Monthly Archives: May 2014

Nashville: Music City

Great music in Nashville tonight.  Nashville, GEORGIA, that is.

LIVE from the Nashville (Georgia) Women's Club.
Kyle Keller and friends LIVE from the Nashville (Georgia) Women’s Club.

Nashville is a small town 25 miles northeast of Valdosta, Georgia.  The only venue there for live music is the Nashville Women’s Club building, hidden behind the fast food restaurants that line the main drag.

First up tonight was Kyle Keller on guitar, accompanied by Jack Lindsey on bass and Dallas Stone on harmonica.  Kyle has an extensive playbook of original songs, with heartwarming lyrics that speak of a wisdom beyond his 20 years.  The song that urges us to show people that we love them NOW, don’t wait until tomorrow because “tomorrow won’t wait for you” brought tears to this Old Lady’s eyes.  Kyle and his friends head out for Amelia Island tomorrow to do some street performing, or “busking” which he says is a word he doesn’t use much because most people don’t know what it means anymore.

John Weeks
John Weeks

John Weeks then played solo, acoustic rhythm guitar.  He’s just off tour with Machinist and Dying Whale and very happy to be back on acoustic.  Find him on Facebook at John Weeks Plays.  He has t-shirts and CDs, man!

Balloon Assembly Line
Balloon Assembly Line

Last up was Balloon Assembly Line, the latest band with Kelby Clark and Kyle Keller (the two made up The Witness) along with Derek Barkalow on drums.

This is a fine band with a unique sound.  Instead of the Old Lady struggling to describe their music, go to where you can hear a sample.  There’s more on the web that you can listen to for FREE; just search Balloon Assembly Line.  Sorry, but you won’t get an opportunity to hear them live for awhile; drummer Derek Barkalow is off to Fort Benning to complete Army Basic Training.

Georgia is so often the butt of jokes to the rest of the country (and the world!), south Georgia in particular.  Before you write us off as hicks, check out the bands with the hot new licks!  These young musicians deserve your ears!



Farm Daze

Every first and third Saturday of the summer months are Farm Days on the Historic Courthouse Square in Valdosta, Georgia.

Farmer Coody and his produce
Farmer Coody and his produce

Local farmers and producers of farm products, like the Coody family, pitch their tents and display their wares, all at well-below-grocery store prices.

Some of these products you can’t even buy in the grocery store, like GG’s Sugared Peppers, jalapeno peppers preserved in a secret spicy-sweet sauce that will raise your eyebrows and knock your socks off.

Where else will you see a giant cabbage proudly displayed like a fine sculpture?

Passerby poses with the Giant Cabbage
Passerby poses with the Giant Cabbage

Farm Days is where you can buy fresh Georgia pecans by the pound from Cindy and Jerry Quick, owners of Clover Pecan Company.  The Quicks grow their own pecans on a farm located in a remote area of south Georgia far from any major highways, cities, and factories.  Their trees breathe clean country air, drink water from their own natural spring-fed pond, and are fertilized by the nitrogen-fixing red clover planted around the trees.   They are as close to organic as any pecans you can buy.  Then the Quicks hand-package the shelled nuts in rustic little burlap bags screen-printed with the Clover Pecan Company logo.

Cindy & Jerry Quick at the Clover Pecan Company booth
Cindy & Jerry Quick at the Clover Pecan Company booth

“Pecans are the healthiest nuts on the planet and contain more antioxidants than walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, peanuts or cashews,” explains Cindy.

You can order these pecans online, at

Nut-tritious, de-licious, high-quality food at an affordable price.

Look for the Quicks, the Coodys, GG, and many other locals at the next Farm Day.




The ASSBar Hits Another Home Run

The Old Lady’s favorite dive bar, Ashley Street Station, has done it again.

A live local show.  The music the Old Lady lives to hear.

