In the heart of the East Atlanta Village sits the EARL, one of the most popular venues in Atlanta. While their propensity for supplying patrons with cheap ice cold beer and a variety of tasty menu choices has played a role in reaching the upper echelons of Atlanta venues, it is the continued line-up of top notch musicians that keeps them there. As I peruse the cavalcade of music types scheduled to share the stage this week, I cannot think of a better run of shows taking place in the intimate back room. Maybe this is because I am getting older and my memory evades me from time to time, maybe this is due to the consumption of said cheap ice cold beer or maybe the bands set to play this week are all just that damn good.
Out on the road in support of his latest record The Lights From The Chemical Plant, Nashville’s (by way of Texas) Robert Ellis writes eloquent songs about the foibles of life that most of us experience. Drawing from the ghosts of country music history his delivery is unassuming and quiet but his words pack a mighty big punch. He is as much a story teller as he is a singer and listening to him spin a tale I swell worth your time. Joining him is T. Hardy Morris out of Athens. His debut record - Audition Tapes - is a nice departure from the balls to the wall rock folks are used to from Dead Confederate. Morris shows listeners he is more than a front man from a rock band. Lyrically the songs are all a bit dark and brooding while sonically they offer up multiple layers from haunting to sludgy reminiscent of John Frusciante’s solo material. T. Hardy Morris may not be a household name but his music is something you should introduce yourself to.
Moving on from her former band Shonna Tucker took John Neff along with her to form Eye Candy. With a vicious touring schedule the band has fine tuned their live performances as they dish out songs from their debut album A Tell All. Country, rock and soul are all on the plate with Ms. Tucker’s sultry voice leading the way. The new record sounds great but nothing beats hearing those songs live. Georgia legends Bloodkin share the stage with their laid back country tinged tunes. With one of the best live shows around, they have built up quite a loyal fan base through years of touring. I suggest you experience them live at least once, otherwise you are missing out. Kicking the evening off is the robust southern sounds from Atlanta’s Higher Choir. Driven by dual guitars, soulful keys, pounding rhythms and Chance Walls wail these dudes put on one hell of a show. Songs about the South, literary figures and Dale Earnhardt Sr. their live shows are more of a party than a performance. Be sure you get there early so you don’t miss out.
FRIDAY – 2/28/14 – 9:00pm
An explosion of beautiful noise fires from the speakers when New Madrid hits the stage bathing your ears in a sonic goodness. Establishing themselves as one of the better live bands in Georgia their music is loaded with chunky fuzz filled guitars and haunting melodies. Bordering on chaotic noise there is just enough pop undertones to even things out. On stage things are kicked up a notch as you never know what you will hear, but you can be guaranteed it will all be good. Their set list should be heavy on tunes from the latest record Sunswimmer with a few other gems tossed in. Sharing the stage for the night will be The N.E.C. and Twin Studies. Bring your ear plugs because this one is going to get loud.
Not much to say about this one. A pair of legends pair off for what should be an unbelievable night of music. Escovedo is a brilliant song writer with everything from country to punk to Americana showing up in his music. While his music sucks listeners in it is the words that keep them hanging around. His live shows are intimate full of emotions, killer guitar playing and damn good songs. With a wealth of recording in his hallowed career there should be something for everyone. Peter Buck defined R.E.M.’s music with his jangly guitars, but that is something you already know. Through the years he has been playing with the Minus 5, Baseball Project and solo. With an initial solo record under his belt and one in the works his set list should be interesting. Something to also be aware of, whenever Mr. Buck plays in Georgia you never know if any of his ex-band mates may show up and join in the fun. This may be the show of the week. It is sold out so you may have to search high and low to score a ticket.
There you go, I just laid out plans for the entire week. So get off the couch, take a break from work or set the kiddies up with a sitter and make it to at least one night of music at the EARL. You can’t go wrong with any of these shows.