Live Review: 500 Songs

Spring is in the air, and nothing epitomizes the magic of the season in Atlanta’s local music scene more than another edition of the “500 Songs for Kids.” Held at Smith’s Olde Bar for ten nights, local artists and renowned bands from across the Southeast participated in a wonderful treat – performing Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 most “feel good” songs of all time.

Hosted by creator Josh Rifkind and the foundation team, each night’s music drew huge crowds, packing Smith’s to capacity. The money raised will be used to help children in need in hospitals and camps. Each night brought on great duets, singer/songwriters and full bands. Excellent and inviting renditions of popular music were truly magical, yet others were complete surprises, filling up the room with great joy.

Amy Gerhartz provided her sultry, soulful voice to “Wishing Well,” followed by the touching “Tomorrow” from the movie Annie. “Last Night” was truly a fan favorite, a gorgeous arrangement, well executed, with pizzazz and energy. It was a pleasure to witness legends Drivin’ and Cryin’ deliver Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town,” a celebratory tribute. Such excitement came over the room during the classic Lizzy guitar riffs.

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The Woodies provided an amiable backdrop, with a joyous chorus and sing-along vocals in Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” Nothing could have sparked up the audience better than an intimate rendition of The Commodores “Easy,” done in a jazz-like setting with riveting trumpets and alluring violas.

From songs like “At Last” to “La Bamba,” Thursday at Smith’s was truly a Cinco de Mayo fiesta to behold!  Amsterdam Station lifted listeners hearts with some Outkast, while Dawn McClain sung Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” beautifully, a genuine highlight of the entire event.

National favorite Angie Aparo sang delightfully, both Cindy Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” as well as a medley featuring “Tiny Dancer.” Sonjah Katari was beautiful in “Here Comes the Sun,” with another duet bringing “Cecilia” to a spellbound audience. Arrested Development, the Constellations and the Yacht Rock Review got into the action as well.

It was a special year for everyone once again. And let’s not forget of the foundation’s true meaning: This one’s for the kids!

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