Pop rocks

LARRY JON'S A DRAG (CITY ARTIST)

Here's one I did not see coming. I knew that Augusta artist Larry Jon Wilson had a new self-titled album, his first in nearly 30 years. I knew it had been released in Europe, with some success and acclaim. I figured it would find a label here.

What I didn't expect is that Drag City, the Chicago-based bastion of indie rock, would find favor with Mr. Wilson's soft Southern story songs.

But what do I know?

I mean, I love Larry Jon's music and have loved many of the Drag City releases. I was particularly partial to the label's work with the late, great Pavement. I just never imagined that those two sides of my musical personality would ever find common ground.

With his reaching a deal with Drag City, Mr. Wilson's American fans now have the opportunity to hear how well he has aged as a performer. I loved the ''outlaw'' records he recorded in the '70s, but this version of Larry Jon Wilson, the singer of songs, is far more compelling and affecting. The tunes, whether written by him or artists such as Mickey Newberry, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, reveal the sort of musical depth and understanding that comes only with experience and years.

The news release sent out by Drag City compares the release to late career work by Johnny Cash. I believe that's disingenuous. Larry Jon Wilson is an artist with a style and sense of musical storytelling that defies comparison. It doesn't sound like Cash or Kris Kristofferson or any of the other outlaw artists Mr. Wilson was somewhat unjustly lumped in with early in his career. It sounds like the life of Larry Jon, and that's beautiful.

LEXIE'S LASTING LEGACY

The Lexie's Legacy Scholarship fund, founded in memory of Alexis Noelle Colohan-Cannon Hayworth, daughter of local musician John "Stoney" Cannon, has reached endowment status. That means enough money has been raised to keep the scholarship fund, which awards grants to married women seeking a college education, going in perpetuity. It's a fitting tribute to Alexis and her family, immediate and musical.

It says a great deal about the musicians in this town that in a relatively short time, thanks in no small part to their efforts and contributions, this endowment has gotten up and running. I know Stoney and his wonderful wife, Jean, are grateful.

GEORGIA THEATRE FIRE

I walked into the office last Friday to learn that the Georgia Theatre, one of the great bastions of rock in Athens, was ablaze. Early reports gave the building, which has put on shows by R.E.M. and the B-52s, little chance of survival. For the most part, those early reports proved true.

Though some of the exterior walls still stand, the roof and interior are a loss. Does this spell the end for one of the state's more notable, and certainly quirky, venues?

Perhaps not.

Fans of the theater's live music, upstairs bar and mysteriously sticky floors are already mustering, working to raise funds and awareness. I know that Augusta-bred act Dead Confederate has already played a benefit in its adopted hometown of Athens with the Whigs.

The show took place Tuesday at the Melting Point.

Last week, I wrote that the Georgia Theatre was probably gone forever. This week I think perhaps I spoke too soon.

I'm not sure what form it will take or how they will get that endearing stickiness back on the floor, but it looks like, thanks to a state full of fans, the Georgia might rock once more.

Here's hoping.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

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