GPB Loves Music

Courtesy of Alan Walden

Tributes have poured in from around the world since Little Richard’s death on Saturday, May 9. His influence crossed decades and borders, and he was beloved as one of Georgia’s own, always proudly proclaiming his love for his hometown of Macon.

Not known for understatement, the man born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932 – the third of 12 children – staked his own claim as the “architect of rock ‘n’ roll.”


Andy Whale / Cover Courtesy of Faber & Faber

Billy Bragg is many things: a poet, punk rocker, folk musician, and singer-songwriter. He’s also an activist, music historian, and best-selling author. In the words of another poet, he contains multitudes.

Bragg’s newest work, The Three Dimensions of Freedom, is a slim volume that makes a weighty argument. It’s a pamphlet in the tradition of Thomas Paine, whose influential polemics helped spark the American Revolution, and later got him convicted of sedition.


Photo by Brock Scott

Georgians all over the state are finding ways to create activities at home, for themselves and for others.

Take Atlanta resident Eddie Farr, for example. For work, he builds props for escape rooms, and in his free time, he makes tech-based art. 


Amy Harris/Invision / AP

In mid-March — just as sporting events were scrapped, music and book festivals were canceled, and the Olympics were postponed — the Georgia-based folk band Indigo Girls were one of just a handful of popular artists who began streaming live performance online.

Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, the duo behind the band, brought in around 70,000 viewers for that concert, which was streamed on Facebook and Instagram live.


Associated Press

For decades, "race music" was the euphemism used for recordings by African American musicians. That didn't sit well for a young music journalist named Jerry Wexler, who coined the term "rhythm and blues" in 1949. The term stuck.

But it was as an executive and producer at Atlantic Records that Wexler changed American music. He introduced the masses to Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner, and honed the sound of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. 


Karli Cadel

While not many operas were written in English, George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess is one of the most celebrated — and perhaps the most controversial. 

Although the production provided roles for African American performers during a time when minstrelsy was still prevalent, criticism of the opera's representation of black culture, life and dialect have followed Gershwin's piece, from 1935, for decades.


Andy Buchanan

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 75th anniversary with special events throughout the season. Next week, Thomas Søndergård returns to Atlanta to conduct music by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Violinist Blake Pouliot will make his debut with the ASO, performing the "Violin Concerto." Sibelius' sixth and seventh symphonies are also on the program. And listeners can expect to hear his most famous piece: a tone poem called "Finlandia."


Photo by Gene Schiavone

"Heart/Beat: Gospel, Brubeck and Rhythms of the City" is currently running at the Atlanta Ballet until Feb. 15.

The performance is in three movements. The first, "Elemental Brubeck," is choreographed by Lar Lubovitch, to music by Dave Brubeck. Then, "Tuplet" is the jazz-inflected bustle of the city, with choreography by Alexander Ekman.


Dey Street Books

Marriage can be tricky. That’s why Joseph “Rev Run” and Justine Simmons wrote a book about their successful union.

The story begins in New York, where the couple met. That was at a Long Island roller skate rink in 1982. Joseph Simmons was then known as DJ Run — of the famed “new school” rap group, Run D.M.C.


Pria Mahadevan/GPB

La Choloteca is not just any dance party. What began as a simple idea between friends in late 2016 has grown into a monthly gathering spot for Georgia's Latinx community.

The "party with a mission" aims to create a safe and inclusive space for all identities who want to jam out to Latin tracks. It takes place monthly.  


L-R: Robb Cohen; Amy Harris; Amy Harris; Paul R. Giunta / Invision/AP - Collage compiled by Jake Troyer

We're heading into the last week of January. Maybe you're still on a fresh start for the new year, and keeping up with your resolutions. But are your music playlists still cycling through last year's hits?

If that's the case, then you'll be glad to know that every month, Atlanta's Paste Magazine publishes a list of upcoming record releases to keep you up to date on fresh tunes. 


Clockwise from Top Left: Owen Sweeney; Owen Sweeney; Brent N. Clarke; Dario Cantatore; Amy Harris; Jack Plunkett / Invision/AP - Collage compiled by Jake Troyer

This year, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" spent a record 19 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Now, it holds the title of the longest running number one single in the chart's history.

It's symbolic of the year in music, in a way — an array of new voices and up-and-comers throwing music industry standards out the window. Whether it's Lizzo's love of the flute, or Lil Nas X's combo of country and trap music, the new age of music seems to be twisting, bending and re-imagining the boundaries of popular music.


Talent Room Entertainment

Glenn Jones got his start in the music industry at a young age, signing to gospel label Savoy Records at just 17 years old. Later, his single “Here I Go Again” reached the top of the R&B charts in 1991.

Now, Jones is based in Atlanta and releasing new music under his independent label, Talent Room Entertainment.

On Second Thought invited Glenn Jones into the studio to share his additions to the Georgia Playlist.


Artist: A. C. Michael / Source: Wikipedia.org

Atlanta-based folk musician and multi-instrumentalist John McCutcheon has had a long career of writing and performing folk music all over the world. One of his songs, though, holds a special place in the canon of Christmas music.

“Christmas in the Trenches,” released in 1984 on the album Winter Solstice, tells the true story of the 1914 Christmas Truce, an unofficial ceasefire and celebration along the western front of World War I on Christmas Eve. Through the eyes of the fictional British soldier Francis Tolliver, McCutcheon weaves the story of the night soldiers came out of their trenches, exchanged souvenirs from home, and played a game of football.

McCutcheon joined On Second Thought to share the story of the song, the initial inspiration, and why he decided to make a children’s book based on the song.


