Life is good 👍
I feel like it’s a perfect time to reflect on the recent edition of Atlanta’s Holiday Hootenanny. Each year has surpassed expectations on every level, and with next year being the fifth annual, expect some extra special jams that reach a musical crescendo representing a cornucopia of styles and performed by some of the finest musicians Atlanta and the Southeast has to offer (just like the first four!)! 😳 I will say here that the love and admiration among the artists really makes for an incredible night of music – the sit ins on each set perfect in the moment, no rehearsal necessary (unless you’re Blueground Undergrass and haven’t played together in several years!). It was a pleasure to once again team up with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, and without the support of our sponsors – Mellow Mushroom, Sierra Nevada, Tree Sound Studios, Tree Leaf Music – we would not have been able to pull off this year’s Hootenanny!
Deep Blue Sun kicked it off in grand fashion with special guests abound, featuring special guests abound throughout the set and culminating in a version of “Let It Be” with Papa Mali that rivaled any. They certainly set the bar high for the night, and no one failed to continue raising it through the evening.
Delta Moon did what they do best, entwined by the swampy Delta blues and slithering dual slide to create a groove all their own and keeping the folks wanting more!
Grant Green Jr. captivated the audience with his sincere and soulful performance that soothed the soul and took you away from your worries and had the crowd singing along with him.
Papa Mali returned to the stage for the second time in the four year run of the Holiday Hootenanny and did not let down. Featuring a mesmerizing, almost voodoo style of guitar and vocals combined with some mighty fine interplay with mandolinist Bobby Miller, and backed by his former drummer (currently with Donna the Buffalo) Mark Raudabaugh and Grammy-winner Yonrico Scott (played with EVERYONE), Papa Mali simply left me in my tracks at one point in the performance.
Col. Bruce Hampton never disappoints, and damn did he come through on this fine night! Bringing together a lineup that included the legendary Johnny Knapp on keys and John Hibbert on the saxophone, Bruce created a big band style jam that only the Colonel would be capable. Featuring a horn section, three drummers (including a lil’ fella – Richie Jones’s drum student), two percussion, Kevin Scott on the bass and Papa Mali sitting in, the set was full of surprises when you would expect nothing less.
The night wrapped up with a reunion by one of my favorite groups, Blueground Undergrass. It’s been several years since we had laid eyes on the lineup present for this set, but it was worth the wait! Closing out with their unique and beautiful version of Black Muddy, it was unfortunate that the set was cut short due to time constraints, but just having them present again and enjoying being together was worth every ounce of energy it took to get them to the Holiday Hoot!
Happy Holidays to everyone and I hope that each of you has a Happy New Year!