It’s hard to believe that months have passed since the band last performed and even harder to comprehend how much our lives have changed. The past few years have found ARS busier than the band has been since the early 80’s, such an abrupt halt to performing has come as quite a shock to us all in so many ways.
Due to our “classic rock” status every one of us has been taking the threat of Covid very seriously and doing our part by lying low to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We are fortunate to be able to do that and are relieved to report that everyone in the ARS camp has remained symptom free and our families continue getting along.
As they say, “the show must go on”. Most of us depend on our income earned from working with ARS. All of us truly live to make music. Unfortunately, as much as we look forward to getting back to work it is certainly now not without trepidation. Getting to meet the people in our audiences has always been a highlight of our journey and one of the best parts of our job. We will unfortunately not be as available at our upcoming shows but can assure you that we hope that this will soon change back to the “old” normal.
We are ready to head to one of our favorite places, Rocky Mount, Virginia. We will be playing an outdoor show for one of our favorite venues, The Harvester Performance Center, July 25. Did we mention it has been a long time since we played? As weird as things have been, it’s even weirder to hope that not too many people show up, because capacity and seating will be very limited.
Special thanks go to Gary and everyone involved at the Harvester for striving to keep live-music alive. They have been working diligently creating an outdoor venue at Rocky Mount Farmers Market to accommodate the current situation. The Performance Center is such a great room we’ll really miss playing on that stage but we are very confident this is going to be another great show in beautiful Western Virginia. The Harvester has continually been one of the most well run venues we visit and we have always enjoyed our trips to this cool little town in the hills.
ARS has had to postpone many shows this year including trips to Ohio, California and the Northeast. Please keep an eye out for these dates to be rescheduled. It has been a very difficult time for so many. Live music venues are suffering financially and consequently those who rely on them to earn a living are also suffering. If you are able, please help your favorite venue by buying an upcoming concert ticket or placing a to-go order. There is certainly someone out there needing your support.
Many venues continue to sell food. Many bands sell merchandise online. (Maybe we should work on doing that.) Concert promoters everywhere would definitely appreciate an advanced ticket sale. Not only would it be a vote of confidence that our future will soon resemble our good old days, it’ll give everybody something to look forward to.
Mr. Mike Blackwell was the most prolific concert promoter in Columbus, Georgia promoting hundreds of shows during his forty years in the business. His contributions to the area and to the pockets of a myriad of musicians cannot be overstated. Mr. Mike passed away in February. He was 69.
Promoting concerts was only a small part of this great guy. Mr. Blackwell was at one time a night club owner. He taught high school social studies and coached baseball and softball. Not one to shirk his civic duty, Mr. Blackwell also served as the chairman of the Muscogee County Democratic party.
Live music was a passion for Mr. Blackwell. He felt that music could bring people together in a special way and he put forth tremendous effort to ensure that thousands and thousands of people had the opportunity to go and see a show. What set Mr. Mike apart from the average concert promoter was his devotion to the audience. He wasn’t all about his paycheck. He was truly gratified being able to give people an opportunity to enjoy themselves. He did it to see the faces in the crowd and was proud to put together a great show.
We were fortunate to work with Mr. Blackwell regularly over the years. Early in 2020 he promoted an excellent show for us in Dublin, GA. Last year, we played with Pure Prairie League for one of his many shows at Anderson Music Hall in Hiawassee, GA. It was a highlight of 2019 for ARS. We’re certain that those of us with ARS are not the only ones who will miss Mr. Mike. Our deepest condolences go to his family, friends and the many others that will miss his commanding and invariably upbeat presence.
It's Been A Long Road Old Buddy.
After decades of traveling and performing in front of millions, Dean Daughtry has decided it’s now time to get off that long road. As one of ARS’s founding members and main songwriters Dean was truly instrumental to the band’s success. His touch is obvious listening to any ARS record. His talents shine when you hear ‘So Into You’, ’Imaginary Lover’ and any number of the great songs he was essential in penning. ‘Dog Days’, ‘Normal Love’, there are so many incredible ARS songs founded upon the incredible piano playing that Dean brought to the group.