Scott Clark and Jen Anders
Scott Clark and Jen Anders

Opening act:  Valdosta natives Jen Anders and Scott Clark.  Jen has a voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin, without the screaming.  Scott Clark on U-Bass (Ukelele Bass) is the perfect backup man.  They’re headed next to St. Simons and Brunswick, on the southern Georgia coastline area known as the Golden Isles of Georgia.  They’ll be playing the Georgia Sea Island Festival on June 7 & 8.  Watch for them!  Listen to the Old Lady!

Another nice thing at the ASSBar is that the TVs are always playing the Braves game.  TV worth watching, while you wait for the next band to set up.

Big Shoals
Big Shoals

Tonight’s headliner was Big Shoals, and this was the CD release party.  Big Shoals started with a bang: the first number was ROCKING in that old-time country hard rock style, and a couple took to the floor with some moves that left the Old Lady breathless!


Big Shoals went on to exhibit a variety of styles, all excellent.  You can hear the entire album on Spotify at

But the CD isn’t as good as hearing Big Shoals live.

The band is from Gainesville but the lead singer/guitar, Lance Howell, is from Valdosta.  So let’s support this hometown boy, V-Town!   This is your opportunity to be able to say “Wow, man, I saw them live at Ashley Street Station!” someday when you can’t even afford tickets to see them at a major venue in Atlanta or Tampa.  Don’t you think the Old Lady loves to be able to say “I first saw the Allman Brothers live FOR FREE in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on a Saturday afternoon in the late sixties.  I was the little hippie chick in yellow hightop Converse sneakers sitting on top of the stone pillar beside the steps where they performed!”

Buy the CD!  Check out Big Shoals live!  SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC!  Listen to the Old Lady!







Messages Through Time


Driving through central Georgia on Highway 19 south of Thomaston, the Old Lady saw a sign: “Auchumpkee Covered Bridge” with an arrow pointing to the left. The Old Lady turned left onto the unmarked side road and kept going until she found the bridge.
The sight is worth the side trip.

Auchumpkee Creek Bridge
Auchumpkee Creek Bridge

The last covered bridge in Upson County and one of only sixteen or eighteen (depending on which source you trust) left in the state of Georgia, the wooden span over Auchumpkee Creek is a fine piece of work.  The trusses are connected, not with iron nails, but with wooden pegs.  The restoration work has been meticulous and historically accurate.  The park-like setting is lovely.

Of course, there is graffiti inside the bridge.  You cannot get away from these modern versions of the ancient art of petroglyphs, and why would you want to?  Whether you consider these inscriptions to be defacement or adornment, graffiti is a custom that is as old as mankind.  It is as valid an art form as the cave paintings that date from the Stone Age.  Just because the artists now use Sharpie pens instead of chisels, that is no reason to scorn this type of communication.

The one that caught the Old Lady’s eye:

DSCF3608And on another board nearby:


The Old Lady mused on these messages as she drove away, writing and rewriting the story in her head.  Did the marriage take place?  Was the writer a child of “Momma & Dada”, perhaps the offspring of a common-law union that finally was to be legitimized, or perhaps a child of one of the couple, a child who was welcoming the gift of a step-parent?

Archaeologists ponder cave paintings and rock carvings.  The Old Lady ponders graffiti.

Is there really any difference?




Snake Wall


When the Old Lady migrates south she always stops at her very favorite rest stop, the one on I-75 just south of Gainesville, Florida.  She likes to visit the Snake Wall.

The Tail of the Snake
The Tail of the Snake

She walks up through the picnic area on the concrete sidewalk until she comes to the Tail of the Snake.  Then she starts up a long rampway that rises as the hill falls away, twisting around so as to give a panoramic view of Paynes Prarie Preserve.

The rest stop sits on the very edge of Paynes Prairie, and from there I-75 cuts across the wide wetland.  From the rampway high on the hill the full extent of the Prairie can be seen and appreciated.

The rampway is built in the shape of a Florida Queen Snake, with the top end of it being the head overlooking two smaller walls that make the snake’s forked tongue.

The Old Lady says: "Snake speaks with forked tongue."
The Old Lady says: “Snake speaks with forked tongue.”

You can’t really tell that you are standing on a Snake Wall, but there is an aerial picture near the restrooms to show you the full sculpture.  You can even see the “bunny bump” in the middle, a wider place that expresses that this Snake has just eaten something… or somebody.

