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U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Athens Music Scene

Athens is most well known as the home of University of Georgia, which was the original attraction that the city was built upon. In the 2010 Census the Athens-Clarke County metropolitan population was approaching 200,000. In 2011 nearly a third of the population lived below the poverty line. Corey Smith is from Athens and has gained national attention after giving away music free and generating millions of dollars from live shows. The history of the Athens music scene has included R.E.M., The B-52's, Indigo Girls, Matthew Sweet, Widespread Panic, Danger Mouse, Dream So Real and Bubba Sparxxx. The local scene is covered by The Athens Banner-Herald and Flagpole Magazine.

Perpetual Groove is a rock band fronted by Brock Butler with other 12,000 fans on ReverbNation. Keyboardist/Songwriter John Hruby joined the lineup on their fourth album, Heal, which was produced by David Barbe, who also produced Cracker and Drive-by-Truckers.

Sumilan offers an ambient rock sound that mixes electronical, funk, metal and jazz. Their distinct melodies make their songs stand out, as in the cases of "Shishka" and "Home." The band has performed beyond the Athens scene in places such as Atlanta and Columbia.

Albatross * Anik Gem * Aundrielle * Ben Stevens * Bennett Unknown * Cencere Lattimore * Chromazone * Citizen Green * Chris Ezelle * Corey Smith * Damian Churchwell * Dodd Ferrell * Drive By Truckers * Dubconscious * Electric Lou * 5th Wheel * Fleet Machine * Humms * JazzChronic * Julian Drive * Lera Lynn * Marty Winkler * Monahan * New Sneakers * Packway Handle Band * Perpetual Groove * Sumilan * Survive The Sky! * Unstoppable4ce * Vanilla Ape * Warm Fuzzies *

Athens Local Music Scene History

Memories of the local scene were documented in the 2020 book Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia Launched Alternative Music and Changed Culture by Grace Elizabeth Hale. The author reflected on her time running a venue called Downstairs from 1987 to 1991. At the time she played in her own band called Cordy Lon. She now teaches history at the University of Virginia. The book reflects on the development of Athens bands such as The B-52's and R.E.M.

The 17th annual Athens Music Festival was held Saturday, August 15, 2015 at various music venues, featuring 30 local music performances on six stages. Some of the venues included Jackie O's Pub & Brewery, ARTS/West, Casa Cantina and Donkey Coffee. Proceeds for the event went to the Gathering Place, Athens Rock Camp for Girls and the Bryan Winland Memorial Arts & Music Scholarship.

While admission tickets ranged from $5-8, free performances were held at ARTS/West. The event, which is patterned after Austin's SXSW Music Convention, has been going on since 1999 every summer. Acts for the 2015 festival included J.D. Hutchinson, The D-Rays, Laura Nadeau, The Gatherers and The Summoners. is a website that covers the local scene by providing links to several bands, venues and recording studios. The site lists upcoming shows. Some of the venues listed on the site include Arts West, Broney's, Brown Town, Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina, Donkey Coffee & Espresso, Jackie O's Pub & Brew, Red Brick Tavern, Smiling Skull Saloon and the Union Bar and Grill.

The Flagpole Athens Music Awards is an annual local music awards event presented by Flagpole, a locally owned cultural magazine and website. The free weekly print edition is available at over 300 locations in the Northeast Georgia region. The publications pays particular close attention to the happenings at the University of Georgia campus.

Corey Smith: Label the Singer a Success on His Own Terms
by J. Freedom du Lac, The Washington Post
. This article reveals how an alterative country singer created a music empire that generates millions of dollars from live shows without the help of a label or radio airplay. Corey Smith made it on his own by crafting a repertoire of storyteller songs with wide appeal and doing frequent live shows.

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