FOLLOW YOUR BLISS: After months of speculation, the word came down last week that, yes, The B-52s will end their “Final Ever Tour of Planet Earth” right here in Athens on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at The Classic Center. Tickets sold out within minutes, sorry! The band reported in an online post that “all proceeds [are] going to local Athens charities” which is just swell of them. The band, which needs no introduction, is also playing Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on Nov. 11–13. For details about the show at The Classic Center, please see classiccenter.com/510/The-B-52s.
WELCOME ABOARD: AthFest Educates, the nonprofit organization that promotes and administers the AthFest Music & Arts Festival, has hired longtime Athens musician and children’s advocate Mary-Eleanor Joyce as its new executive director. Her tenure will start in November, meaning that AthFest 2023 will be the first instance of the festival to be held under her leadership. Joyce is well known throughout the Athens music scene, as well as the world of nonprofit organizations. She holds a master’s degree in nonprofit organizations/nonprofit management and leadership, most recently served for 15 years as the associate director and SafeCare Home Visiting Program coordinator for Children First Inc., and has graduated this year from the Athens Area Chamber Of Commerce’s LEAD Athens program. Anyone in the music scene with a pulse will also recognize her from her enthusiastic and years-long work with Girls Rock Athens. On a personal note, I can attest to Joyce’s steadfast work ethic and dedication to the task. I believe this is the most perfect match for this position. Congratulations! For more information, please see athfesteducates.org.
DOES THIS BUS STOP AT LUMPKIN AND HULL STREETS?: Spencer Thomas (Futurebirds) is releasing his newest solo single “She Doesn’t Know She Does It” on Thursday, Oct. 20. Like many artists working near the loosely-defined crossroads of Americana and rock and roll—which are, decidedly, very close cousins—Thomas is more oriented toward song craft itself than toward any particular style. On this tune, he positively channels the big chorus tendency of both Springsteen and Mellencamp. It’s immediately catchy and listeners should be able to quickly discern what I mean. Find this at spencerthomassongs.bandcamp.com and, presumably, all major streaming services.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORLD IN THE WORLD: Athens composer Freeman Leverett operates largely in the background, but with a quiet authority most other artists don’t possess. He is among a small handful of songwriters I’ve known over the decades who will spend months, if not years, drilling down into—and learning everything he can once he’s there—the inscrutable and debatable world of musical nuance present in any number of styles. With his newly released single, “Back To You,” he handles everything including vocals, backup vocals, twelve-string guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, piano, drum kit, woodblock, tambourine and cover art. It was mixed and mastered by Jesse Mangum of The Glow Recording Studio. The song is layered in lovely melodies and harmonies, trots along a steady mid-tempo beat, and is just this side of a fully orchestrated affair. To my ears, this is most reminiscent of finely arranged and produced records by Harry Nilsson and even, on occasion, Randy Newman. Freeman’s lyricism is wonderfully on point, too. So, people, give this a spin as soon as you can over at freemanleverett.bandcamp.com, and dig around a while once you’re there.
JE NE PARLE PAS FRANÇAIS: Athens band The Pierres will release its latest album It’s All Oh Saturday, Oct. 22 and celebrate that same night with a release show at The Globe. This collection of tunes is perhaps the most straightforwardly traditional the group has ever released. The band’s signature devotion to early-mid 1970s art punk is still present, but there’s just enough pub rock—from which, honestly, loads of early punk sprang—to keep this from going off the rails. On the other hand, maybe they’ve achieved the near-impossible and just sound like themselves after all. At any rate, fans of guitar-driven and anxious, insightful pop should get some traction from this. Highlights include the title track “Baby Brick” and “Finger On The Scale.” For more information, please see thepierres.org, or the nearly-never updated facebook.com/the3pierres. Find music at thepierres2.bandcamp.com.
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