Threats & Promises

WesdaRuler Heads West, And More Music News and Gossip

WesdaRuler. Credit: Mike White

EVERYTHING MUST GO: Although it was formally announced a few weeks ago, the news of Chick Music’s closing is still accompanied by the muted sting of mixed emotions. The store was opened in 1942 by Lewis Chick as Chick Piano—a name many still use—but most folks know it as the store owned by Billy and Anne Shepherd, who acquired it after Chick’s passing in 1965. Its storefront on West Clayton Street, where the Shepherds moved into in 1968, is every bit a downtown landmark as City Hall, and its presence will be missed. Chick’s popularity ran much wider than simply the local rock band scene, though, and it was a core local center for music instruction and school band instrument rentals, and generations of players got their education there. Current stock is already heavily discounted, and the store’s final day is Wednesday, Dec. 15. 

HUSTLERS, ETC.: Southern music mover, shaker, taste maker and legend Alan Walden will have an event at Hotel Indigo Tuesday, Dec. 14 to celebrate the release of his new memoir Southern Man: Music And Mayhem In The American South, published by Jawbone Press. Walden is known for his work alongside his brother, the late Phil Walden, as a founding partner of Capricorn Records as well as for his work with his best friend Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Percy Sledge among many others. After leaving Capricorn in 1970, Walden was crucial to the development of the careers of Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Outlaws. This is, of course, a very light overview of the man’s life and career as there’s not enough space here to get super into it. Suffice it to say that this appearance is a real treat. The event begins at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Walden’s talk will start at 5:45 p.m. Books will be for sale on site, and Walden is available to sign autographs both before and after the program. RSVP to

STAND AROUND OUTSIDE AND LISTEN TO SOME TUNES, WHY DON’T YA?: There’s a pretty stacked bill for the Ho Down X happening at Southern Brewing Company Friday, Dec. 10. Presented by Normaltown Records, featured acts are Charleston’s Susto, The Pink Stones, Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country, Convict Julie and WesdaRuler—likely his last performance in town before relocating to California. Tickets are $20. If you’re scared of being a little cold at the outside venue, and who could blame you, word is there will be fire pits and space heaters around to warm you. Doors open at 5 p.m. and music starts at 6 p.m. This show is a benefit for Love.Craft Athens, which serves adults with developmental disabilities. For tickets and the order of performances, please see, and for more information on Love.Craft Athens, please see 

FELIZ NAVIDAD: The Athens Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual Christmas Concert twice this week, Saturday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. Tickets are free but must be reserved online. The concerts will happen on the main stage at The Classic Center. In addition to an entire slate of Christmas classics, attendees will also enjoy the treat of seeing The Good Grief Trio perform selections from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The trio is composed of Greg Hankins (piano), Luca Lombardi (bass) and Seth Hendershot (drums). Tickets may be reserved at Please visit that URL and scroll down until you find what you need.

REACH FOR SOMETHING: Songwriter, musician, photographer and radio show host Chris McKay has a new two-song single out this month. The A-side is “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” and features a guest appearance from Jay Gonzalez (Drive By Truckers). Generally speaking, it’s a ‘70s-style, introspective, mellow pop song, but it also features McKay ripping out one of his guitar solos right at about the two and a half minute mark. The B-side is “Every Time I Reach For Nothing” that, possibly due to its handclap rhythm, has a distinct Billy Idol vibe which isn’t something I’ve heard from McKay before. Outside of this, fans can expect the same quality power-pop work for which McKay is known. Find this release at 

WHAT YOU GET IS WHAT YOU SEE: Songwriter Josiah Campbell has kicked around Athens for the past eight years or so, and spent many years in a couple of bands (The Bread Brothers, Freehold). After Freehold disbanded due to the pandemic, Campbell started recording solo and just released his debut single “Heavy Devil.” Constructed entirely from bass and synths, it’s a nicely back-beat driven tune. It’s very similar production-wise to FM radio artists of the late 1970s and early 1980s like Sniff ‘n’ the Tears and Godley & Crème. It begins slowly but builds to a surprisingly rousing finish. As a side note, there’s occasional moments where Campbell’s voice hits a kind of broken high note and, in those moments, his voice is indistinguishable from those of Michael and Jay Aston (Gene Loves Jezebel). You can find this on Spotify.