Live Music Picks

TODAY

Paul Thorn

A former boxer and the son of a Church of God minister who's been slowly building an audience with his scruffy charm and terrific songs that straddle the boundary between country and rock. He can be laugh-out-loud funny one moment and have you weeping in your beer the next. He has a knack for combining the poignant with the ridiculous, which is a pretty rare talent. And he's a great storyteller, so even when he's not playing, you'll be entertained.

8:30 p.m. May 22. $17.50; $15 advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E. 404-521-1786, www.variety-playhouse.com.

SUNDAY

Heart

After spending a brief time as the Lovemongers, the sisters Wilson have been trading as Heart again for the better part of this decade. After more than 30 years, "Barracuda," "Magic Man" and "Crazy on You" still send a tingle up the spine.

7:30 p.m. May 24. $43.50-$53.50; $33.50 lawn. Chastain Park Amphitheater, 4469 Stella Drive N.W. 404-233-2227, www.chastainseries.com.

MONDAY

Zac Brown Band

The Atlanta-based Zac Brown Band throws a Memorial Day party at Chastain Park Amphitheatre. The band's current single, "Whatever It Is," is a likely candidate for the Top 10 (it sits at No. 11), and follows the recent No. 1 hit "Chicken Fried." Table set-up; patrons may bring in picnic baskets, but beverages must be purchased on site.

5 p.m. May 25. $28. 4469 Stella Drive N.W. 404-233-2227, 404-733-4800, www.chastainseries.com.

WEDNESDAY

The National

These New Yorkers sold out the EARL in early 2007, then returned within the year to perform their dramatic and discomfiting lullabies to a packed Variety Playhouse. This time, they've moved up to the even larger Tabernacle. The band's 2007 album, "Boxer," is still their most recent, though there has been talk of a new one in late 2009. Delivered by deep-voiced frontman Matt Berninger, the band's best work has a woozy, late-night quality that seems to provoke inadvertent swaying and swooning.

8 p.m. May 27. $25. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W. 404-659-9022, www.livenation.com.

THURSDAY

Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum

Chesney reigned as entertainer of the year for both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music until he was unseated by Carrie Underwood. Even without the title, he's still one of country's most reliable hitmakers and the man knows how to show concertgoers a good time. Lambert's second album, 2007's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, " topped many critics' year-end best-of lists, and she's just released the first single, "Dead Flowers," from her forthcoming third. Lady Antebellum, which includes Augusta boys Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, scored top new artist awards from both the CMA and the ACM.

8 p.m. May 28. $45-$125. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 404-733-5010, www.vzwamp.com.