Pop Rocks

Steven Uhles is a guest entertainment columnist

Turf War succeeds where others struggle

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I have, over the course of the last year or so, occasionally spoken of the former Augusta (now Atlanta-based) band Turf War. I praised some early, albeit rough, recordings. I reported on some of their successes, both significant and small. But most of those mentions were brief and usually associated with some larger theme or story -- and that's a shame. It undervalues not only what this band has accomplished -- finding management, recording, signing with a label, generating buzz at this year's South By Southwest Festival -- but the reasons it has managed to succeed where others have struggled.

Part of the equation is a willingness to do those small things most bands consider more a burden than a responsibility. Turf War is clearly a band that networks, and the result has been the ability to land significant gigs and contacts. Turf War understands that the most public parts of being in a band -- playing shows and writing songs -- represent a very small part of the job of a working musician. Any success the band is currently enjoying is a result of that.

That, and one more thing.

Turf War might be the most honest rock act Augusta has ever produced.

There's no affectation in a Turf War tune, not aping of influences or shaping songs and sound in the interest of sounding commercial. What Turf War seems to understand is that rock music was built on a foundation of honesty, that the best bands, the acts people continue to connect with, don't necessarily have a particular guitar tone or vocal timbre. The secret weapon those acts, including Turf War, wield is a sense of authenticity, or natural earnestness.

Listen to a Turf War tune and there's never a sense that it's a performance. It always feels like truth. That's rock and roll.

A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS. It's almost April and you know what that means, right? It's time to start thinking about Christmas.

The 12 Bands organization is getting an early start on the event that, locally speaking, has been the most visible representation of the nonprofit's good works -- the 12 Bands of Christmas Concert and CD. This year, they are asking local acts to eschew the long library list of established holiday chestnuts (roasting over an open fire or otherwise) and submit an original tune suitable for the season. Don't worry about booking serious studio time for the selection process -- the songs will all be rerecorded at a later date. Organizers just want an idea of what the song can be -- a sonic sketch, as it were.

The organization is getting ready to kick off its inaugural 12 Bands 12 Kids Raffle. As artists are matched with young cancer patients, memorabilia is donated for a star-supplied raffle. Items include a guitar signed by the Eagles and a fiddle signed by this month's 12 Bands artist -- Charlie Daniels.

My sources tell me the fiddle is not, in fact, made of gold. Evidently it takes more than a raffle ticket to get one of those. Tickets go on sale next month, and winners will be announced at the December concert.

Duncan's match

The 12 Bands/12 Kids fundraising campaign for March has Charlie Daniels paired with Duncan Johnson. Check out Duncan's story at www.12bands.org.

The organization will be selling raffle tickets for chances to win items donated by artists, including a Charlie Daniels fiddle.


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