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I don’t know if my observation was merely coincidental, if I was just another ingredient in an already potent mix or if I had tapped into some righteous undercurrent that had already been boiling with vitality, but for Augusta’s music scene, 2004 was completely popping. Sure, we didn’t yet graduate any of our numerous talents to that wider circle (like a big label or as a sidecar to a nationally-touring act), but the table has been set for that, and it smells like the goose is nearly cooked and ready for serving.

That’s not really the point right now, anyway. 2004 was all about a lot of creative minds that had been twitching to spew forth their respective ideas that finally found homes for which to nest their eggs. Take a look around downtown; evidence of this is still all over the place. Handbills for shows by The Cubists, Blue Collar/Blue Heart, Shaun Piazza Band, Knowface and The Sixth Hour are commonplace, but loyal fans treat them as if they occur once every ten years. True, a lot of these groups (there are droves more I don’t have the space to mention here, but are no less worthy for it) were around long before 2004, and it’s not like last year everyone synchronously exclaimed, “Eureka!” and started writing songs and playing together.

But this past year (it feels like jumping the gun to start looking back on a year so recent and with so much good carrying over into the present) is when a lot of these musicians started to gain the confidence to take the initiative and move forward with their sounds, putting them to record, playing out of town, and this led to enjoyment by fans who treated local shows and albums like they were more than just hometown boys doin’ their thing. I can think of more than several instances when one of the out-of-town, big-ticket shows was passed up to see something like Hellblinki’s CD release or Adam Hatfield covering “Eat a Peach.” These and many more caught me pleasantly off-guard on a regular basis. But for all the right reasons, I don’t think there was a peak event for area music last year – everyone’s continually looking beyond the next few weeks, and there was simply too much diversity out there to stamp one singular event with the official “Event of 2004” seal. But if that positive and communal vibe carries on – and why shouldn’t it – expect 2005 to be full of ‘em.


Andy Stokes
Entertainment Writer
Metro Spirit