John ‘Stoney’ Cannon has worn a lot of hats over the past 25 years. He’s been a musician and a promoter. He’s been a journalist. He’s been an entrepreneur responsible for not only business ventures, but more than a few nonprofit organizations and events as well. But more than any of those things, Cannon is a fan.
He’s a fan of music. He’s a fan of the people that make music. He’s a fan of people who discuss music. He’s the kind of fan that performs, and writes and shares music not because it earns him money or respect or recognition – though it has done all three at various times – but because he is a musical creature and that is what he is compelled to do.
It has been 25 years since Cannon, armed only with a copier and ample inspiration, published the earliest incarnation of Lokal Loudness – a local music newsletter that, over time, has morphed many times. It’s now much more than a repository of news and reviews – although it still serves that function – becoming the umbrella brand for most of the musical ventures Cannon instigates.
Friday marks 25 years to the day since Cannon ran those first copies. To celebrate, he’s throwing a party in conjunction with his annual awards – the kind of party only a fan could imagine. The kind of party only a man who has collected the kind of community ties, connections and most significantly, goodwill might accomplish. More than a simple celebration of Lokal Loudness, it’s a sonic stroll through Augusta’s vibrant musical history.
It’s a no-invitation-needed family reunion open to everyone that has played or supported local – or Lokal as the case may be – music. Cannon has put together one of his popular local music compilations tracing 25 years of music and many of the artists will perform live at the event.
Scheduled to perform are the bands Impulse Ride, People Who Must and Groove Dogs. Also set to appear are David Bradberry (Debt of Nature, Smile), Marc Tompkins (Hundred Year Sun, Billionaire), Chris Hardy (Nervous Boys, Toast) and Will McCranie. Legendary Augusta rock radio personality Chuck Williams will also appear.
While Cannon has carefully planned this as a celebration of the music that has meant so much to him and others, my expectation is that, at some point during the evening, the tone and timbre of the event will shift. It can’t be helped. You see, while the music is a draw, so is the man behind the curtain. And that is as it should be.
You see, Cannon’s contributions to music in the Augusta area cannot be overstated. His enthusiasm and love, his willingness to promote and push and, most importantly, his willingness to dedicate his life – even during the darkest and most difficult days – to enriching Augusta’s cultural culture is an unmatched, and perhaps unmatchable, legacy. Nowhere is this more evident than the Lexie’s Legacy Foundation and Scholarship. Begun after the death of he and his wife Jean’s daughter, Alexis, in 2008, Lexie’s Legacy provides tuition assistance to married women seeking to further their education.
Augusta, in recent years, has become a city that has learned to look toward the future – a trait to be both admired and fostered. But as important as building toward tomorrow is, it is also important to look back, to recognize and celebrate those that laid the groundwork for the community we might become. It’s important to remember those things we loved and love still, and in Augusta, music will always be an important part of that equation.
Be the late James Brown or the late Desolate James – where we came from will always inform where we are going. Stoney Cannon understands that and I, for one, am more than willing to follow his lead.
Let’s be fans together.
What: 25th annual Lokal Loudness Awards &Concert with Impulse Ride, People Who Must, Groove Dogs, David Bradberry, Marc Tompkins, Chris Hardy, Will McCranie and radio personality Chuck Williams
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10
Where: Metro A Coffee House, 1054 Broad St.
Admission: Free; the first 200 receive a two-disc Lokal Loudness compilation CD