Flagpole Music Awards: Roots/Americana

(Art/Ziona Kocher, lizzybknits.deviantart.com)

Oh my dear, sweet Americana. I admit, I knew nothing about anything even vaguely country sounding before arriving in Athens. But one night, I met the Sleepy Horses and soon afterwards saw Adam Klein. Athens has had an influx of bands like these nominated in the Roots/Americana category of the Flagpole Athens Music Awards. I, for one, can’t get enough. They push us into the future of Appalachia while reminding us of the past. Anyway, voting. It ends May 29th.

It seems like the Road has been everywhere lately. I first saw them about a year back and their act has improved by leaps and bounds since. It’s foot stomping Americana. Literally. They have been known to carry around a board to place under Drew’s foot. The new record has been well received around ol ‘UOG so let’s see what happens vote wise.

Employing David Blackmon, part-time Normaltown Flyer, Maple leans toward the traditional ballads and weeping violins of roots. You can find a few upbeat tunes to balance out that old Appalachian sorrow and enough glorious instrumentals to keep you satisfied for days. Grab your fiddle boys, we’re gonna chase that devil back outta Georgia. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

He sounds like Tom Waits and his site claims he sounds like a “jar full of bees.” Angry, dirty, and ready to spit in your eye Americana, here’s your posterboy. Yes, I am so in love with Don Chambers + GOAT. He’s badass, I can’t help myself. Not to mention his amazing new album “Zebulon” and the most amazing version of “9-9” ever heard anywhere.

Since I saw them rock Athfest last year, I’ve been obsessed with Packway Handle. In between worrying when that bow will poke an eye out, I can’t help but laugh at these songs. Everything from a gender confused duck to Satan in space (told ya we’d run him out). It’s bluegrassy with a sense of humor. Keep an eye on these guys.


I’ve known the Horses a loooooong time. Well, in blog years at least. They’ve had a few lineup changes since then but Nic has kept motoring on, releasing “Golden Light” as a free download. It’s like U2 minus Bono and raised in Texas. If you ever wanted a soundtrack to ride across the west to, this is it.

This is absolutely cute. The Sisters are more traditional country singers with great harmonies. I can’t find a song that’s not catchy. These are the songs I would envision grandmothers across the Trail teaching their younggins. There’s a story to every song and a bit of morals thrown in for good measure. Just plain awesome.

Check back tomorrow for the Country nominees!

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