MusicThreats & Promises

Jeff Walls Battles Rare Illness, and More Music News and Gossip

PRAY FOR RAIN: For weeks, decades-long veteran of the Athens music scene, Marietta native, walking encyclopedia and friend Jeff Walls (Guadalcanal Diary, Hillbilly Frankenstein, The Woggles) has been suffering from what we now know is an exceedingly rare condition. Walls was admitted to the hospital with a variety of serious but confounding symptoms. After multiple rounds of attempted diagnoses, it was determined by doctors at Emory University Hospital that his condition is a rare form of pulmonary hypertension called PVOD, or pulmonary veno-occlusive disease. It is reported that this is so rare, it affects approximately no more than one in 5 million people. There is no known cure or treatment, and the only option going forward is a double lung transplant, which would, most likely, need to be followed by a heart transplant. While Walls and family are still deep in the process of making some very serious decisions, the bills have been piling up, and will likely continue to for some time. His Guadalcanal Diary bandmate Murray Attaway established a fundraiser that quickly met its initial goal of $15,000—by all accounts a rather arbitrary initial number. Because the total cost is unforeseen and completely unpredictable, the goal has been raised. Please consider donating whatever you can to support a true tower of song. For more information, see

ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN: Do you love dogs? How about Mardi Gras? Well, the Athens Area Humane Society and real-estate firm Jennifer Westmoreland and Associates will present Mardi Paws at the State Botanical Garden Saturday, May 11. The event runs from 7–11 p.m. and will feature live music by Mary and the Hot Hotty-Hots, while Athens legend Pat “The Wiz” Biddle runs live sound. You can expect costumes, New Orleans-style drinks and food, as well as a silent auction with prizes from Widespread Panic, New West Records, the Georgia Theatre and many non-music-related but wonderfully supportive local firms. There’s a costume contest to determine the king and queen of the ball, so attendees are encouraged to dress up. This event will specifically raise funds for AAHS to build a larger and more accessible facility so it can increase its service to rescued and adopted animals. Organizers note that a larger building would allow for more spay and neuter operations, as well as increase volunteer opportunities. Advanced tickets are $60, and day-of tickets are $70. For more information, call 706-769-9155 or

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL: OK, y’all aren’t gonna wanna gloss over this next bit. The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will present the first season of Chamber Music Athens May 12–21 at the UGA Performing Arts Center, Georgia Museum of Art, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Seney-Stovall Chapel, Hodgson Concert Hall and ATHICA. This event is 10 days of talks, master classes, concerts, etc. Special guest artists for this inaugural year include Jupiter String Quartet, Yale School of Music professor and pianist Peter Frankl, violinist Soovin Kim and operatic soprano Sarah Shafer. Although every event in this program is worthy of your attention and applause, I would feel remiss in my duties if I didn’t specifically point you toward the Georgia premier of composer George Crumb’s Metamorphoses. It happens Saturday, May 18 at the Georgia Museum of Art at 5 p.m., with a panel discussion at 4 p.m. And that’s just a single event! Dig deeply into all the information available at, and we’ll see ya there.

TRAPDOOR OF APPROVAL: More wonderful weirdness came down the pike this month with the new album by Social Circle, Dozen Dances of Destiny. Yet again, and totally by design, it’s impossible to discern which elements are performed and which are sampled. But who cares when a record is so trashily slick it basically hands you a gin and tonic through your ears? This whole thing has a real Beat of the Traps feel about it, and was “written, recorded and mixed” at Pit Bull Manor by Social Circle but mastered by, well, the master himself, Michael Potter. Listeners should thrill to the bouncy-dance of “Exact Nature,” the cocktail swoon of “INFP” and the R&B groove of “Conspiracy of Mediocrity.” Good lord, enough talking. Grab it at