REST IN PEACE: Athens country songwriter Mike Dekle died Thursday, Feb. 24. Although surely known to many by his day job as an insurance agent, Dekle’s songwriting career spanned four decades and multiple hits recorded by major artists. He was, for a time, contracted to write exclusively for Kenny Rogers. After this era of exclusivity, artists who recorded Dekle’s work included George Jones, Keith Whitley, Tracy Byrd and Joe Nichols. Most recently, Dekle had worked as a co-writer with Brantley Gilbert, and their song “Country Must Be Country Wide”—which included Colt Ford as a writer as well—hit No. 1 when it was released in 2011. Dekle was 77 years old.
LET THE SUN SHINE IN: Rabbit Hole Studios will host its annual Spring Equinox Festival Sunday, Mar. 20 from 1:11–11:59 p.m. As always, this event is free, open to the public, and there are still some available slots for performers and vendors. The festival is all ages until 7 p.m. and then turns to an 18-plus event. Thus far, confirmed performances will happen from Freeman Leverett, Peyton Covfefe, MYNAWA, the White Rabbit Collective, and your expected and regularly scheduled drum circle and fire pit jams. Other activities and distractions include yoga, a bouncy house, a kid-focused item named Mr. Green Thumb’s Garden Hour, live art installations, comedians, the Rabbit Hole Puppet Show and more. If you’re interested in vending or performing opportunities, please see rabbitholestudios.org/festivals to apply. For general information, please stay tuned to facebook.com/whiterabbitproductionsllc.
EVERYTHING WENT BLACK: Congratulations go out to Athens metal band Guillotine A.D. (formerly Guillotine) that has just signed with Las Vegas label M-Theory Audio. The new single “Hammer” is out now in advance of the band’s new full-length release due later this year. The band has upcoming shows in Tallahassee and Tampa, FL, Asheville, NC, Atlanta (Mar. 18 at Sabbath Brewing) and Charlotte. The band describes its sound as “old-school Florida death metal, Scandinavian black metal and New Orleans sludge,” and that’s pretty damn right on the money. For more information, please see facebook.com/guillotine.ad1.
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK: After two years on ice, AthFest Music & Arts Festival will return to the streets of downtown Athens June 24–26. This year’s event will include the popular artists market and KidsFest as well. While the open-air portions of the festival are free to attend, there will be separate ticketed shows at the 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theatre on the Friday and Saturday nights of the festival. The lineup, including headliners, has not been announced yet. If you are interested in performing, vending or sponsoring AthFest, please see athfest.com.
CONGRATULATIONS!: Civic and cultural organization Chess and Community is in the midst of celebrating its 10th anniversary. As part of this celebration, the organization and AthFactor Entertainment will host Life the Griot & Friends Thursday, Mar. 10 at Live Wire. The night begins at 6 p.m. with Chief Rocka spinning, during which time there will be open chess play and a silent auction. From 7–9 p.m., Life the Griot (AKA Lemuel “Life” LaRoche, founder and executive director of Chess and Community) will make his introduction, followed by live performances from the steppers in The League of Step, perpetually poignant rapper Cassie Chantel, noted violinist Keiko Ishibashi, poet Celest Divine, and Flagpole cover star Squallé. For more information, please see facebook.com/chessandcommunity and chessandcommunity.org.
STAY SAFE, Y’ALL: Just a word of encouragement and a high-five to all Athenians deciding to make the trek out to Austin, TX this week for South by Southwest. The landmark music and technology conference went virtual last year after being canceled entirely in 2020. It has returned to an in-person event, with select virtual components, this year. Although I’ve covered SXSW in person every year since 2010—and know exactly how sweaty, sloppy and crowded it can get—I’m still not ready to have the full breath of Texas blown in my face, so I’m only covering what I can from a distance. Full coverage should return next year. But, to our troops, break a leg and travel safely!
LISTEN CLOSER: Massachusetts label Feeding Tube Records just released a collaborative release from Shane Parish (Ahleuchatistas) and Michael Potter (The Electric Nature, Null Zone, Garden Portal) named Live at the Crow’s Nest. It was recorded at the pavilion known as the crow’s nest in Sandy Creek Park. The two-track release features Parish and Potter each playing guitar to execute a sort of folk-ambient vibe that grows more intense toward the end of the second track. This release has already enjoyed a nice co-sign from legendary critic Byron Coley whose authority in such matters I tend to cede pretty immediately. Find this at both michaelpotter.bandcamp.com and shaneparish.bandcamp.com.
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