Threats & Promises

Noel Holston Records Better Late After Hearing Loss, And More Music News and Gossip

SHINE ON: Rabbit Hole Studios (1001 Winterville Road) will host a Summer Solstice Celebration Sunday, June 20 from 5 p.m. to midnight. The event is free to attend and will feature an outdoor, rotating, open-mic style jam of local bands hosted by White Rabbit Collective. As of press time, the confirmed acts include Peyton Covefefe and Cath & Embreis, who are described as “the (sometimes reluctant) public faces of Athens Area Pagans, [who] bring you Pagan chants and songs, old folk songs and occasionally repurposed pop music.” If you’d like your band to participate or are interested in setting up an artist’s booth or even bringing your food truck, please get in touch with them via For more information on all Rabbit Hole things, please see

PUSH IT ALONG: The Hip-Hop Pit Stop month-long residency, promoted and coordinated by ATHFactor-Liberty Entertainment and hosted at Live Wire, is trucking right along, and the next show is Wednesday, June 16 from 8–11 p.m. Each of these shows has a theme, and this particular night is the MMR (“Music.Motive.Respect.”) Slickspot Revival. This night features Athens’ own DJ Sean Swift, Anime Zayy, Ant da Ripper (ex-Wildkard), HMO Sambo, Young Gutta, 3FT and Big Zaa. MMR is the company owned by Ant da Ripper and producer Rockieb4real. (Thanks to Montu Miller for the heads up!) The way these nights are structured is as follows: Segment I (8–9 p.m.) is an open mic session with artists performing pre-submitted tracks, Segment II (9–9:30 p.m.) features guest DJs, and Segment III (9:30–11 p.m.) are the featured performances. Songs for the open mic session should be submitted by Sunday evening, which makes it too late for this round but super early for the next one. I’ll keep y’all informed about these shows for the duration of the residency. For all other information please see

GO AROUND BACK: A cool show hits Iron Factory on Friday, June 18 from 8–11:30 p.m. Headlined by the acclaimed Americana songwriter Eric Bolander, who counts Apples In Stereo member John Ferguson as his bandmate, the night also features Spaceflyte, which is Apples’ Robert Schneider, also joined by Ferguson. Opening the show is Jim Willingham & the Dim Watts

GOOD STUFF: Songwriter Noel Holston just released his new album Better Late, and it almost didn’t happen at all. Although he’d begun the project in 2009, he experienced sudden and total hearing loss in 2010, which was only somewhat restored via multiple treatments and two cochlear implants. After several years, during which he wrote and published his book Life After Deaf, he reached out to his friends for help, and this album is the result. And, wow, y’all, what a group of friends he has! Those present on this include such heavy stock as Davis Causey, Rick Fowler, M. Lee Davis, Andy Carlson, Tim White and many, many more. Several folks take on the task of lead vocals here, in addition to Holston handling three of them on his own, and the song styles all fit somewhere in what we might refer to colloquially as the Great American Songbook. Guest vocalists include Seth Hendershot, Adam McKnight, Athens Jazz great Marty Winkler, The Georgia Sirens, the aforementioned Fowler and Michael C. Steele. Honestly, the list of credits to go around here is longer than my arm, so if you need more information please see, give this a few listens and never take your hearing for granted. 

HIT THE HIGHWAY: Just up the road in Winder is the Innovation Amphitheater (1005 Austin Road), and it’s announced some upcoming shows. On June 26 you can catch Chicago tribute band Chi-town Transit Authority, who will perform with The Gold Standard Band, which plays Motown hits, classic soul and Carolina beach music. On July 3 is the Marshall Tucker Band, featuring original member and lead singer Doug Gray. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first Athens-area show by the band since about 2007, but I could also be wrong. After this, there is a series of tribute shows, including ones dedicated to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd and others. For those unfamiliar with this facility, it’s a very tastefully sized 1,500 capacity venue that came to life through the joined efforts of the Barrow County government and school system in 2017. For more information, tickets and whatnot, please see