Remember music videos? I was raised on them. We don't see as many now, and those we do see are often excuses to show off rented Bentleys and bling. So it's nice to see that Augusta band the Edison Project has produced a video of a heretofore unreleased (for the most part) tune. The clip, produced by John Kolbeck, a fine musician in his own right, features the band chilling (not in a street way - they just look cold) in pastoral settings. The song is Dark Skies Over Eva, a great ballad written after the release of its 2007 album, Do You Remember Rock & Roll. Not only are there some lovely shots in the piece, but it's a great opportunity for Edison to get a song out there that deserves a larger audience. Check it out on youtube.com. Just go to the main page and type in Dark Skies Over Eva. It's worth the effort, and is 100 percent Bentley-free.
WILLIE NEWS, PART ONE
Quietly and with a refreshing lack of pretension, the folks at Thomson's Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival have developed their afternoon of woman-done-me-wrong songs into one of the premier events on the music calendar. The lineup for this year's festival was recently announced, and it is all killer and no filler. The concert, which takes place May 9, will feature Georgia-born Rolling Stone Chuck Leavell, Nashville legend Buddy Miller and Mr. Leavell's former Sea Level co-conspirator Randall Bramblett. Also scheduled are former Howlin' Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin joined by Muddy Waters drummer Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, Chatham County Line and Thomson's own Crosstie Walkers. Tickets will be $20 and go on sale in April. This might be the biggest bang-for-buck bill of the year. See www.blindwillie.com.
Willie news,part two
I had about given up on seeing a copy of Will McCranie's oft-promised double EP. My copy, nicely personalized by Mr. McCranie, hit my mailbox Monday morning.
Mr. McCranie's change of scenery (he now lives in New York City) seems to have done him a world of good. While the second of the two EPs, dubbed South, is fine, as good or better than anything Mr. McCranie had released thus far, it's the tunes he has recorded in New York that really shine.
Mr. McCranie has always been a talented guitar player and had a winning way with the wistful lyric, but these newer tracks show his growth as both a songwriter and arranger. I've always believe that Mr. McCranie is an artist better served by being in a band (John Kruger is another local example of the phenomenon).
The songs on North (Get it? North and South? Cute.) prove my point. They are smart, catchy and self-assured.
Clearly, fighting for cabs has done a world of good for Mr. McCranie's confidence.
I'm particularly fond of You&Me, Maybe. Mr. McCranie is planning a return to old turf, officially launching North/South in Augusta sometime in the early spring.
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
By the time this edition hits the stands, Augusta drummer Brian Allen will probably be a father for the third time. He and his wife, Tracy Steele, both of whom play with Joe Graves and the Dirty Left Hand, are expecting a son. Happy Birthday, Isaac, and congratulations, Brian and Tracy.
In sadder news, I'd like to comment on the passing of Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboard player Billy Powell. I interviewed Mr. Powell in 2000 and remembered him commenting on the popularity of Freebird. He told me he still loved playing the band's signature song every night, but would "give everyone in the audience a dollar" if he could skip Gimme Three Steps.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.