Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Music Scene is Larger Than You Know

In writing this, I will exert myself to keep from becoming the bear that some of you have seen from time to time. That being said, I welcome all canings, flamings, and comments of all kinds.

Here at Safehouse and The Storm Cellar, we have become aware of the reality that a large portion of our local music show-goers have a substantial flaw: many of you are closed to new music. At the risk of offending and running off some people, I will go on to say that the dozen or so bands that you go see regularly (and heard, mostly, the same set each time), are, in fact, NOT the beginning and end of quality music in this area. Are they musically talented? For the most part, yes. Are they genuinely passionate about their music? Again, for the most part, yes. I am not impugning the quality of their work or the validity of their fans' affections. What I impugn is the narrow scope of what is deemed "show-worthy" around here. Not convinced? Okay, case in point:

Within the last month, The Storm Cellar has had shows from the following:

* Atlanta phenom and premiere female artist, Heather Luttrel with her family band. Amazing country/rock  show filled with bluegrass undertones fueled by her father and his slide flat top. They pack out venues in Atlanta constantly - we had about 40 people.

* Atlanta powerhouse, The N.E.C. - psychrock pumped out by the best conflagration of vintage equipment we've seen here - so good Jacob didn't even tell them to turn the amps down! Members of a band of past Atlanta fame, Sovus Radio, reformed with top-level musicians to make The N.E.C. It would be a hard show to even get into in Atlanta, but we had about 75 people.

And finally, last night's show - 

* Enigma Machine. Simply jaw-dropping. Guitar rock-god, Lamont Sudduth, heads up this totally unrehearsed jazz/psychrock improv group. Griffin's own Bo Morgan, with a history of death metal, on very tasteful drums, and Jonathan Drawdy on deadhead bass with Atlanta's consummately sought after jazz saxist, Ollie Patterson filling out the group. Their sets are simultaneously mind-blowing and face-melting. Then, as if that weren't enough already, after EM's first set, something nigh mystical happened. Dr. Dixon, yes, The Blues Physician, walks into our shop and says, "I heard there was music going on here tonight." Heart racing, I ushered him downstairs and introduced him to Lamont. They knew each other by reputation and Lamont invited him to sit in on the next set. Don't bother googling Dr. Dixon unless you have mad google skills because history may hold our country's true bluesmen as national treasures, but this pop-driven music industry doesn't. Dr. Dixon has played blues harp (harmonica) with the likes of Muddy Waters and a whole pantheon of vintage bluesmen that you might know if you listened to your grandparents' records.

Now, I have been in the presence of musical genius more than a few times in my life, but what unfolded over the next half-hour left my giggling like a little boy, and I'm not ashamed to say it. They launched into the most impassioned and skillful blues I have ever stood witness to in my lifetime thus far. Dr. Dixon's harp had conversations with Lamont's guitar and Ollie's saxophone that we will be decoding for years to come. It was nothing short of euphoric, and how many people were here? About fifty. By the way, where were you? What was so stimulating that you missed what will be talked about around here from now on? We had a seat for you and we will next time, too, because Dr. Dixon dug our scene so much, he wants to come back and do a full show.

I am pleased to tell you that we got last night's show recorded in fine CD quality thanks to Shane Killingsworth who gets most of our shows here, even though he just got off of a 70 hour work week. The musicians also gave us permission to put cuts from the shows on our upcoming first release on Safehouse Records, A Safehouse Collective, Volume I.

So that's my piece and take it how you want. In the meantime, you know where we are and we will keep providing you with the finest in local and metro music. Flame on.

Hunt Slade for Safehouse Coffee and Tea & The Storm Cellar

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Its raining of course and the ground is slick because its cold and windy. What better time to get a coffee, no answer, would the sun help? Probably not. What would? I tell ya' a long drive through a mountain, the kind where they cut a whole in a tree then the roads turn and turn and you wear your breaks down but it wouldn't matter. I would buy new breaks everyday. Do you know how cold that river is, you shouldn't jump in and then you do and you jump with both feet and just fall and it takes your breathe. One of two things happens when you jump in with two feet. You either have the time of your life or you  break your legs. What an analogy for life. What if the water is too shallow?

The door won't shut all the way without making the most horrible noise. Not a screen door slam more like a wounded animal loud and scared and running away. It wakes up the whole house so you decide to jump in a car. The white one not the blue one and you just drive forever and then you get where your going and its dark so you get a hotel and you spend your last dime on a paper cup filled with African death and you just drink it and think about the cold. In hours, if everything goes right, the sun comes up and it hurts your eyes and your head but what if it didn't come up and it was that one night forever? Yeah what if?

