Athens Music Walk of Fame Announces 2024 Inductees

The Athens Music Walk of Fame Committee officially announced five new inductees for 2024 in between acts during the AthFest Music & Arts Festival on Friday, June 21. 40 Watt Club, Bar-B-Q Killers, George Fontaine Sr., John Keane and James R. Smith / Voices of Truth will each be honored with a bronze plaque installed into a downtown sidewalk. Celebrating Athens’ rich cultural legacy, the project spans a two-square-block area bound by Pulaski, East Washington, North Lumpkin and East Clayton streets.

The Athens Music Walk of Fame debuted in 2020 with 10 inductees: The B-52s, Danger Mouse (Brian Joseph Burton), Drive-By Truckers, The Elephant 6 Recording Company, Hall Johnson, Neal Pattman, Pylon, R.E.M., Vic Chesnutt and Widespread Panic. The following year, honorees included Bob Cole, Lo Down & Duddy, Nuçi’s Space/Linda Phillips, of Montreal and Art Rosenbaum. In 2022, Bloodkin, Tituss Burgess, The Glands, Ishues and Love Tractor were added to the lineup. Last year, Monroe Bowers “Pink” Morton, Normaltown Flyers, Jackie Payne, Calvin Orlando Smith and WUOG 90.5 FM joined the list.

See the official press release below.

In continuing recognition of the artists and supporters who have helped make Athens a destination for music fans, the Athens Music Walk of Fame Committee announces the five inductees for 2024: 40 Watt Club, Bar-B-Q Killers, George Fontaine Sr., John Keane, and James R. Smith / Voices of Truth.
40 Watt Club – Originally a nickname given to Pylon’s rehearsal space located above 171 College Ave, the first “40 Watt Club” was christened in 1979. After changing locations and ownership over the years, the legendary music venue moved to its fifth and present-day location, at 285 West Washington Street under the direction of current owner Barrie Buck.
Bar-B-Q Killers – an alternative rock band from Athens, with the late Laura Carter (vocals, guitar), Claire Horne (guitar), David Judd (bass) and Arthur Johnson (drums). They released the album Comely in 1986. They performed on Athens, GA: Inside/Out (1987), a video documentary that was an important document of Georgia music culture.
George Fontaine Sr. – a UGA graduate, Fontaine is the co-founder of New West Records, based in Athens and Nashville, and co-founder of Normaltown Records with his son, George Fontaine Jr. Fontaine was part of a team that converted the Georgia Theatre into a music venue in 1978.
John Keane – is an American record producer based in Athens, Georgia, who has worked extensively with R.E.M., Indigo Girls and Widespread Panic. He owns and operates John Keane Studios in Athens, his hometown, which opened in 1981 and is still in operation today.
James R. Smith / Voices of Truth – directed by co-founder James R. Smith, this choir specializes in traditional choral music including hymns, spirituals, anthems and gospels. They have performed for over 40 years and continue to preserve the roots of sacred music, focusing on the traditions that helped African Americans survive slavery.
The annual nominations of inductees are selected by a local resident committee appointed by Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz. This year’s committee members are David Barbe, Alyssa DeHayes, Hope Iglehart, Montu Miller, Nathaniel Mitchell, and Mark Mobley. During the selection process, committee members considered the contribution to the identity of Athens, established career, diverse representation in cultural and racial identity, distinct musical style, and historical context. Additional artists will be selected by the committee in the coming years.

The walk, created in 2020, passes several renowned music venues in western downtown, including the Morton Theatre, the 40 Watt Club, and the Georgia Theatre. Bronze plaques, designed by local artist Allen Sutton, installed in the sidewalk this fall will honor these artists and community members who have contributed to Athens’ musical legacy. The Athens Music Walk of Fame is funded by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission and administered by the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Arts Division with support from Athens-Clarke County Transportation and Public Works Streets & Drainage Division and the Athens Downtown Development Authority.

For more information about the Athens Music Walk of Fame and Committee, please visit: