Athens, Georgia. If you live here you know all about it. History. Fame. Some folks who aren’t from around here might have heard of it too. History. Fame. And if you have never heard of it, you are about to.
I’m not a native but I’ve come to appreciate parts of it. Let’s see. The Arches at the University of Georgia. Tradition. Georgia Bulldog football. National Champions. OK, so that was a long time ago. Some folks think of it like it was yesterday. The double barreled cannon. Civil War oddity that stands as a testament to ingenuity gone wrong. The tree that owns itself. Look it up. And some magazine keeps saying that Athens is a great place to retire. Top ten in the nation.
The University has it’s own draw for academics and cultural activities. And bars. Hundreds of them. And college students. Thousands! Funny how those two things mesh.
But the big deal here is some pseudo-fictional place down the Atlanta Highway – the Love Shack. Sounds like a brothel, and there was a famous one here at one time, but it’s the music scene I’m referring to. Love Shack. B-52s you know. And REM. And a few others you may have heard of. And, and yes, lots and lots of others you haven’t heard of. And probably never will. And I’m sure some that should never have been heard from . Those hundreds of bars have thousands of college students, and graduates, forming hundreds of bands that play in them. Probably thousands. Some weird names. A band might last a day or years. They night change their name, or their members. And their sounds.
Recently I found a great place to explore some of the local musicians. On Thursday nights at The Office Lounge, Reverend Conner Mack Tribble and the Deacons play their own tunes for a while, and then open the floor to anyone who would like to jam with them. Lots of guitarists. Couple of drummers. Keyboards. Even a flute player. Lots of rock and blues. Singers strut their stuff too. You don’t have to be good necessarily, just confident. Everyone gets applauded.
Tuesday night has seen the addition of the good Reverend Tribble’s open mic night at The Foundry. First ten people to sign up get to go on stage, alone, and do their musical thing. The audience votes, by secret ballot, on who should win, and there is a cash prize. You still don’t have to be good. Just confident. But they are good. There is amazing talent hidden everywhere. And more and more jams and open mic nights are popping up to copy Reverend Tribble’s work.
This doesn’t even consider all of the karaoke nights and the people who show up for that. But karaoke is a different story.
Everyone hopes that somewhere down the Atlanta Highway their star will rise. That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com