Its hard walking down long wooden steps next to a water fall in the dead of winter at night but you do it anyway and if you had the least bit of foresight you would have brought that blanket. The one your mom made when you were a kid. The one with the wholes in it that makes you feel like Christmas and hard nights. We would spread it on a rock and fumble around until we found the one comfortable place that there wasn't a poker or root or just a sharp piece of rock digging through your bones and we would lay there until it rained then we would sit up and talk about how crappy rain is. The only bad thing is the three dollars we shoved in an envelope to park. We didn't have to but i like the park and we decided it was ok.

 The car tries to crank, it doesn't then it does and the pedal hits the floor and the volume knob gets turned all the way right and then a little bit to the left to keep from being fuzzy and deafening. I drive this time and don't worry about the road because its that song that I scream to on the way how every night. I worry the whole song about missing that one note at the end where the guy singing, the guy getting paid to sing it misses it and everyone thinks he meant to but he didn't and it sells anyway. Yeah that note and you are singing as loud as you can and you are alone in your mind and nothing else matters and the build up happens and you get confident and you think the note is yours and a second after the songs wants you to sing it you go for it and you scream FIX IT you hit it in your mind but not in real life. In real life you just howled and you are happy in that. The person with you laughs and likes it and you feel safe.

Not much of what a blog post should be or exactly what it isn't
all the very best

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hey friends there are quite a few really great things going on at the Safehouse and this blog is a part of it. Starting very soon you, yes you, will not be checking this old blogger site because, thanks to Ike, our I.T. guy that we asked favors from and he does it and just asks for free waffles, we have a brand new blog that looks the part a little more. The new blog will be located at and will be attached directly to the web site, This is a note to give Ike some props and say thank you for taking us out of 1972 and into 2009. 

In other news Neil Gaiman just won the Newbery Award for the Graveyard Book. For those that may not know the Newbery is the "being knighted with a sword by an older Queen-like lady" of the childrens literature universe. Not only that but his new movie, produced by Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, is great and wonderful and most certainly NOT for Ira Hunt Slade. Having said that don't take your three year old but if you have 7 - 109 year old in the family or a half way fun life you should go see it in 3D and feel like a kid again for 150 minutes.

and now paragraph about Twitter:

Raise your hand if you've not run across this annoying and brilliant social networking version of cheap cocaine. The three of you that raised your hands please visit For the rest of us, how wonderful is that someone out there divised a method to take the last little bit of privacy from our lives and post it right there for people we don't know to read at will. This program will most certainly drain us all of quiet, alone, just for me time and replace it with screams of, "Hand me my blackberry so I can tell everyone I know, and some that I don't, about the neck tie my Uncle Bill wore to Auntie Terries third wedding!". Or something like that. Oh and of course please search out all of the Safehouse family and click follow!

Thus ending my Twitter paragraph.

Thus ending my blog entry.

All the very best,
Jacob Orr

Monday, February 2, 2009

When is the last time you really stopped moving and let yourself meet a new friend?

Was it last night? I hope so.

When is the last time you talked until 5 in the morning and still had something to say even though you couldn't keep your eyes open?

When is the last time you had a place and a family that isn't really a real family but very much still a family that can help you and yell at you and fight with you and at the end of the night you hug and feel good every time.

Have you ever given up everything that makes you comfortable? Money, your own place, your freedom and security and been completely satisfied in it.

These are question I never knew to ask myself.

My life kind of asked these questions for me and the people that are now paramount in my wellness are  answering them daily. 

How does this fit in with coffee? Seeing as to how this is a blog about a coffeehouse and written by coffeehouse owners and baristas any one of us would tell you that coffee is a gateway into a moment. The atmosphere of a coffee house is nothing if not instrumental in cultivating lifelong friendships or bolstering a family that will argue and love all at the same time.

I know I am an employee here and as director of sales and marketing it is my job to shed a positive light on the business, I cant help but feel that someone reading this would see my words as a ploy to gain customers. It is not. The joy in my job is watching a first time customer grow into a family member or watching the people that meet here start as acquaintances and grow into real friendships. It has happened to me and a number of people that I pull shots for on a daily basis and if I never make another dime in my life I'll know that our building and our beans facilitated a meaningful breeding ground for new experiences for people.

In other news a bunch of the Safehouse family played a rousing game of D&D yesterday resulting in angry wives/girlfriends and gave us another reason to spend some much needed downtime with the people we can't live without.

Iceland has official disassembled their government in response to an outcry from their community. An interim government has been put into place to cover the day to day needs of things until the new campaigns and elections can take place. Good job Icelanders for not rolling over to the corruption and fighting for better life. We all could use a little of that spirit.

all the very best
Jacob Danger.