Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Kirk West and the Allman Brothers archive

July 9, 2009

A couple years ago I produced a short documentary about music archives and archivists. The following segment, which focuses on Kirk West and the Allman Brothers archive in Macon, was the first part of that film.

Thanks to Hibbotte for major production assistance with this piece.


Videos from the Lower Chattahoochee Valley blues project

July 4, 2009

Five years ago I built a website about blues music in the lower Chattahoochee Valley for the online journal Southern Spaces.  Here’s some of what I wrote in the intro:

The Lower Chattahoochee River Valley region has one of the richest traditions of blues music in America; but, apart from long-time residents of the region and a handful of blues aficionados, the blues legacy of the Lower Chattahoochee Valley is largely ignored. The region — defined here as the eighteen counties that hug the Chattahoochee River along the Georgia/Alabama border, along with three additional counties in Georgia that have traditionally been a hotbed for blues music — doesn’t have a revered blues reputation like the Mississippi Delta. That’s probably due to the fact that virtually no 78’s of country blues emerged from the Lower Chattahoochee Valley from the twenties through the forties and only a small number of Lower Chattahoochee blues 45’s, LP’s, and CD’s have been issued since the fifties.

One person has been largely responsible for documenting the rich blues tradition of the Lower Chattahoochee Valley: George Mitchell.  From the late sixties through the eighties, Mitchell recorded dozens of nonprofessional blues artists, many of whom were old enough to have recorded before World War II. More than just an amazing portrait of talent and creativity, Mitchell’s recordings demonstrate that the region has developed a unique blues sound.

For my project, I interviewed George and taped performances by some of the region’s blues artists (Thanks to Jason Hibberd for production assistance).

I’ve assembled a couple video highlights from the project.  Here is Precious Bryant playing the instrumental “Georgia Buck” at a club in Columbus:

And here is Precious playing  the great Memphis Minnie tune “My Chaffeur” in her front yard:

George Mitchell discusses the unique sound of Lower Chattahoochee blues:

George Daniel delivers a raw performance of “Smokestack Lightning” in his front yard:

Happy Fourth.

Steve Earle on Clarksville, Townes, and Heartworn Highways

June 21, 2009

In the past couple months, I’ve done some video interviews for my friend Mara Davis’s blog.  Mara has graciously offered to ask a couple questions during each interview that could potentially be used for Downhome Traces.  Doing this has made me realize that I want to avoid pigeonholing this blog into being exclusively about Atlanta.  I’d rather it be more generally about history and places, most of which are connected to Atlanta and are often revealed through films, photographs and other visual traces.

In this segment Steve Earle discusses the scenes in the documentary film Heartworn Highways (1981) that feature Townes Van Zandt.  Earle talks about Clarksville (the section of Austin where Townes lived) and how Townes “stole the movie” by playing directly to the cameras.  Earle has a new record out that features the songs of Townes Van Zandt.

Wayne Daniel on the old City Auditorium

April 17, 2009

Wayne Daniel wrote Pickin’ on Peachtree, the definitive history of country music in Atlanta.  In this segment Wayne talks about a key venue in the early country music scene in the city, the old City Auditorium, where the Georgia Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention was held between 1913 and 1935.