Basements and Barstools: North Fulton Music Scene is Diverse Mix of New and Old
When people think of a local music scene, they logically think of places like Nashville, Brooklyn, or south Atlanta as the kinds of places where “the scene” occurs. No doubt, these international hotspots for country, indie and hip-hop/R&B music are top destinations where artists and other industry types gravitate and collaborate. But there also is a surprisingly deep and diverse music scene right here in North Fulton county that has both connections to some of these bastions of song craft as well as roots right here in our familiar red clay.
Atlanta has long been a well-known home base for R&B artists, with many famous artists having addresses in Country Club of the South and The Manor. Our proximity to Nashville also makes it convenient for a number of prominent country musicians to live in the 30004 and 30009 zip codes.
What is less well known is the staggering number of professional producers, engineers, and session players who own homes and raise their families in our neighborhoods. Fueled by our high median household income and the explosion in audio technology over the past decade, these musical pros and other area audiophiles have outfitted their homes and smaller, more intimately scaled businesses to form the basis for an extensive, talented and prolific local network of recording studios where a lot of “radio-ready” music gets made. These home-based and smaller independent recording studios in Alpharetta and Milton have both the talent and technology to make a mockery of the excesses of the traditional big studio environment. The music made in your neighbor’s house might very well be on its way to your favorite playlist.
There is also a wealth of locally-based musicians who make their living (or at least chunks of it) playing in the increasing number of live music venues around our town. Places like Matlida’s, The Velvet Note and The Roswell Tap attract both local and top regional talent, particularly acoustic and singer-songwriter acts. While some of these barroom balladeers are often hoping for you to find and fill their tip jars, many will also have CDs and digital stores featuring music made in…you guessed it…a local recording studio.
Our “Best of Roswell Tap” project brought these two worlds together at Lucky Dog Studios. You can find the music and a video about the making of the project (search for ‘best of roswell tap’) online.
The music business here in North Fulton (and the rest of the world) is an interesting, chaotic, and exciting place right now. Burgeoning technology and new business models (some of them dubious at best, a topic for another time) present both opportunities and challenges for local artists across the entire creative and business process. But the heart of a successful scene is always the spark created when local artists make connections with local folks, and those people become fans. So check out the many great local musicians playing around North Fulton. Listen for a minute or two. Clap and holler, buy their music and merchandise if you like them. It’s as local as honey, and just as sweet. Plus you will be contributing to the musical heartbeat of our community and the music industry at large, and to local artists capable of using their talents to make where we live a brighter, fuller, and richer place.
Blog by Brian Johnson, former Owner (2011-2016), North Fulton School of Music