Hi, Everyone. Here we are. This is the final column of the year. I want to take a moment to thank everyone who read these words this year, sent in tips and music, and followed along. Enjoy the rest of the year, and we’ll catch up in January. Here’s to a wonderful set of holidays and a happy New Year. Now, let’s get into it…
PLEASE HELP: A fundraising campaign is underway for longtime Athens musician and friend Todd McBride (The Dashboard Saviors). As of last week, he’d been in intensive care for nearly a month. While awaiting surgery for an unrelated issue, he experienced profound confusion and was taken immediately to the emergency room. Two brain bleeds were found, and while those were rightly being addressed, this caused major complications with his scheduled surgery due to the delay. He will need rehabilitation, wound and ostomy care, physical therapy, and many more procedures and levels of monitoring. This current fundraiser is predicted to be only the first round of funding that will nearly certainly run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no convenient URL to print, so please help if you can by heading to gofundme.com and searching for “Todd McBride Medical Bills.” On a personal note, McBride’s music has meant an awful lot to me over the years and, Todd, if you can read this, know we’re all pulling for you from wherever we are.
STAY WITH ME HERE: Another longtime Athens musician and friend also needs our help. Currently living in Colorado and playing in the band Addie Tonic, Meghann Jordan (aka Meghann5k) was diagnosed with Stage 2 HER2 breast cancer. She is currently undergoing three months of chemotherapy with surgery and radiation treatment to follow. Jordan cut her musical teeth for years here in Athens, and any and all help is most appreciated. Just like above, you can help her by surfing to gofundme.com and searching for “Keep Meghann5k Afloat During Breast Cancer.”
A HERO’S WELCOME: It feels like this one just slipped on out, but Athens hip-hop godfather Ishues released a new album a couple of weeks ago named Legacy. This is a huge, 18-track album full of Ishues’ signature articulate and literary flow and incredibly sophisticated beat composition. I wish I had more information to impart regarding its production, etc., but I don’t. Suffice it to say that this is a spectacular and exciting record that speaks directly to the heart of listeners. With exceedingly few exceptions, it basically never happens that an artist releases his best music in his mid-40s, but this is one of those exceptions. Find this on Tidal and Apple Music for now and, presumably, on other services in the future.
LOOKING AHEAD: Still riding a high wave of critical and fan praise for its incredible October Book project, Kenosha Kid is doing a month-long residency at Hendershot’s and is playing two sets each Tuesday in January. Specifically, the dates are Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31. Band leader and creative force Dan Nettles says these sets are to be filled with mostly new material. These are billed as “No Phone” parties, and that should be self-explanatory. Also, Kenosha Kid has its own special coffee blend for these shows named, appropriately enough, No Phone Party, and you can pick up a bag at any of the shows. For more information, please see kenoshakid.com/January, and to get up to speed, please head to kenoshakid.bandcamp.com.
’TIS THE SEASON, Y’ALL: On Thursday, Dec. 22 Athens musician Bart King will host The Stardust Holiday Lounge at Hendershot’s featuring The O’Jamminbaum Quartet. This event marks the first show King, who has lived and performed in Athens since 2004, has headlined in over a decade. This night’s show happens from 8–11 p.m. and will feature multiple guests including Claire Campbell, Timi Conley, Mary Sigalas, Lisa Cesnik Ferguson, Kate Morrissey and more. The Quartet itself is King (piano and vocals), Chris Enghauser (upright bass), Jeremy Raj (guitar) and Louis Romanos (drums). This event is all ages and costs 10 bucks at the door. Expect loads of great holiday tunes and a good time all around.
REST IN PEACE: I couldn’t let this year end without mentioning the death of Athens art legend Robert Croker. He was a hero to many, a kind friend to his students and colleagues and, though he perpetually understated his role, a foundational source of inspiration for our music scene. As an instructor at the Lamar Dodd School of Art throughout much of the 1970s, he taught students to appreciate the uniqueness of distinct occasions and to capture individual moments. In a story I wrote back in 2014, when Croker was a curator for the Art Rocks Athens celebration, I said, regarding his having students observe and sketch a burning building in late 1974, “Croker… was enthused to have his students capture the immediacy of destruction as winter set in, to have them grab a moment by its throat because it wouldn’t ever happen exactly the same way again.” From this it seems easy to see how his influence was not narrow and only applicable to music, per se, but one that could expand to the whole of life itself. There is much more to his biography that we simply don’t have the space for here. He most recently had a show at the Lyndon House Arts Center, and you can read more about that, including his comments, at accgov.com/10390/Robert-Croker-at-Random-2022. When he died on Dec. 11 he was living and working in Philadelphia. He was 83 years old.
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