*originally published at The Covington News in November of 2016
I'd like to give thanks that a transplanted Yankee named Judy met a Newton County boy named Billy while matriculating at that university in Athens back in the day. I’m thankful for the fact that the aforementioned northern co-ed got into music like Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary and bought, and learned how to play, a Harmony guitar while she was in attendance.
I'm also thankful that I was able to mess around with and attempt to play said Harmony guitar as a young boy.
I'm quite thankful that I befriended a beautiful and sweet Biggers girl years ago who had the voice of an angel and could play a pretty good guitar, too. I'm thankful that we kicked off a wonderful musical relationship that would turn into a romantic relationship, years later. She's the best, and I'm a lucky man.
And I'm thankful that I married into her family which consists of folks who are all as good as gold and incredible musicians and singers as well. It's always been an honor to play several of the Biggers Family Band’s shows we've done over the years.
I'd like to give thanks for being a part of a group back in the mid 90's called Southern Freight. To Bobby D. Stephens, Jamie Sherill, Wm Greg Peters, Scott Bowen and some of the others involved with that — Thank you! And I wish somebody could find the video of us playing at that big blowout at the Wiley Farm in which we tore up "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed."
And an additional shout-out to Scotty B for being a musical comrade in so many groups throughout the years in addition to Southern Freight: The Enduring Chill, The Cosmic Rednecks, The Cool Swap, and Neon Madmen.
I'm thankful for the Old Library Basement crew, AKA, The Tin Roof Wranglers: Cham, Brad, Reb, Rob, Tedo & the rest.
I'd like to give thanks to Michael Zahn, God rest his Soul. He saw a need for original acoustic music in our area and gave the opportunity and an outlet for several of us back in the early 2000s at his restaurant. And thanks to RL and Trish who continued that tradition after they took over that spot.
A big thanks goes out to Amici Covington for doing live music for going on almost a decade now. And thanks for your garlic mild wings, and the ranch, of course!
I'm thankful that a living legend (and seventh-generation Mansfieldian) by the name of Johnny Roquemore returned to the home county from Malibu back in the early 2000s. I'm thankful for having seen him play many times and having played several shows with him as well. I'm grateful for him recording Sweet Harmony a time or two, and most importantly, I'm thankful for his friendship.
Ditto to the Professor, David Leinweiber. I'm thankful that he found his way from Michigan to be a part of our amazing music scene.
I'm so thankful and grateful that Mack McKibben opened up his music store on the Square several years back. We're so fortunate to have them. And to him, his family and his primary group, Drive Time, and to all of the various projects of members of that group: Chris, Jon and Scott (they rock!); The Peeled Onions (Johnny Hamby's group — best bar band in the great state of Georgia); JJ and Micah; April Allen and others.
I'd like to give thanks for C-town, the home-county of Newton and surrounding areas being such a hotbed for Country talent: Dustin Bragg, Drew Parker, Gannon Adams, Justin Huff and all the others. Also, a thanks to the ladies — Taylor Marie, Any Rae, Savannah Webb, Whisper Whitlock et al. It's just incredible the talent that's around these parts.
I'm thankful that we've got some real-deal bluesmen in our midst: Josh Jacabson, The Piedmont Bluesman; and Brian "Kingfish" King from down in Butts Co. Unreal talents!
And to so many of the other great groups and performers, thanks: Fluff and Marc with Whiskey Bent; Brittany and Cindy with Leighlynn Shine; Brad and Reb with Idylls; and so many more.
And I'm thankful that several of our native sons and daughters are making their mark on things at the regional and national level. Folks like Hannah Thomas, Thomas Tillman, Matt Kennon, and others.
Let's all give thanks for the huge number of music venues we now have. As I mentioned in a couple of columns a couple of weeks ago — we're pushing upwards of 20 venues now. It's incredible. And don't forget about the music barns, either: Gum Creek, Hwy 36, Dimsdale's. We are so fortunate!
I'm thankful to the management and editorial staff of The Covington News for wanting this column and giving me the freedom and support to do it to add to their goal of capturing the story of our lives.
And finally, I'm most thankful to you — the reader. None of this happens without you. Thank you!
Until next time.
Marshall McCart wears many hats, but being a musician & music enthusiast are chief among them.