Georgia music

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Before Outkast, Goodie Mobb and T.I. burst out of Georgia, there was Blind Willie McTell and James Brown.  Before Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson and Jason Aldean stepped onto the country music scene, Brenda Lee and Chet Atkins were changing the sound of country music altogether.

What unifies those musical giants? Georgia. On Second Thought embarked on an audio tour of the dense and diverse musical roots of Georgia, from Ma Rainey and the Skillet Lickers to Emmett Miller and Otis Redding.


Credit: Jeff Forney

Music Midtown begins Saturday! This year, 25 years after it first began, the two-day festival will feature acts like Travis Scott, Cardi B, Lizzo and Vampire Weekend. And on Sunday at 1 p.m., you can catch Atlanta locals, The Coathangers.

First, drummer Stephanie Luke and bassist Meredith Franco, two members of the garage punk trio, joined On Second Thought to talk about how they started playing music together, what it's like being an all-female punk band in the music industry and what "punk" means to them.

 


Credit: Eat Humans

The annual Music Midtown festival takes place this weekend. Through its 25 year history — it launched in 1994 — A-list acts like Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Elton John and Drake have all taken to the festival's stages.

This year, performing musicians include Travis Scott, Vampire Weekend, Billie Eilish and Lizzo. Atlanta native Faye Webster will be among them. First, she joined On Second Thought to talk about how, while still only in her early 20s, she's already released her third album — and to tell us about her musical journey along the way.


Georgia Public Broadcasting

2019 is a big year for Atlanta hip-hop duo EarthGang. Earlier this year, their label, Dreamville — that's rapper J. Cole's Interscope Records imprint — released a multi-artist album called Revenge of the Dreamers 3. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.

And Friday, they drop their own Dreamville project into the world: the highly anticipated album Mirrorland


Brian Robbins / Robbins Photography

Whether it's the twang of a blues tune, the finger-picking of a folk song, or the shredding in heavy metal music, the guitar is central to our concept of popular music. But how does the design — the look, sound and feel — play into how a guitar becomes iconic?

Right now, the Museum of Design Atlanta, otherwise known as MODA, has an exhibition exploring exactly that. It's called "Wire & Wood: Designing Iconic Guitars" and it's on display until Sept. 29.


Ryan Myers

When Bryan Rucker and Ryan Bars became step-brothers, they also became a band. Based in Atlanta, The Norm fuses hip-hop, rock and pop, creating a sound far from normal.

Just in time for the summer solstice, The Norm's new single, "Summer Days," is out today. The band is set to perform at AthFest on Saturday, but first, Rucker and Bars stopped by GPB to add two songs to our Georgia Playlist of songs written or performed by a Georgian. Rucker chose OutKast's "Ms. Jackson" and Bars picked "Rubber Band Man" by T.I. 


Album Cover Photo By Art Rosenbaum

"Corridos" are a traditional form of storytelling through song, which became widely popular during the Mexican Revolution. They often tell stories of history, oppression, the common human experience and cultural heroes. These songs chronicle life (and sometimes death) in an easily shared and consumed format.

A new album by Athens-based musician and activist Beto Cacao carries on the tradition of this musical form. It's called Undocorridos: Songs of the Stories and Struggles of the Undocumented in the USA


Stills from Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury

Going from punk rock to the priesthood is not a common progression. Then again, Georgia band Luxury never followed the rules.

A new film called Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury follows the Toccoa and Athens group through their brush with death and, eventually, three members becoming Eastern Orthodox priests. The documentary feature makes its Georgia premiere at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta on Wednesday, June 19 and at Ciné in Athens on Thursday, June 20.


Credit: Casey Doran

Rose Hotel is not a hotel at all. It's a band. But that doesn't mean that their tunes won't make you dream, with their lo-fi, bedroom indie-pop sound. It's the music project of Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Jordan Reynolds. 

Rose Hotel's debut LP, called I Will Only Come When It's A Yes, is out today. There is an album release concert Friday at 529 in East Atlanta Village. First, Reynolds joined On Second Thought to add to our Georgia Playlist of songs written or performed by a Georgian. She selected "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" by Outkast and "Keep the Change" by Mattiel.


