March Ray of Light: Haraway Brothers at Venkman’s this Saturday, Spring Tom Petty Show, 3/25 at Vista Room

Haraway Brothers, Venkman’s, Saturday 3/4- Early Show!

squareHey guys! Welcome to 2017. We’ve been spending the last few months working on some new records for you and we’ll deliver a preview of one of them this Saturday, 3/4 at Venkman’s in the Old 4th Ward. The Haraway Brothers– Will and Lee w/ Kevin Leahy on drums will play an early set at 7 PM sharp, previewing songs from the soon to be released “Haraway Brothers Wish You Love & Luck in the World,” along with some other fun stuff.

Early shows at Venkman’s are free, and if you don’t know, it happens to be a fabulous restaurant, so come have a nice dinner and a lovely time. See you there!

The Sundogs’ PETTY Family Affair, Saturday 3/25, The Vista Room

vista-posterWhen it makes sense, The Sundogs like to do a Springtime Tom Petty Show, but we do need a good reason. This year, we have TWO– on Saturday March 25, we’ll commemorate the birthdays of our great supporter UK Bob, host of “Good Morning Blues” on WRFG 89.3, along with the most badass keyboardist and friend that anyone could know– the one and only Kevin KT Thomas! Great reason right? Not to mention that the man himself is coming to Atlanta in April and you’ll need a warmup.

So named, it will be The Sundogs’ Petty Family Affair– the evening will start at 8 PM sharp with Kevin’s great funk trio, Dyn-o-mite!, featuring the lovely Mimi Thomas on vocals. Next you’ll catch more family members, the Jon Harris Band doing songs FROM THEIR upcoming album “Scorpio,” followed by The Tom Petty Show at 9:30.

We’ll have all kinds of special guests, including Mimi Thomas, our great friend Bradley Cole Smith and likely a few others too. To be honest, we’ve been trying to put together a show like this for years and we couldn’t be happier that Mike Rizzi, Vista and UK Bob banned together to help us make it happen. It’s all of $10 for you to come, so get tickets before it sells out, yo. Get them right here. 

View from Stage Left

dawes– It’s already been a strong year for records, including “Live from the Barn” by one of our very favorites, The Wood Brothers, the Japandroids’ “Near to the Wild Heart of Life,” Alison Krauss’ “Windy City” and Dawes’ absolutely fantastic live album, “We’re all Gonna Live“– but we’re going to focus on two in particular:

radams– Ryan Adams, “Prisoner“: About 10 years ago, I wrote a song called “Valentine’s Day” which was mostly about Lee getting hit in the head with a tip jar on Valentine’s Day at Zydeco’s in Birmingham (True story! Still funny!) but also has a pretty snarky line about Ryan Adams in the third verse: “…except for Ryan Adams, that whiny little fuck. He can kiss my ass, he’ll never get my fifty bucks.” Gotta be honest, I kinda feel like a dick about writing that. At the the time the man had some well-publicized issues, which included an unfortunate realization that he suffered from Muenere’s disease, a light-sensitivity disorder which is a tough break for anyone standing under bright colored lights for all of his professional life. I happened to read his contribution to the NY Times about his Ryman “Summer of ’69” which kind of sums up that whole era for him, and it brought it full circle. I was part of the problem.

As it is, with “Prisoner,” Ryan has made his “Tunnel of Love” (my favorite Springsteen record.) It’s a triumph of an album which acts as a sequel to both his self-titled record from three years ago as well as the sneaky-good Taylor Swift “1989” cover record from 2015. All have come since he opened Pax-Am– to me, the man sounds good, he sounds inspired and he sounds happy. And he released the record to the public on…..Valentine’s Day.

farrar– Son Volt, “Notes of Blue“: When I first heard Son Volt’s “Trace” in my friend Phillip Little’s Maxima it absolutely changed my life. Up until that moment, rock n roll was certainly a passion, something to be admired and appreciated, but not something with which I could seriously engage. But hearing “Windfall” and “Tear Stained Eye” and “Catching On” and the rest of those classic songs brought back the subliminal teachings of my youth: Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, John Prine, John Fogarty and John Denver and frankly blew my mind to pieces. Within days, I started playing Phillip’s Taylor. Soon after, I got my own Martin at Maple Street Guitars and had written three or four songs. Within months, Lee and I had 15 songs. That Christmas, I asked for my Uncle’s pedal steel guitar. Soon after, we had our first gig at the Red Light Cafe. We still love to play “Windfall” for anyone that asks.

