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


  1. I feel your pain, Hunt. Here in Thomaston, TUAC works hard to bring quality music & other artistic performances to town and never never never have a full house. It's very disappointing. We're grateful to have the audience we have, no doubt, but on the other hand when we hear folks say, "Oh I didn't know about it," it drive me nuts. I mean, it's only in the newspaper two weeks beforehand, & there's posters & mailouts all over the place. I can go on and on.

    I was planning on coming Friday but the hubs was sick + many other excuses. Keep on keeping on, that's all you can do.

  2. Thank You, some will look back and relish in the birth of what is to come, some will wish they were a part of it, others will talk as if they were, those of us who are a part of it, still will be....SK