Credit: Matt Correia

You may have heard Curtis Harding's voice before, perhaps without realizing it. That's because, for a number of years, he worked with a familiar Atlanta native: CeeLo Green. Harding sang back-up vocals for CeeLo and even co-wrote songs with the Grammy Award-winning musician, like "Grand Canyon" — which was a bonus track on CeeLo's 2010 album, The Lady Killer

After that and several other collaborations, Harding launched his solo career, applying his distinctive falsetto vocals to his own style of music, which he calls "slop 'n' soul."

An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image, "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 

Credit: Yana Yatsuk

Atlanta's own Black Lips is a band that keeps audiences on their toes, literally — which you'd know if you've ever landed in the mosh pit at one of their shows — and figuratively, given that the latest it-bag line from Gucci is named after band member Zumi Rosow. 

For 20 years, founding members Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley have been making unruly garage rock, rockabilly records, and sometimes, they can sound like old country crooners. They are currently on a short U.S. tour, but will return to Atlanta just in time to hit the stage on the first day of the 2019 Shaky Knees Music Festival, which begins Friday, May 3.


Credit: Jeff Forney

With a curled lip and a graveled voice, Atlanta-based band The Coathangers will tell you what they think. Their gritty garage music incorporates influences that range from early punk to the golden oldies of rock 'n' roll. And yet, their lyrics are undeniably modern. The trio's new album, The Devil You Know, features songs that address current social issues like drug addiction and gun control.

We asked two members of The Coathangers, Meredith Franco and Julia Kugel, to add to our Georgia Playlist of songs written or performed by a Georgian. Their picks? "Frankenstein" by Subsonics and "Bad Kids" by Black Lips.


Courtesy of Swagg R'Celious/Twitter

David Harris is a music producer and composer from Manchester. The LaGrange College graduate has worked closely with rhythm and blues musician, H.E.R. Harris collaborated with H.E.R. on "Focus," which is nominated for best R&B song at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Harris also worked on other songs from H.E.R.'s debut album that is nominated for best R&B album. 

"On Second Thought" asked Harris to choose two songs for the Georgia Playlist. Music artists choose two songs written or performed by a Georgian, and they can't nominate their own songs. Harris chose Otis Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock of The Bay" and Thomas Dorsey's "Precious Lord." 


Courtesy of Swagg R' Celious/Twitter

The Grammy Awards will take place this weekend. While music's biggest stars are preparing to hit the red carpets and stage in Los Angeles, friends and families are rooting for Georgia nominees. That includes music producer and composer, David Harris, who worked with the rhythm and blues musician H.E.R. She is nominated in five categories. 

Harris collaborated with H.E.R. on "Focus," which is nominated for best R&B song. Harris also worked on other songs from H.E.R.'s debut album that is nominated for best R&B album. The 61st Annual Grammy Awards airs Feb. 10 at 8:00 pm. 


Courtesty Black Bobby

If you're searching for new tunes for the weekend, look no further. Larry Harris, Junior is an Atlanta rapper who goes by Black Bobby. He's also an activist and mental health advocate.

Black Bobby's new album, "Downloading: Alchemist" describes his passions for Atlanta, romance and music.


Today on the show, we heard from Shannon Browning-Mullis, curator of history and decorative arts for Telfair Museums. Browning-Mullis said Telfair Museums' Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters plans to reveal the newly-refurbished slave quarters at the Regency-era mansion to the public on Saturday, Nov. 17.


Jason Isbell/Twitter

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's new album, "Live From The Ryman," is the band's latest live album. We spoke with Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine's editor-in-chief, about the new music. We also discussed upcoming performances from Kamasi Washington, Jim James and Migos.


Today we explored the book "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics" with the hosts of "A Seat at the Table," listened to new Georgia music with Paste Magazine's Josh Jackson and discussed the problems with social media echo chambers with Emory University's David Schweidel.

Monica Pearson, Denene Millner and Christine White talked about the four authors of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics" who have lived and worked behind the scenes in American politics for more than three decades.

EventTkts / Twitter

Cat Power's new album, "Wanderer," is her latest in six years and the first since the birth of her son. We spoke with Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine's editor-in-chief, about her indelible sound. We also discussed other releases from R.E.M. and Phosphorescent.

 


Matthew Sweet Returns To Georgia

May 23, 2018
Courtesy Matthew Sweet

Singer and songwriter Matthew Sweet got his start in the Athens, Georgia, music scene in the 1980s. His star rose in the 90s with hits like 100% Fun, Altered Beast and Blue Sky on Mars. Sweet’s drive to creative music hasn’t slowed down.