Concert Masters

Southern songbirds share their favorite music venues
Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium

Kellie-Pickler-2015-headshotKellie Pickler
Country singer, reality TV personality
Nashville, Tennessee

“My favorite is the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. That is such a staple stage in country music and in Nashville. It’s the best place to watch a show if you want an intimate setting. The Ryman was actually an old church they turned into an auditorium. You can stand on stage and sing, and if you project well, you don’t even need a microphone. Some of my favorite performances there have been acoustic. Most people who go to the Ryman go there for the same reasons—to really hear the artist and the song.”

Ryman Auditorium,

KB_Joseph-LlanesKristian Bush
Folk-rock singer-songwriter, member of Sugarland
Atlanta, Georgia

“There’s a venue in Black Mountain, North Carolina, called the Grey Eagle. It’s been going longer than I’ve been playing music. When I started Sugarland and my solo career, my first out-of-town shows were there. If you want to see something before it becomes something, go there.”

The Grey Eagle,


0141_Greg-MilesIrvin Mayfield
Jazz soloist, founder of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
New Orleans, Louisiana

“The House of Blues in New Orleans is a really special venue because it was the first House of Blues that fulfilled (founder) Isaac Tigrett’s vision of unity and diversity. You can imagine a corporation that believes in those kinds of standards is going to put together something special. The titans of today perform on that stage—everyone from Eric Clapton to Snoop Dogg. You’re always going to see someone you love.”

House of Blues, New Orleans,


AmandaSolo_2016_ByLeahBeilhart_9Amanda Anne Platt
Country roots singer, member of the Honeycutters and Sweet Claudette
Asheville, North Carolina

“Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville is a good place to hear music, especially bluegrass. It’s a little bigger than some venues—they have a balcony—but they designed it to be a listening room, so the sound is very tight. They have good cocktails, too. I think of it as a sitting-at-a-table, dress-up place.”

Isis Restaurant and Music Hall,

Edwin_McCain_9831-smallEdwin McCain
Indie-rock singer-songwriter
Greenville, South Carolina

I like Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta. I used to live in Atlanta, and I would run in that area and peek over the wall. The setting is incredible, especially the magnolias surrounding it all. And the programming is unique: I’ve played there with the symphony; I’ve played there with full-on rock and roll. And I’ve seen incredible shows there. The sound is great; you don’t have a lot of the bounce-back issues that you have at some other venues. Chastain is perfect.”

Chastain Park Amphitheatre,