the History Center held the past 10 years.

“The blues was essentially the inspiration,” program manager Vickie Zacker said. “We saw the blues. We saw how it connected to the region and how it connected to the state. So we wanted to explore other genres that had that same relationship to the South.”

Georgia music has “always been quite diverse,” said Danny “Mudcat” Dudeck, a favorite Atlanta blues musician who will perform with the series in May. “There’s always been an influx of people and therefore ideas. I think that’s really reflected in the music, so I applaud the Southern Music series for having that same philosophy.”

Along with established artists like Mudcat, a Tybee Island native who began playing guitar at age 17, the concert series will feature emerging artists such as Kyshona Armstrong, an unsigned soul singer from Athens.

“With this series, we definitely went with a wide range of performers,” Zacker said. “We have ones that are well-established, the ones that are associated with Atlanta such as Francine Reed. And we wanted to look at up-and-coming performers, ones that maybe needed a break, maybe needed a little bit more exposure. We wanted to be able to provide that for them.”

The concerts will be held at the Grand Overlook inside the History Center, which has a capacity of 400.

“It’s just like an intimate, alternative setting to nightclubs,” said Hillary Hardwick, a History Center spokeswoman. “People can stand up. They can dance. We will have some tables set up, which are available for purchase before the shows.”

In addition to the performances, food and beverages are available for concert-goers, and people can view select exhibits before the show.

“It’s an opportunity to bring nightlife back to Buckhead,” Hardwick said. “It’s just a fun after-hours event. It’s our version of Martinis and IMAX,” a Friday night feature at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

The concerts will take place the first Thursday and Friday of each month at the center, located at 130 W. Paces Ferry Road. Doors open at 6 p.m., and performances begin at 7:30.

Tickets for the Thursday shows are $20 for center members and $25 for nonmembers. Friday tickets are $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers. Discounts are available.

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit educational programs at the History Center.

Reservations can be placed by calling (404) 814-4150. For more information, visit www.atlantahistorycenter.com/SMSS.