As the band approaches its 50th anniversary, we are truly disheartened that we will not have our ‘Old Buddy’ on the road with us. Dean is the longest riding member of Atlanta Rhythm Section having literally been on the road continuously with ARS for well over forty years. Some of you may have noticed his occasional absence over the past couple years. We’ve been fortunate to have some very talented friends able to sit in when we’ve needed them. Lee Shealy, who we met through Andy Anderson, has performed with the band several times now and will man the piano for us into 2020. Lee grew up in Atlanta and we’re sure everyone will like him as much as we do.
We hope that Dean and Donna enjoy a long and happy retirement together. And that Dean will really enjoy not having to rush to and through the airports anymore. Dean would like all of Atlanta Rhythm Section’s fans to know how much he really appreciates them and how much he will miss seeing them. That isn’t nearly as much as his fans and his friends in the band are gonna miss ‘Ole Ox’.
"The Atlanta Rhythm Section : The Authorized History" - Is Now Available!
Seasoned, southern author, Willie G. Moseley, has written an in-depth book about The Atlanta Rhythm Section. Years of research and extensive interviews are infused into the first and only authorized history of the band. A native and current resident of Alabama, Mr. Moseley effortlessly weaves the story of a band whose roots are so close to his own.
Atlanta Rhythm Section’s background is a history lesson of the music scene in the South during the 60’s. Mr. Moseley details how Buddy Buie assembled a core group of incredibly talented southern musicians and developed the creative environment that enabled the ensemble to flourish and truly craft some amazing work. Buddy made real his dream of forming a super group to use as a vehicle for his songwriting skills, musical vision and business acumen. Mr. Buie’s efforts played out like an expertly conducted symphony and crescendo when Atlanta Rhythm Section’s mainstream success peaked in the late 70’s.
What goes up..., well, you can read the rest of that story too. Mr. Moseley’s book delves into the struggles that follow the band’s Top 40 success. He trails the band’s twists and turns throughout the new millennium up to the present day. Published by Schiffer Publishing and available through many online retailers, “The Atlanta Rhythm Section : The Authorized History” is Mr. Moseley’s thirteenth book. A senior writer of Vintage Guitar Magazine, he is News Editor emeritus for The Tallassee Tribune.
Often described as a more radio-friendly version of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers, the Atlanta Rhythm Section was one of many Southern Rock bands to hit the upper reaches of the charts during the late `70s. Hailing from the small town of Doraville, Georgia, the beginning of the Atlanta Rhythm Section can be traced back to 1970. It was then that a local recording studio was opened, Studio One, and the remnants of two groups (the Candymen and the Classics Four), became the studio's house band. One of the facility's head figures, Buddy Buie, soon began assembling the session band. After playing on several artists' recordings, it was decided to take the band a step further and make the group of players a real band, leading to the formation of the Atlanta Rhythm Section. This collection contains 10 tracks previously unavailable on compact disc.
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Recording information: Atlanta, GA (1977); Chandler, NC (1977); Cleveland, OH (1977); London, England (1977); NYC, NY (1977); Pittsburgh, PA (1977); Tokyo, Japan (1977); Atlanta, GA (1978); Chandler, NC (1978); Cleveland, OH (1978); London, England (1978); NYC, NY (1978); Pittsburgh, PA (1978); Tokyo, Japan (1978); Atlanta, GA (1981); Chandler, NC (1981); Cleveland, OH (1981); London, England (1981); NYC, NY (1981); Pittsburgh, PA (1981); Tokyo, Japan (1981).
Personnel: Rodney Justo, Andy Anderson , Ronnie Hammond (vocals); Dave Anderson (guitars, background vocals); Steve Stone (guitars); J.R. Cobb, Barry Bailey (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Dean Daughtry (piano, organ); Robert Nix (drums, percussion); Roy Yeager, R.J. Vealey, Jim Keeling (drums) Paul 'TheMan' Goddard (bass).