Archive for December, 2008

Atlanta Teens Keep Music Clean

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The singer steps up to the microphone and looks out to the huddled mass of fans.

“Are you guys ready to rock out with Jesus?” he yells as he directs the band to play.

Within minutes, dozens of middle-school students begin to jump, clap and sing as the band performs under swirling, multicolored lights at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Norcross.

The Oswald Brothers might not be well-known yet, but the four musicians are making a name for themselves with concerts around Gwinnett County — and beyond.

Meet Zach, 17, Jacob, 15, Nich, 13, and friend Zack Bennett, 16, a Duluth-based Christian pop/rock group seeking stardom with its faith-based music.

“Our main job when playing is to try to talk about what we believe in … and make sure we’re doing this for God,” said Zach, the lead singer and songwriter who also plays the guitar and piano.

Read Full Article.  By Shane Blatt, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Atlanta R&B Star Surpises School with $30,000 Christmas Gift

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Students should have known it wasn’t going to be Monday as usual at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School when the convertible blue Bentley pulled up in front of the auditorium. Followed by a tinted, high-end Mercedes-Benz. Followed by another bright blue sport utility vehicle.

That’s how Atlanta R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo arrived to present director Arthur McClenton and his band students an oversized $30,000 check for instruments; courtesy of VH1’s Save The Music Foundation, and a generous anonymous donor.

“Music is not what I do, it’s who I am,” said Ne-Yo, a VH1 Save The Music ambassador and this city’s leading Grammy nominee – with six — this year. “If you cut off off my arm right now a song would probably fall out…And I know it may be cliche, but these kids are our future. And we are going to have some very smart, but very boring, very bland kids if we don’t keep programs like these in the schools”.

Read Full Article.  By Sonia Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Local Blues Man Sean Costello Honored After Tragic Death

Saturday, December 20th, 2008


The Blues Foundation has just announced the nominees for the 30th annual Blues Music Awards, and they hold a bit of bittersweet news for local music fans.

The late Sean Costello, who died earlier this year just one day shy of his 29th birthday, is up for two awards. He’s among the five nominess for contemporary blues male artist of the year, along with Michael Burks, Elvin Bishop, Watermelon Slim and Buddy Guy. “We Can Get Together,” Costello’s lfifth and final album, is up for contemporary blues album of the year.

Just after Costello’s death on April 15, Atlanta blues record producer and musician Bryan Cole compared the young guitarist and singer to one of the men he’ll compete against. “Sean was an immense talent. He had the fire of Buddy Guy,” Cole told the AJC. ”He had his whole career way in front of him. He’ll be missed.”

Read Full Article.  By Shane Harrison, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Indigo Girls Enter New Venture

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

What started out as — and has long felt like — an independent movement is now officially one, again.

Legendary Atlanta folk duo Indigo Girls have established an imprint — IG Recordings — and its first release will be their own: a two-disc set they’ve already recorded titled “Poseidon And The Bitter Bug.” Emily Saliers and Amy Ray’s first studio CD in three years — actually a full band version of the album and an acoustic version with a bonus track — is due in stores March 24, 2009.

Read Full Article.  By Sonia Murry, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Shawn Mullins Homecoming

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008


Today’s Dispatch From The Road comes from Atlanta singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins, out promoting his latest Vanguard Records CD “Live at the Variety Playhouse” – and playing tonight and tomorrow at Eddie’s Attic.

Planning to be at Eddie’s? Been a longtime fan of Mullins?

Well here’s his online postcard to you:

Read Full Article.   By Sonia Murray, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Blind Drummer Calls Atlanta Home

Friday, December 12th, 2008


He’s blind, but he’s not from Alabama.

He’s from here. Grew up in the house next door to the one he lives in now, in southeast Atlanta, almost within sniffing distance of the “ghetto burgers” at Ann’s Snack Shop.

His mother still lives there. Still remembers how as a kid he’d park himself beside the family stereo and play along to records for hours on his drum set.

“He would get by that stereo and I’d say, ‘Ricky, would you please stop!’ ” his mother, Sarah McKinnie Shivers, recalled. “And he’d say, ‘Mama, you’re not going to say that when I grow up and get famous.’ And I’d say, ‘Don’t you wanna go outside?’ “

She laughs now. Her son, who had his first eye operation at 7 and went completely blind at 23, did just what he said he’d do: Since 1990, Eric “Ricky” McKinnie has played drums for the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama.

Started in 1939 by a group of kids at the Alabama School for the Negro Deaf and Blind, in Talladega, the gospel group won four Grammys in a row from 2002 to 2005. Their latest CD, “Down in New Orleans,” was nominated this month for another.

They’ve toured all over the world, with a fan base that ranges from churchgoing traditionalists to secular hipsters. They’ve been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and performed or recorded with musicians as various as Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, John Legend and Prince. At the 2004 Grammys, they sang with Kanye West.

The Blind Boys return from a concert tour through Monaco, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and England to perform Friday in Atlanta at Symphony Hall.

“I’ve been blessed to play in most of the places I dreamed of going to,” Mc-Kinnie, 56, said from his house on a leafy street of modest homes in Kirkwood. “Every day it unfolds a little better.”

Read Full Article.  By Drew Jubera, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Band Chosen For Inauguration

Thursday, December 11th, 2008


South Cobb High School’s Blue Eagle Marching Band was selected from 350 applications to be the only band to represent Georgia in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade. The entire South Cobb community is very excited about this honor, but they are struggling to pull together enough money to send the 95 students in the band to Washington.

They are asking the Atlanta community to donate what they can to help supplement the fundraising efforts being organized by the school. The anticipated cost for this trip is approximately $700 per student, which totals a $71,000 expense. This will cover the cost of transportation as well as some vital supplies the band needs for the big parade.

With the help of Atlanta radio station Q100, the school raised $50,000 on Wednesday alone and are now within reach of their goal. Donations are still being accepted online. This trip will be a memorable one for all these children, and the support of the entire Atlanta area has showed kids what a community is all about. Whether it is $5 or $500, please visit the online donation center and be a part of this effort.

Read Article.  By Laura,

Locals Get Grammy Nod

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Janelle Monae is one of 19 Georgia-affiliated acts to get a Grammy nod 

Janelle Monae is one of 19 Georgia-affiliated acts to get a Grammy nod

51st Annual Grammy Award Nominees Affiliated with Georgia (list courtesy The Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter)

Read More.  By Rodney Carmicheal