I saw this article on the Athens Banner-Herald site yesterday. It’s a bit odd that a music town in the South isn’t really thought of as a country haven but Athens holds all types and has done so for a long time.
Think of the Normaltown Flyers, an Athens country band from 30 years back. They still loyally play Allen’s, sometimes the Melting Point. Or the incredible Mike Dekle. I’m not much for country singer-songwriters but “There Ain’t No Trash in My Trailer” is just brilliant. Point being, modern Athens has had a “country twang” for years. I like that the country part of Athens is coming out a bit more, even if I run far away from most of it. To each his own, I suppose.
I’m much more into Americana, the sort of off-shoot of country that has a great mini-scene in Athens. You can usually find Americana artists at Little Kings or Farm 255 instead of, Caledonia, though they pop up there too. For me, it’s partly sentimental.
One of my first paid assignments from Flagpole was to cover an Adam Klein show. It blew my mind that the artists that night could capture all the dirty glory of life in a song. Klein in particular is becoming a big supporter of Athens Americana. His label Cowboy Angel Music is full of great acts, including my most recent favorite, Justin Evans.
The best way I can explain Athens music to some of my friends is that the “scene” is like a little galaxy with its own solar systems (genres) and planets (bands). Maybe I’ll draw a map… Better than my “Disney World on Crack” theory anyway.
When all’s said and done, there’s a place for your band in Athens. Country can co-exist with electropop and rap, sometimes all play the same venue in some very strange line-up. But if you’re willing to keep honing your craft, there will be someone there to support you, twang and all.
Some great Americana/Folk artists are playing tonight at 8 p.m. at Little Kings…just fyi.