Out of Athens: The Music Will Follow

I grew up in the middle of freakin’ nowhere Georgia where even the names R.E.M. and Widespread Panic were rarely heard during my childhood. It’s always a mindwarp coming back here for holidays. Everyone’s older, places I used to love have closed down, people are married and moved away… But what really gets me is how, suddenly, it seems that people are getting to know Athens as more than home of the Bulldawgs.

Take for instance my brother’s boss. He’s a pretty hip young guy. So maybe it wasn’t that much of a surprise to hear that he’s a Drive-By Trucker’s fan. But the fact that a certain principle of a local school is a major Michael Stipe fan? That was a pleasant surprise indeed.

At my brother’s art show this Saturday, I wandered around, running into people I haven’t seen in a bit. They asked the usual questions (all seeming to be variations of “What are you doing with your life?” sigh) and when I mentioned Athens, a few of them really perked up. Especially when I mentioned interviewing the Zac Brown Band. They had seen the ZBB on the Country Music Awards

And that’s when it hit me. There IS a small little thread that connects Athens to Hometown. It just has to be through a major breakthrough band, preferably country leaning. I doubt hometown is quite ready for Pylon and will probably never be ready for Of Montreal. That’s a whole different type of crazy.

It’s always a bit hard to describe to people what I do. The concept of getting paid to write about bands that no one outside of Athens has heard of is a difficult one to concieve (and, to be perfectly honest, a concept that I’m still in disbelief about myself).Usually, I just mumble something about being a journalist and leave it at that. Those who know exactly what I’m up to, by way of my mother, usually ask how I keep up with Athens while I’m away. Uh….

EMAIL. And Twitter/Facebook stalking. And a lot of advance planning. But it was really cool to be able to come back here and be able to talk music to other people for the first time and not get blank stares. Keep it up people, we’ll have them humming “Crazy” yet!

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