“Notes of Blue” is Jay’s second straight exceptional Son Volt album, following 2012’s “Honky Tonk” before which he had learned to play pedal steel. Where that was a lovely exploration into the Buck Owens Bakersfield Sound, this record is a triumphant return to the sound of Son Volt Trace, which along with its classic country sing alongs features “Drown“, one of the finest alternative rocknroll songs of the alternative rock nineties. Much like the aforementioned Adams, this is a musician who finally sounds comfortable in his own skin and in his place in the world. For me, I can only say well done, and thanks.

– Thanks for reading and listening. Let’s kick some ass. Buy Music.


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The Festive Ray of Light: JCT Kitchen Holiday Lights w/ Atlanta Ballet–Friday, 12/16

Haraway Brothers- Friday, 12/16, JCT Kitchen Holiday Lights, 5 PM

grinchFirst of all, hello and thanks–last Friday’s Petty show was totally amazing, all because of y’all. Tremendous night. Check out our buddy Richard Peterson doing The Grinch over there.

We’ve got another great time set for this Friday at JCT Kitchen. From 5-7 PM, we’ll be playing a set of sweet country music supporting “Holiday Lights” from the JCT Bar and the Atlanta Ballet. What’s that you say? Yes– the costumed cast of the company from the Nutcracker Ballet will be on the (warm, heatlamped) porch ready for pictures. And of course, JCT chef Brian Horn will have tasty things at arm’s reach.


jctIt’ll be Lee, Will, Benji and Kevin L. playing you our sweet, sweet country hits from our soon to come record.
Stage Left’s Best Views and Listens of 2016

These are our favorite listens from 2016, ranked because why not but for the most part really in no particular order.

HISS levee1. Hiss Golden Messenger, Heart Like a Levee: Not only our favorite of the year, but one of our favorites ever. Levee is a testament to honesty, beauty and place. Mike Taylor doesn’t pull any punches when revealing himself, and it’s all backed by one of the funnest group of musicians you’ll ever see. Get behind this band.

bats2. Fruit Bats, Absolute Loser: Catchy, spacey, just one hell of a listen. If you can’t smile while listening to ‘Birthday Drunk’ there is definitely something wrong with you.

3. Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth: He produced his own record, about his infant son, made it sound like Aloha in Hawaii Elvis and ended up nominated for the Record of the Year Grammy against Beyonce and Justin Beiber. Just the way he drew it up.

4. Hayes Carll, Lovers & Leavers: This may have gotten the most spins out of us this year, a beautiful record from one of the best (and funniest) songwriters working.

dead5. The National & Friends, Day of the Dead: 50+ Dead covers with the National guys backing most everyone from the likes of Jim James to Courtney Barnett to Hiss (yep there it is) Golden Messenger to Mumford & Sons.Long Live the Dead.

DBT6. Drive-By Truckers, American Band: The anti gun, anti redneck record that we all deserve. You can never doubt their sincerity and passion, even in the face of criticism from their own fans. And the songs are their most timely ever. Pissed off Cooley is my favorite Cooley.

7. Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial: Not quite a teen but this dude, Will Toledo, is only 24 and this record is one of the most original you’ll every hear.

8. The Dexateens, Teenage Hallelujah: Didn’t even know these guys were back together, and here they are with their best record ever, tracked in lead singer Elliott McPherson’s BARN. Only the Dexateens could make a barn work for them. It would great if the Tide replaced Sweet Home with Alabama Redneck in the third quarter.

9. Mudcrutch, 2: No big deal, just Tom Petty making incredible records with his first band, just for fun. And of course it’s terrific.

10. Natural Child, Okey Dokey: These Nashville cats are one of our favorite finds this year. They kinda sound like the Dexateens!

chaos11. Hard Working Americans, Rest in Chaos: The first original album from the Todd Snider, Dave Schools, Neal Casal, Duane Trucks collaboration. No one writes burnout tunes like Mr. Snider. Pants on the ground.

12. Wolfmother, Victorious: Andrew Stockdale, he of the amazing hair and better riffs, triumphs with more hard rock awesomeness.

13. Brent Cobb, Shine on Rainy Day: Dave Cobb’s cousin writes great tunes, like South of Atlanta. We’ve all made that drive.

14. MusicBand, Wake Up Laughing: More Nashville dudes! Friends with Natural Child! From their bio: “MusicBand is NOT a group of sour-faced millennial cry-babies wearing fedoras and Beatle Boots, trudging through their live performances, looking like they can’t wait to get off stage and hit their vape pens.” So there’s that! Also, this record rocks.

15. The Lumineers, Cleopatra: You know, I must admit that  thought these guys were one-hit Hey Ho bunch of dirtnapping hee hee boys and girls with depression strings to hold up their guitars, pants and attitudes. But I was wrong! Haven’t been so happy about being wrong since the Strokes turned out to be good. Anyway, this is a really melodic, excellent record.

wheerredneck16. Wheeler Walker Jr., Redneck Shit: What do you want from me? Sure, it’s juvenile but it’s also the countriest country record that anyone released this year.

