NewsPub Notes

Grady Thrasher Writes a New Anti-War Classic

(l-r) Joe Ellison, Jim Hawkins, Jay Gonzalez, Dick Daniels, Grady Thrasher, Bill Oglesby, Michelle Castleberry, Matt DeGennaro

I would not want you to think that Grady Thrasher is not a serious man. After all, he led the fight against the Athens/UGA establishment when they tried to put a federal high-risk germ facility (the “bio-terror lab”) next to the botanical garden. He is a retired attorney, a prize-winning children’s author, a filmmaker, a philanthropist, and the partner, with his wife—artist Kathy Prescott—in various eleemosynary endeavors.

Recently, shut in by the pandemic and by health issues, Grady has turned his considerable mental energies to writing song lyrics. It’s true that Grady’s first effort was mostly for fun, resulting in “True Love and Plastic Money,” recorded by the Florida duo Lucky Mud. But lately, he has grown serious about his lyrics, and when Grady gets serious, he goes all in.

His lyrics lately have been love songs (“It’s Never Too Late to Fall in Love Again,” “I Wonder if Maybe”), but he knows he’s no musician, so he has hired some local people who are. Chief among them is Jay Gonzalez (Drive-By Truckers), who takes Grady’s words and turns them into music. And what music! Jay has recruited local musicians Michelle Castleberry, saxophone; Bill Oglesby, saxophone and flute; Dick Daniels, bass; and Joe Ellison, drums. Jay plays piano and guitar as well as creating and arranging the tunes.

All together Jay and The Boulevardians make Grady’s lyrics and Jay’s compositions into bouncy, jazzy, head-nodding songs recorded at Jim Hawkins’ Studio 1093 on Boulevard (hence the band name) and videotaped by Matt DeGenarro against 1093’s warm, wooded background. Grady is not exactly a self-promoter, but he has a great deal of self-confidence, and he’s convinced that this time he has come up with a song that manages to be both humorous and deadly serious at the same time, driving home a timely message fit for Christmas and for the ages.

As Grady puts it with just a touch of dry humor, “It’s sure to be a Christmas hit, an ultimate standard, perhaps—a rallying cry to the world, an anti-war tune that (in my immodest opinion) might be today’s generation’s answer to Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’ It will definitely be breaking its way up the charts when released.”

Here is the world premiere of Grady Thrasher’s new song, just in time for the holidays. Grady’s other songs can be found on YouTube at Sunnybank Music.

I Just Want to Stop Putin for Christmas

I just want to stop Putin for Christmas,

No, I’m not speaking gastronomically,

Please help me stop Putin for Christmas,

So, Ukraine remains a sovereign state and free.

Dictators have no Holiday Spirit,

No, it’s not their modus op-eran-di, 

They can’t win Freedom’s game, so they fear it,

Both Putin and his Chinese buddy Xi.

You could give Ukraine back its Crimea,

Arrest a couple of Arab princes too,

Squash that nuclear kid from North Korea,

But, if that’s too much for now to ask of you,

I just want to stop Putin this Christmas,

No, I’m not speaking gastronomically,

Please help us stop Putin for Christmas,

So, Ukraine remains a sovereign state and free.

So, Ukraine remains a sovereign state and free.

Gonzalez says, “I never thought I’d be singing the word ‘gastronomically’ in a holiday song (or any song, for that matter), but I love the message, and I had a blast setting it to music and recording it with the Boulevardians!”

To hear what Jay and the Boulevardians have done with Grady’s words, go to Pub Notes on and click the link. They make a good team. Here’s hoping “Stop Putin” becomes a hit and these guys continue making music.