L: Samantha S. Shal / R: Ken Lackner

Like the endearing story presented in 1965's animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas, the music from the feature has endured as a holiday classic. The mellow, jazzy piano tunes were arranged by Vince Guaraldi.

And for the 12th year, you can go hear this delightful soundtrack performed live. A trio of musicians — Jeffrey Bützer on drums, T. T. Mahony on keys and Mike Beshera on bass — will once again perform this 40-minute score for Georgia audiences in Atlanta, Savannah and Woodstock.


Dee Dee Hibbler-Murray says her current job as entertainment consultant for the DeKalb County government is an "old music lady's dream come true."

Every job she's had — from selling music at Turtles Records and Tape, to managing an upstart band called OutKast, to running T.I.'s K.I.N.G. Foundation — has materialized in part by envisioning what she wants by showing up, making that phone call, sending that follow-up note and taking risks. 


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. In fact, they have a new album coming out in early 2020, which they say is a country album. It's called The Black Lips Sing In A World That's Falling Apart.


Courtesy of Robyn Hitchcock

English singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock has been making music for more than 40 years now. Inspired by pop rock from the likes of The Beatles, his tunes vary from jangly psychedelia to somber acoustic numbers.

Hitchcock has released more than 20 records, whether under his own name or as member of The Soft Boys, a band he founded in 1976. Hitchcock's music has been inspired by rock 'n' roll forerunners and his peers and has, in turn, influenced a number of other acts. Athens band R.E.M., for example, covered one of his songs, called "Arms of Love."


Heidi Ross

Singer-songwriter Allison Moorer has recently released her 11th album, along with a companion memoir. They are both called Blood.

They tell a story she's avoided talking about directly throughout her career. When Allison was 14 years old, her father killed her mother — and then himself — leaving Moorer and her sister, the singer Shelby Lynne, orphans.


Courtesy of Bill Lowe Gallery

You'll find it at the steps of the Capitol, hung from front porches, draped over the caskets of fallen soldiers, and splashed across bathing suits and ball caps: the American flag. It's a symbol of patriotism, unity and power — and a central component of artist Bernie Taupin's work.

Does the name sound familiar? Well, you might include some of his other work, which includes songs like "Tiny Dancer," "Candle in the Wind," and "Rocket Man."


Emily Frobos

Sub Pop Records in Seattle has churned out a number of hit-makers. There's The Shins, Sonic Youth, Sound Garden and more. (Who could forget Nirvana?)

And the record label keeps the acts coming. One of the newest additions to their roster: Atlanta locals, Omni.


A Cross Cut Of Georgia Concerts

Sep 30, 2019
Emily Jones / GPB

GPB Loves Music has been running the whole month of September. We’ve heard from bands big and small. We’ve learned about a variety of genres, from jazz to hip-hop to punk rock. We heard about Georgia’s music roots, and a law class based on music contracts. But we realized: something seemed to be missing.

One of the best and most crucial parts of loving music is seeing it live — the dimmed lights, the vibrations from the speakers, the collective feeling of people sharing a night out on the town.

So, instead of bringing musicians into the studio, we decided to go out. We sent three of our folks, in three different Georgia cities, to three different concerts, all on the same weekend.


David Naugle

Earlier this year, Rolling Stone called Deerhunter, “one of the great guitar bands of the 21st century.” But that’s not the only music to come from the Georgia band.

Moses Archuleta is co-founder and drummer for Deerhunter. He also has a solo side project called Moon Diagrams, which released a new album, titled Trappy Bats, in August.

We invited Archuleta to add two songs to the Georgia Playlist. That’s our collection of songs written or performed by a Georgian. His picks? Athens band Pylon, and Atlanta native Playboi Carti.


Ben Mathewson

Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist David Sánchez hails from Puerto Rico, but, these days, he calls Atlanta home. Schooled in jazz by the legends, Sánchez is now schooling others as an artist-in-residence at Georgia State University. Tune in for a sample of his new record, Carib a project about exploring the music of the African Diaspora, beginning in the Caribbean.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Two legendary rock musicians and an innovative classical violinist join On Second Thought to talk about how they are mashing up their respective disciplines. Along with original compositions, these musicians use songs from Georgia’s most beloved musicians and bands and adapt them for an orchestra.


John Boydson

Shantih Shantih is a four-piece band founded in Atlanta. The band combines rock 'n' roll with harmonies over twanging guitars — heard in their new single, Radio Dream. 

On Second Thought invited Anna Barattin and Julia Furgiuele from the band to add some tracks to our Georgia Playlist


Courtesy of Flux Projects

Flux Projects is back at it. The arts organization produces temporary events that connect people to creativity and to place. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 26, Flux is transforming Ponce City Market into an acoustic playground.

A series of artists are using sound as the primary medium to reveal hidden dimensions of the historic building turned ultra popular destination for food and shopping.


Emily Jones / GPB News

This month, GPB is bringing you stories of Georgia music, a lot of them about music history. Now, we turn to the future.

Every musician has to start somewhere, whether it’s a piano recital or singing in church. Guitarist Oz Yakabovits, 8, is fond of playing outside in Savannah’s parks. And he recently landed a higher-profile gig: a gallery show by artist Scott Stanton, or Panhandle Slim.


Mike Snowden in his Marietta home-based shop. He crafts and sells cigar box guitars.
Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

Smoking cigars isn’t healthy and touring as a musician can take the fun out of performing, but Mike Snowden of Marietta has found a way to make money and have fun by crafting guitars out of cigar boxes.


Mandy Wilson

In honor of the Ken Burns series Country Music, Bill Nigut is taking over the On Second Thought Sunday time slot with a special edition of Two Way Street. This episode features his conversation with the legendary Brenda Lee, an artist featured in sections of the documentary. 


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