17. Band of Horses, Why Are You Ok: These Georgia/Carolina boys are so consistent, and this is their best since Infinite Arms.

18. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Let Me Get By: An American Treasure. Stick around for their Keep on Growing cover in the bonus tracks.

jack-ingram-midnight-motel19. Jack Ingram, Midnight Motel: Been seeing this dude since the 90’s when he used to come play Ole Miss frat parties. And here he is with his best record ever.

20. Radiohead, Moon Shaped Pool: It’s a Radiohead record- so yeah, it’s pretty fucking good.

stonesblueandlonesomeHonorable Mention: The Rolling Stones, Blue & Lonesome: honestly, let’s just celebrate that this thing EXISTS. The Stones playing the blues covers that inspired them. Sign me up. And Jagger steals the show with his harmonica playing.

Honorable Mention II: The Cult, Hidden City: Did you know The Cult was still around, and making killer records? They played Variety this year and it was badass.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Thanks for coming to our shows, listening to our songs and even just reading this newsletter.
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Nov. Ray of Light: The Sundogs Present The Tom Petty Show, 12/9- Smith’s Olde Bar

12/9 The Sundogs Present- The Tom Petty Show, Smith’s Olde Bar

sundogs-tps16_webad Ladies and gentlemens! The Sundogs Return to Smith’s Olde Bar on Friday Dec. 9 to to help you sing and play air guitar and pump your fist to the songs of the great Tom Petty.

You’ll get the full Sundog on this fine evening, with Lee, Will, Jon, Benji, Kevin and Kevin giving you all the hits, some of the b-sides and all of the awesomeness from our very favorite songwriter and rocker.

Opening the show at 8:30 sharp will be our buddies Wayne Glass and Alan Conner’s new band Shadowlands, followed by the fine band Amsterdam Station.

Get your tickets, as this sucker sells out. You can even get VIP Tables for your friends if you hustle. Let’s roll!

Ticket Link

View From Stage Left

jim-james-eternally-even– Well, it didn’t achieve it’s ultimate goal, but MMJ’s Jim James released a pretty solid protest record this month, check out “We Ain’t Getting Any Younger ” (he’s at Tabernacle on 11/22); hometown faves The Whigs released “Live in Little Five” (Parker looks like Tonight’s the Night era Neil Young), recorded at the ol’ 5 Spot; Lee Fields & The Expressions also released a live record “Special Night“, old warhorse David Crosby released “Lighthouse”; Don Was and his tribute crew released “Dear Jerry: Celebrating the Music of Jerry Garcia” (featuring WSP, Moe. and Jimmy Cliff), Robbie Robertson Released a compiltion of odds and ends that includes this gorgeous version of “Twilight” thewhigs-mainby Richard Manuel; and then there was this really terrible re-release by Yoko that I listened to briefly so I think you should have to as well, “Cambridge 1969.”

img_35901– Last week, Will, Lee, Benji and Will Groth gathered in Kristian and Brandon Bush’s downtown Decatur studio to record “Haraway Brothers,” produced by Benji and engineered by Tom Tampley (Kristian, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam). It’s coming out early next year and we can’t wait for you to hear it. As a tease, here’s a pic of Lee playing a Moog.

– Finally, hey folks. Let’s stay positive and optimistic out there. Positive Positive Positive.  Go see music, write some songs. Love your neighbors and your friends.

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October Ray of Light: Sundogs Trio (w Benji) at JCT Friday, KT and Bradley Cole Smith together Saturday

The Sundogs Trio (w Benji on bass) at JCT Kitchen, Friday 10/21

SteeldogsThere is literally no better time to sit on a porch– any porch– than in October in Atlanta, GA. So, this Friday, The Sundogs Trio invites you to sit with us on the best porch, the one at JCT Kitchen, to enjoy some tunes with us. As an added bonus our compatriot Benji Shanks will join us for some songs on the bass guitar (yes, he can play 4 strings as well as 6.)


It’s free admission and the JCT service and food are outstanding. Show starts at 8 PM, bring the family.

Kevin Thomas joins Bradley Cole Smith Band for GinaWeen, Saturday 10/22

KT on fireKT will be joining our frequent collaborator Bradley Cole Smith and his excellent band for Ginaween 2016, on Friday at the Hanover West Clubhouse in Buckhead. Since 2011, GinaWeen has raised over $ 100,000 and all proceeds from the event go to the American Cancer Society.


Event starts at 5:30 and music starts at 7— tis very family friendly.

