Bio Write-ups

Formerly of The Lovell Sisters, LARKIN POE combines storytelling with folk and Americana into a very unique and lovely sound. Sisters, 19 and 20, the name Larkin Poe came from their great-great-great grandfather; their music, totally their own. Classically trained on violin and piano, they are joined by three other musicians and are celebrating their newly released, debut album and have quickly lined up tour dates through the end of the year. Larkin Poe has opened for acts such as Brandi Carlile and The Indigo Girls, played on the well-known Cayamo Cruise, and have gigs booked in Europe this summer. Seemingly stuff of fairy tales, Larkin Poe is instead made up of hard work and talent, making this show one you don’t want to miss.

ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS AND THEIR FINE GROUP says they’re like your next door neighbors – down home, real, comfortable. This married couple combines bluegrass, folk, acoustic and country into an act that has played the stages of The Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits, and A Prairie Home Companion. The Washington Post has said that they can “sum up a life in a few details with moving completeness.” Their Fine Group is comprised of several world class musicians who can play the you–know-what out of the mandolin and fiddle. Any show with Robin and Linda Williams will be a good one; you’ll hear entertaining banter, amazing music, well-crafted songs and true personality.

Born in New York and raised in the south, ALEXA WOODWARD has created a mix of music which has placed her in the elite musical category with Gillian Welch, Joanna Newsom, and Neko Case. Her sounds are haunting yet familiar, as if this transplanted southerner is creating all new sounds out of what she has seen. Alexa plays the banjo, and released an album last year, and most if not all reviews said the same thing: her melodies are strong, her songs well-written, but what takes the cake and makes her albums and live shows worth seeing and hearing is her voice.

JOSH JOPLIN delivers a perfect mix of wit, candor, irreverence, sneaky wordplay and fervent exuberance, all the while harnessing artful yet undeniable melodies and hooks that stay with you. Josh has Woody Guthrie’s gift of storytelling, a swagger like Elvis Costello and Michael Stipe, but a tune all his own. Josh was once an Atlanta resident and Attic regular back in the 90’s, but he now resides in New York City. You might remember his song ‘Camera One’ which was at the top of the Billboard Top 40 chart in 2001 and was used in the hit TV show, ‘Scrubs.’

Seeing extreme commercial success with first album Nothing Left to Lose, MAT KEARNEY returns with a sophomore effort that surpasses his first album and takes him to new heights. While Nothing Left to Lose was, admittedly, acoustic and filled with words, both sung and rapped, City of Black and White gives the listener a simpler approach. With lyrics inspired by his three-year long traveling lifestyle, Kearney sings of loss and missing those he loves, and learning to deal with the new life he was suddenly handed. Kearney plays more piano and electric guitar; he says, of the lyrics, “I was also listening to a lot of early U2 and Tom Petty, and songwriters like Randy Newman to try to figure out how they could be so concise and profound at the same time. If the last record was more stream-of-consciousness with lots of words and images, City of Black & White feels intentional and refined, attempting to be classic as well as grandiose. I didn’t want to hold anything back.” He indeed does not hold anything back, and City of Black and White is a stellar follow-up, showing that Kearney is moving in the right musical direction.

JOE PUG was a senior in college before he realized what he wanted to do with his life – and it wasn’t what he’d spent the last four years in college doing. He promptly packed his car, drove to Chicago, and spent the next few months doing odd jobs and recording his first album. Success soon followed, as did tours with Josh Ritter, M. Ward, and Steve Earle. He played music festivals and individual shows, driving his own car to his different gigs. He is touring in support of his second album, Messenger; fans of James Taylor and Bob Dylan will enjoy Joe Pug’s music.

CHATHAM COUNTY LINE is careful to not be pigeon-holed as a bluegrass band. Their legendary Chapel Hill producer Chris Stamey says, “They’ve used bluegrass as a jumping off point, a vernacular through which to access all that is roots music, be that gospel, country, rock or pop. That’s American music and they are an American band. The band was spawned at Raleigh, NC’s infamous Blue House, when Dave met high-school friends Chandler Holt and John Teer. A long-standing crash pad for Raleigh bands like Corrosion of Conformity, the house had been the scene of sunrise jam sessions for years. They are touring in support of their 4th release “IV.”

PIERRE BENSUSAN is a French-Algerian guitarist whose music is often characterized as Celtic, folk, world music, new age, or chamber jazz. He has a reputation as something of an innovator in the field of solo acoustic guitar, including his use of the DADGAD tuning system, and his experimentation with electronics such as delays, distortions and volume pedals, which have been largely abandoned on recent tours. Stylistically, his playing exhibits remarkable dynamics and tone control, usually to be found only in the playing of high-profile classical guitarists. Often referred to as the “Mozart of Guitar,” Bensusan is considered a virtuoso player by other virtuosos, including Michael Hedges, who wrote a piece for Bensusan. His new album, “Vividly”, is set to be released in late October.

Texas born JAY BRANNAN knew from an early age that he didn’t really want to fit in with those surrounding him. He pursued a degree in acting from the University of Cincinnati, but soon realized that real life can sometimes be a better teacher than any you’d find at a college. He’s lived in California and New York, playing his music and writing songs and even dabbling in some acting along the way. He has released three albums, two of original music and one of cover songs and has played shows in Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, and Australia, among others. The New York Times said “…his tenor voice makes even the saddest lyrics easy on the ear.” He has been called “the male Joni Mitchell” by Gen Art Pulse, and The Huffington Post proclaimed “Perhaps if Nick Drake, Janis Ian and Liz Phair all were mixed up in a blender you’d get his sound and songwriting skills.”

Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins call themselves GRANVILLE AUTOMATIC, and have spent the last year writing nearly 50 songs. They are influenced by Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Emmylou Harris, and The Cowboy Junkies, and they take these musical influences and combine them with their own interests of history, storms, horses and heartache. The result is a soon to be released album full of lyrical songs, more stories than song, actually, and the weaving of these two girls charming vocals. As individuals, Vanessa and Elizabeth have both been successful in the music industry – Vanessa had a hand in Sugarland’s Enjoy the Ride album, wrote and recorded a hit song in Canada, and was a finalist on the second season of American Idol. Elizabeth won the John Lennon songwriting contest and has been featured at BMI showcases in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Nashville; she has also had her songs featured on TV’s Smallville, Rescue Me, Jersey Shore, and CNN. Together, they are an unstoppable force.

Within the first 20 seconds of listening to the first song off her new album Hello, you will fall in love with TRISTAN PRETTYMAN. Catchy hooks, solid beats and slide guitar all contribute to Prettyman’s unique sound. Hello is her sophomore effort; she has graduated from writing “bright, breezy ditties about romantic bliss” to a more grown up, serious sound, a sound which calls to mind Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, or Bonnie Raitt. She has toured with Ray LaMontagne, G. Love and Special Sauce, Chris Issac and Jason Mraz, and you will not want to miss her as she graces the Attic stage tonight.

JOE GRANSDEN was originally a trumpet playing man from Yonkers, New York, but recently he discovered that his own voice was a welcome addition to his instrument. Hailing from a musical family, Joe cultivated his love of music when his father took him along to jam sessions. “Early on I developed a respect for individuals like my father whose lives revolved around music. While I was still in high school, I knew that music was the life I would choose.” In the 20 or so years since that discovery, Joe has released seven albums and plays shows steadily around the Atlanta area. His latest release, Plays and Sings, showcases Joe’s love of old jazz and standards, containing both covered and original songs.

FIVE EIGHT has endured drama that is Behind the Music worthy. Problematic record deals, death, divorce, drugs, depression – yet, five eight didn’t let the quadruple-d threat get them down. They have released eight albums, two of which are only available on cassette, and have plans to release a ninth CD this year. They have toured with REM and performed with Cheap Trick, The Ramones, Cracker, and Seven Mary Three. They’re an Athens band, through and through, and if you like punk, rock, or indie music, with the awesome Athens twist, then you’re sure to like Five Eight.

TELEGRAM is a Decatur-based band comprised of three Georgia boys who, in turn, combine indie, rock, and jazz into All the World Asleep Tonight, their first album, and Sessions at 800 East, their new project. The songs on each album are all jam band worthy, songs that draw you in and make you want to sit on the porch with a glass of wine and just listen. This is a band doing things their way, and it shows when you listen to their songs. Fans of the Black Keys will enjoy this band.

A FIGHT TO THE DEATH is one of those bands. You know the ones…they categorize themselves as Americana, Western Swing, and Lounge. One show, instead of an opening band, they fostered a discussion on organic farming. They wear suits, ties, and the occasional bowler hat or fedora on stage. Yet, their music is oddly alluring. You want to sit down and listen more, just because it’s so interesting, so unlike anything you’ve really heard before. Flagpole Athens agrees. “”…an array of accordions, honky-tonk pianos, and Romanian rhythms, sun-stroked telecasters supply the album’s cinematic ether, electing the group as the most likely candidate to have scored the notoriously soundtrack-barren No Country for Old Men.”

It all started with a strong dislike of nap time, circa kindergarten. Texas-born, Brooklyn-bread and Berklee College of Music educated, CARRIE RODRIGUEZ first picked up her signature fiddle in kindergarten, instead of sleeping the afternoon away. What followed seemed magically influenced by the musical gods and aimed Rodriguez straight into the middle of the alt-country world. Legend Lyle Lovett invited Rodriguez to join him and his band for a sound check one evening in Cleveland; singer/songwriter Chip Taylor became her duet and songwriting partner; Lucinda Williams sang backup on Rodriguez’s album and later invited Rodriguez to open for her. Honest and introspective, detailed but simple, “She Ain’t Me”, Rodriguez’s second album, is a personal journey about being alone and the questions one asks when there is no one to see but oneself. And her new album, Love and Circumstance, boasts songs co-written by everyone from M. Ward, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, and her own dad, David Rodriguez. With songs like this, Rodriguez is sure to be around for years to come.

MICHAEL O’CONNOR has no interest in fame; he’s made that clear. Instead of writing songs for a label, punching out mediocre songs every year and a half because he has to, Michael writes because he loves to. Making music seems to be what this man is meant to do. However, this doesn’t mean he can’t hold his own in the fast world of fame. He has played alongside talent such as Slaid Cleaves, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Adam Carroll, Susan Gibson and Terri Hendrix. He is the go-to man for some songwriters, helping them out in the studio, resulting in beautiful songs of every genre. He has almost four records of his own, each of them filled with country, alt-rock, folk and bluegrass. This Texas musician wants nothing more than to do what he loves, without all that fame fluff. And he’s lucky enough to be able to do it.

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