Snake Wall, from above
Snake Wall, from above

The Snake Wall has two purposes.  Yes, it’s a neat idea combining an overlook with sculpture.  But the Snake Wall is also designed to keep poisonous snakes from coming out of Paynes Prairie and into the rest stop area.  It is an impervious barrier to serpents that might endanger unwary travelers stretching their legs before continuing their automotive journey.  It provides an opportunity for a good look at the habitat of so many creatures, while keeping the most dangerous of them at bay.

Next time you drive into Florida, check out the Snake Wall.



Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane


A blast from the past in the form of the Jukebox Oldies Band wound up the week-long Brown Bag Concert Series on the Historic Courthouse Square in downtown Valdosta, Georgia.

This band is a hoot!

Appropriately kicking off their set with “This Magic Moment” from the Drifters, the six guys in blue jeans and white polo shirts proceeded to provide Magic Moments for every taste as they offered hits from the fifties and sixties and beyond.  Their good old “boy group” harmonies took the Old Lady back to her childhood listening to WQXI-AM “Quixie in Dixie” in Atlanta when Atlanta was still just a town.  And the downtown Valdosta crowd loved’em.


The guys are no spring chickens… well, neither is the Old Lady!… two of them are Professors of Economics at Valdosta State University (VSU), one has been a Lowndes County Commissioner as well as VSU Dean of Students, one is a longtime local lawyer, and the singer is “unemployed and on relief.”



The Searchers’ “Love Potion #9” – at Southwest High School in Atlanta the Old Lady had a friend who played this tune on his viola, in the style of a torch song.

Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” –  last time the Old Lady heard this live was from Procol Harum itself, at the old Sports Arena in Atlanta, circa 1974.  The Old Lady got there on an Atlanta Transit Authority bus; this was before MARTA, kids.

James Brown’s “I Feel Good” – who HASN’T boogied to the Godfather of Soul at one time or another???

The Tams’ “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” – hey, the Old Lady figures two outta three ain’t bad.

You can hear the Jukebox Oldies Band Saturday, May 17, 2014 starting at 6 p.m. in Hahira, Georgia, “behind City Hall” and near some pizza joint.  Don’t give the Old Lady that puzzled look; Hahira’s not that big a metropolis, just drive out there and you’ll find them; NO EXCUSES, DON’T BE A WIMP.

They’ve got out a CD and you can find them on Facebook.  Find them!  Buy the CD!  Go enjoy them live!

SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC!  Listen to the Old Lady!

Sundance Jenkins

Sundance Jenkins
Sundance Jenkins

The Old Lady has a new favorite band.

She happened to be in downtown Valdosta at lunchtime and caught Sundance Jenkins performing on the courthouse square as part of the weeklong Brown Bag Concert Series.

The gum-chewing front guy in the Hawaiian shirt said “We only do love songs.  Well, other than our Michael Bolton set.  We celebrate his entire catalog!”  Then he added, “Seriously, we’re gonna do a little of this a little of that.”  Boy howdy, didn’t they!

This band ranges from country to rock to rockabilly to funk.  They played one tune with a really Goth heavy metal beat.  They are all over the place, and they are GREAT at ALL of it!  They OWNED that Wenger Showmobile provided by the Valdosta Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority!

Terry Chitwood can flat freakin' PLAY!
Terry Chitwood can flat freakin’ PLAY!

Terry Chitwood, the lead guitar, the man who seldom sang and never spoke, is HOT.  The man sports bifocals, a graying goatee, armfuls of tattoos, and the man can flat freakin’ play.  He blew the Old Lady away on their cover of Dire Straights’ Sultans of Swing.  He sizzled on Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive.   That Goth heavy metal tune?  The Old Lady can’t put her finger on the title, but it hit her demographic dead center.  She repeats: the man can flat freakin’ PLAY!