View from Stage Left

HISS HISS levee– There are few better things in our world than discovering a new band, falling in love with their music and then watching them grow as they come through your town. Especially if they’ve just released the best album of the year. Such is/was the case on Sunday night when Hiss Golden Messenger played at Terminal West, fresh off the release of their wonderful 4th album “Heart Like a Levee.” This was the best night of music that these eyes and ears have seen in quite some time and reinforces what music could and should be all about. For two hours on Sunday night, 150 people (on a Sunday, after a late Falcons game) were treated to M.C. Taylor’s great band with heavyweights Phil Cook, Scott Hirsch and Ryan Gustafson (who opened the show as well) playing songs like Biloxi and Say it Like You Mean It and Southern Grammar that honestly could’ve gone on forever as far as we were concerned. It was transcendent, positive, emotional and inspiring. There is nothing I can recommend higher.


DBT– Protest records and songs used to be the norm. In a way it’s what rock music used to be all about, from Pete Seeger to Woody Guthrie to Joan Baez to Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen. But at least in rock and especially country music, it’s just not done anymore, bands are scared of alienating their audience, even more so after what happened to the Dixie Chicks years ago, something from which they’ve only just now recovered. Well, the 50 year old dudes from Drive-By Truckers have released a full scale protest album, “American Band,” just in time for this (awful) election. However you feel about the themes, and their stance on the issues, I love seeing them take a passionate stand and not really care about the reaction (and they REALLY don’t care) and how it might affect their success. All that aside it’s a badass record, maybe their best since they parted ways with Isbell. Check out this BURNER-“Ramon Casiano” and this beauty, “Guns of Umqua“.


dexateens– Those two are just the cream of what has been an incredible run of new releases over the past few weeks– The triumphant return of THE DEXATEENS, the best so far from our boys Blackberry Smoke, new ones from Shovels & Rope, Kings of Leon (despite the really stupid album cover), Phish (that’s right), The Dead Horses, Marc Ford,Brent Cobb, Scott Hirsch (yep, from Hiss Golden Messenger), Steve Gunn and Paul Cauthen are all worth your time and attention. Dial them up and treat yo’ self.


– Last thing about the Hiss show, before the encore (which was Day O Day), someone in the crowd asked Mike to make a political statement. He said “A political statement? How about putting something beautiful into the world?” Damn right.


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Sept. Ray of Light: JCT, Star Bar Lounge, Venkman’s, Vic’s

Ton of shows, people. We’re not just one band, we’re 5.

Friday 9/2, Sundogs Trio @ JCT Kitchen

Come join us on the best patio in Atlanta on Friday Night for The Sundogs Trio– Will, Lee and Kevin Leahy–as we play basically whatever we’re currently into at the moment (My Morning Jacket, Dylan, Sturgill, Paul Simon, Phosphorescent, etc.). It’s Will’s birthday on Sunday, so come drink some tequila and chase with some angry mussels.

It’s Free and it starts at 8.

Thursday 9/1, Dyn-O-Mite at The Star Bar Red Vinyl Lounge

Kevin Thomas’ funky funkmasters Dyn-O-Mite have started a cool residency at the Red Vinyl Lounge of the fabulous Star Bar in Little 5 Points. Seriously, it’s funky as shit.

10 PM

KT will also be joining Chappy & Friends on Saturday 9/3 at the venerable Northside Tavern so y’all check that out too.

Thursday, 9/8, The Sundogs at Trader Vic’s Downtown

The weirdest Thursday you can have- we love it. You literally never know what’s going to happen, and they have $5 Mai Tai’s.


Friday 9/16, Haraway Brothers at Venkman’s

Venkman’s has quickly become one of our very favorite places to play, and a favorite of the Sundogs family as well. We play 90 minutes on a wonderful-sounding stage and you enjoy some of the finest food and drink in the city.

Haraway Brothers is well, what it sounds like, with assorted drums, harmonicas and guitars.

Also Free.

View from Stage Left

– Very cool new records in August from Jeff the Brotherhood with “Zone“, Salder Vaden (lead guitar for Jason Isbell) “Salder Vaden” and Jack Ingram with “Midnight Motel” (live, fantastic) and some new discoveries including Nashville’s Natural Child’s entire discography, including the latest “Dancin’ with Wolves” and The Record Company’s “Give it Back to You.”

– Roadies kept on giving as well, with Tyler Lyle’s “The Golden Age and the Silver Girl” an overlooked solo record from Daryl Hall called “Laughing Down Crying.” Just FYI, the season finale featured Eddie Vedder, Gary Clark Jr., Jim James (again) and Jackson Brown singing three songs. Watch so they don’t cancel it.

– Lee and Will’s cousin Killis Haraway has a cool band called The Lesser Known, and they’re playing The Buccaneer (awesome) in Memphis tonight and The Nick (also awesome) on Saturday in Birmingham. Those are some quality funky venues right there, go check them out if in those towns and feeling froggy.

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