THE BOYS OF SUMMER: Melodic master Drew Beskin will celebrate the official release of his album Problematic For The People Friday, July 9 at Southern Brewing Company. The 11-song collection is full of nice tunes perfect for driving around or simply chilling out. That said, there are some very tender moments here whose significance will be lost if you’re not paying attention. Specifically, the painfully honest but ultimately loyal “More Bad Days Than Good” is sweetly touching. Also on the bill that night is A.D. Blanco, who is celebrating the release of its own anticipated album, Time Never Wasted. Rounding the bill out is Heffner, whom you likely already know about, and if you don’t, then you should. Doors open at 7 p.m., and music starts at 8 p.m. For more information on any and/or all of this, please see facebook.com/DrewBeskin, facebook.com/adblancobandathens and facebook.com/Heffnerband.
THAT’S THEM IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The University of Georgia Performing Arts Center has announced its 2021-2022 season of performances. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, these folks have organized a pretty swell series. Also, the series doesn’t begin until October, so you’ve got plenty of time to plan. Noted swellness arrives in the form of Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn (Oct. 24), Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (Dec. 7–8), Branford Marsalis Quartet (Feb. 19) and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Mar. 4). As always, keep in mind that this is a very thin selection of the overall offerings, each of which is specifically grand in its own way. For more information and tickets, please see pac.uga.edu.
ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS: Joe Rowe (Glands, Hall of Fame, Goons) teamed up with visual artist and musician George Davidson for a project named Cherry, and the pair recently released the taut six-song record Poems Wanted. The most immediately striking aspect is Davidson’s saxophone being a lead instrument nearly throughout, which gives this a flavor and mood unlike anything recently released in Athens. Davidson also contributes wood flute, harmonica, mbira, temple bells and singing bowl, whereas Rowe handles the bottom end with bass, guitar, keyboards, drum, bongo and percussion. Of course, one’s first reaction is to call this moody, contemplative, etc. But that’s honestly just the first gut reaction to hearing a sax against a steady bass line. Most of this is relatively lighthearted and melodically pleasing, the best example of each being “Transitive Past Pluperfect.” Check it out for yourself over at cherry7.bandcamp.com.
SEVEN AND SEVEN IS: Jarbins, the solo project from Alex Nicholson (Saint Syzygy) has a new release that’s wider in musical scope but perhaps narrower in emotional focus. It Be Like That Sometimes explores empty space, the blues, near-Jandek-level deconstruction and more. The most traditionally acoustic-guitar-singer-songwriter-type tune here is “7,” which Nicholson reports is especially meaningful for him because “it correlates the 7 notes in music to the 7 chakras.” With respect to this, I can only claim cursory knowledge of the first and none of the second. Overall, this seven-track collection is a tad more challenging than previous Jarbins releases. If you’re up for it, though, head to jarbins.bandcamp.com and check it out.
OUT FRONT: Following up on its inaugural success in 2019, not to mention its against-all-odds slam dunk of a virtual event in 2020, the Historic Athens Porchfest will return Sunday, Oct. 10 between 1–7 p.m. This event matches hosts with performers to have live porch-based performances in the Pulaski Heights, Newtown, Boulevard, Buena Vista, Normaltown and Cobbham neighborhoods. And if you couldn’t already guess from its name, it is conceived, coordinated and promoted by Historic Athens. Both performing and hosting are fairly seamless processes. Basically, you volunteer your services for either, then Historic Athens matches y’all up. There are no genre restrictions. Keep in mind that people really love participating in this event, and pretty much the sole reason anyone volunteering might not be chosen is because all the slots were already filled up. So, with that in mind, please get your applications in as soon as possible over at bit.ly/porchperformer for performers and bit.ly/porchhost for hosts. For more information on Historic Athens, please see historicathens.com.
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