And lest she forget, the Old Lady would like to reminisce fondly on Sundance Jenkins’ segue from Play That Funky Music White Boy into Superstitious into Rapper’s Delight: OMG you had to be there!  A barefooted not-so-young lady dressed all in bright yellow got up and boogied unashamedly, and the Old Lady nodded with understanding.

You can hear some sample tunes by this band at but if you have the sense God gave a goose you’ll plan to catch them live; they are consummate showpeople and know how to structure a set!  The aforementioned Terry Chitwood, Mark Swift, Kelsey Stone, Mark Praine, and H. Aaron Strickland have all been around the block a few times and this is NOT their first rodeo.  They’ll give you more than an Eight Second Ride as the Jake Owen song says, and by the way their cover does it more than justice.

Check’em out at Mulligan’s in Remerton, Georgia (part of Valdosta) on Friday, May 9, 2014; at the Cypress Grill in Cordele, Georgia on Saturday, May 10, 2014; at Lucky’s in Remerton on Saturday, May 24, 2014; or Rascal’s in Lake Park, Georgia, on Friday, June 13, 2014.  There are maps for all these gigs on their website so don’t give the Old Lady any whiny “I didn’t know how to find the place” excuses.

Go see Sundance Jenkins live!  SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC!  Listen to the Old Lady!



The Vast Wasteland

TV set

In a previous life, the Old Lady worked in a television newsroom.

The newsbiz changed.  Celebrity journalism and dirty laundry took the lead.  The Old Lady’s boss knew she wouldn’t go with the new trend, so he moved her out of News and into Community Affairs.  “Community affairs?” she said, “Why don’t we just start with dinner and a movie, and see what develops?”

But she loved it.  Public service was her main goal even while in the newsroom, so it worked for her and kept her writing for television for five more years.

Then she got fed up, and left.

Now the Old Lady doesn’t even own a TV set.

But recently, she happened to be around a TV set and happened to see an openly gay man (Neil Patrick Harris) being interviewed by a self-outed lesbian (Robin Roberts) on GMA.  He was explaining to her how his children felt about his playing the lead role of a transgendered person in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH on Broadway.

And suddenly, the Old Lady felt more hopeful about the present state of American broadcasting.

Old Pros and Hungry Youngsters

Joe Smothers
Joe Smothers

The Old Lady took a notion to go out on the town tonight.

She wanted to hear Joe Smothers at the 306 North Restaurant in Valdosta, Georgia, where she first heard him play about a year ago.

A year ago, when her only writing gig was a freebie for a street rag called the Glass Onion, when she was so poor she couldn’t even buy herself a drink but sat at the bar hoping the bartenders were too busy to notice her.  And they were.  And Joe Smothers, playing acoustic guitar, sang a medley of Simon and Garfunkel tunes which included I Am a Rock.  And for the Old Lady, forty-five years melted away and she remembered that isolated, miserable teenager, alone in her room, listening to that album over and over.  And she wept.

Joe is such an old pro.  He remembered.  Tonight he played I Am a Rock again, but now the Old Lady can buy herself a glass of wine and smile nostalgically.  What a difference a year makes.

Joe went on to play The Sounds of Silence.  At one time, the Old Lady was convinced that T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is the greatest poem of the twentieth century.  She has now come to believe that The Love Song is the greatest poem of the first part of the twentieth century; The Sounds of Silence is the greatest poem of the last part of the twentieth century.  The greatest poem of the twenty-first century?  It is yet to be written.

Bryan Cathey
Bryan Cathey

The Old Lady then moved up the street to the Bleu Café, where Bryan Cathey was singing along with his acoustic guitar.  Just as the Old Lady sat down, Bryan mentioned his tip jar… and the Old Lady, ever attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, felt moved to put money in said tip jar.  Bryan proceeded to play an acoustic cover of I Will Survive, the old disco hit, and it struck a chord with the Old Lady as she gave thanks for her survival to this point and prayed for the survival of this young musician.

Bryan plays acoustic but he has an intensity that is compelling.  He played All the Single Ladies and the Beatles’ All My Lovin’ with all the heart and soul of a hungry youngster.

This is the good stuff.  The old pros… and the hungry youngsters.