by Holly Hollman
Savor a spoonful of blues. Relish a helping of reggae. Sample the soothing strains of classical.
The third annual Athens Grease Festival will offer music lovers a feast for a variety of tastes.
“We are a food festival, but we offer so much more including musical entertainment,” said Festival Chairwoman Betsy Hyman. “Our festival appeals to all your senses.”
The festival is Sept. 27 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in downtown Athens. It is hosted by the Spirit of Athens as a celebration of all things fried and the Greek origin of the city’s name.
This year’s line-up involves:
Nashville-based instrumental duo Steelism comprised of guitarist Jeremy Fetzer originally from Ohio and pedal steel player Spencer Cullum originally of England. Steelism blends an eclectic array of vintage and modern influences to create instrumental music that truly sounds like nothing else.
“Steelism allows us to musically explore in our writing and take performance chances we couldn’t get away with in any other project,” Fetzer says.
Their debut EP “The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel and Guitar” was met with critical acclaim with American Songwriter’s Sean Maloney calling Steelism “instantly recognizable – surf, country, blues, all steeped in soul and heavy on the grooves – but astoundingly outside the contemporary vernacular.”
● Promised Land Sound
This group emerged from the Nashville garage scene and developed a country and soul sound. Bassist and singer Joey Scala and his younger brother Evan (drums) moved to Tennessee from Virginia. Joey connected with guitar player Sean Thompson while hitchhiking after high school. Keyboard player and pianist Ricardo Alessio was classically trained in Michigan. Luke Schneider sometimes guests on pedal steel.
This Huntsville-based reggae band formed at the request of a DJ when a group of friends and family met to play for a Bob Marley birthday celebration program. The group performs across the Southeast. KUSH’s influences include Sade, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Sean Paul and Santana.
● Microwave Dave and The Nukes
This band has performed for 20 years in the U.S and Europe on cruises, in soccer stadiums and at neighborhood saloons. As Microwave Dave puts it: "Blues is America's first-and still best-self-help program." The band received the Alabama Blues Society’s Blues Achievement Award in 2001, "for accomplishments in performing, writing and preserving blues music."
● Huntsville Symphony Orchestra string quartet (in collaboration with Athens State university's livingston Concert lecture series and the huntsville symphony orchestra)
The orchestra owes its beginnings to the Wernher von Braun and his team moved to Huntsville in 1950, they found lush surroundings and agreeable weather in this cotton mill town with a population of some 16,000. While their professional lives were dedicated to realizing visions of flights into space, many of them were skilled amateur musicians who shared a deep-seated passion for classical music.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Here are some contacts if you would like to interview and feature some of the bands. Please do not release this contact information. Thanks
For Steelism contact Matt Bury at 615.664.1167 (ext. 27) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Promised Land Sound contact Reece Lazarus at email@example.com
For Microwave Dave call 256-519-9993 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Athens Grease Festival
Where: Downtown Athens
Time: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 3-12 and free for 2 and younger. $1 off for toga wearers.
Out of the Frying Pan VIP Party: 7 p.m. at The Loft 1880. Go to www.eventbrite.com. $20.
Vendors: Food, beverages, crafts, etc. Vendor prices are not included in ticket purchase.
Parking: Public lots around and near The Square and marked side street parking. Handicap parking will be designated.
Major sponsors: Fox 54, WZYP, athens limestone tourism association, athens state university's livingston concert lecture series, City of Athens and Limestone County Commission