Posted in music, wine

Brandy Clark – Musical Genius

Brandy Clark with her amazing bassist Vanessa McGowan. — City Winery Atlanta

I shared an epiphany with my husband while watching Brandy Clark perform at City Winery Atlanta last Friday night – she’s the modern day Johnny Cash. If you are a Johnny Cash fan you might be offended at that statement, you might even dismiss me as crazy and stop reading, but you’d be missing out on an amazing talent.

I discovered Brandy Clark by complete accident when she opened up for Jennifer Nettles at The Georgia National Fair in Perry, GA a few years ago. My daughter (who was then in college) and I shared the best awkward mother daughter moment ever as we both laughed at the unexpected lyrics.


Although the lyrics were unexpected, the song instantly became one of my all time favorites. Possibly it is both the lyrics and the delivery that make her so appealing, revealing a raw humanness that I like to think everyone can relate to on some level.

So many of her songs (Stripes, Daughter, Big Day in a Small Town), are both satirical and yet so honest that you somehow feel better about life after listening to them.  Brandy Clark is old school country while at the same time being completely current. She is an accomplished song writer with a voice that is beautiful and pure and a performance style that makes you feel like she really gets you — even if you’ve never gotten high, lived in a small town or considered murdering an ex. Just like Johhny Cash could make you imagine what it feels like to stand in a prison yard or get your shoes shined. And that is the genius that is Brandy Clark.

Songs she has written have been made famous by the likes of Miranda Lambert (Ain’t Your Momma’s Broken Heart) and The Band Perry (Better Dig Two). She has had such musical legends as Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers among many others who have recorded her songs. What I’m getting at here is she is the real deal – true musical talent that world does not often get to see.

When I saw that Brandy Clark was coming to the intimate venue that is City Winery Atlanta, I could not wait to see her and she did not disappoint. As if I needed more of a reason to love her, she sang Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Carole King), Good Hearted Woman (Waylon Jennings) and Blame It On Your Heart (Patty Loveless) – all songs that I have loved for my entire life. These songs represent exactly the kind of homage she pays to way back when, while adding her own very current take on life.

I could go on, but I’ll just leave you with the entire song that started it all for me, I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Posted in music, wine

City Winery Atlanta

City Winery Atlanta has been on my list of places to visit for several months, so when I found out about their “Q & A With the Winemaker” on Wednesday evenings during the month of September, I grabbed a friend and went.

What a huge surprise City Winery is! It is a fully functioning urban winery. It is also a concert venue and a restaurant with a great bar area. Winemaker, Travis Green, welcomed us at the bar, where he immediately handed us a sample of the City Winery Chardonnay.

CityWinery2The venue is two floors, the main floor has a bar and restaurant with both indoor seating and a large patio. On this floor you will notice a climate controlled, floor to ceiling, glass walled room that contains barrels of fermenting white wines produced here at the winery by Travis. We were then led down stairs, where a large production facility is located. Here, they have large tanks filled with the spoils of this year’s harvest, as well as barrels containing wines that are aging. Travis makes wines with grapes obtained from both California and North Georgia. City Winery does offer tours by appointment, so you can see this for yourself by contacting them directly. CityWinery1

The other half of the down stairs is the concert venue which is a very beautiful and intimate space — along the lines of The Blue Bird Café or The Listening Room in Nashville. I wish I had thought to take pictures, but I didn’t so these are courtesy of City Winery’s FB page.

In addition to a wide array of talented entertainment, City Winery hosts several classes and events each month. There is even a monthly book club called Books and Booze.  The space is just gorgeous and is also a beautiful backdrop for private events.

My friend and I returned to the bar following our tour, where we sampled a couple of the menu offerings and had a glass of wine. She ordered the City Winery Pinot Noir which was delicious and, I would have sampled a City Winery wine but I they had one of my favorite roses, Hogwash, on their menu and I just couldn’t resist! We ordered 2 small plates, Crispy Risotto Croquettes and the Dog MenuMediterranean Trio – both were delicious.

Maybe my absolute favorite thing…they have a very impressive dog menu — it even includes beverages for your fur babies.

There is nothing that I didn’t love about this venue and I will most definitely be visiting again soon.


Posted in music

Ode to Tom Petty


It’s been a crappy week. Monday could not have started out any worse, waking up  to learn of the horror that occurred in Las Vegas. It kind of felt like the world was pushing me around. You would think in light of the loss of so many lives and so many  injured, learning that evening that Tom Petty died, of natural causes, would not be such a blow. But it was. To me anyway. So many reminders on Monday that we all have just one life.

TompettyThe first album I ever bought was Damn the Torpedoes. I bought it at Peaches record store in Cleveland, Ohio. I was maybe 10? peaches21Fifth grade if I recall correctly. I memorized every word to every song and became a life long fan. In Jr. High School I wanted to go see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on tour. My Mom said no, so I spent the night at friend’s house and went to the concert anyway.

Obviously there have been many, many musicians that I have loved and who have impacted the world through their music, but Tom Petty impacted me personally. Buying that album was a right of passage. Until this week, I had completely forgotten about sneaking to that first concert.

I think everyone can be transported to certain time in their life by music. It truly shapes our lives. Thanks to my Mom, I love 70’s music — Carole King and Carly Simon and the Bee Gees (sorry, not sorry). I think classic rock is where my true north is, in large part due to Tom Petty. But, being an “80’s chick” I also loved everything from Madonna to Pat Benatar and most things in between. Sometime in the 90’s, Vince Gill turned me into a country music fan. My ipod holds everything from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin. ELO to Kid Rock and I couldn’t pick a favorite – it depends on my mood, my surroundings, what I’m doing, etc. etc. etc. Side note: I feel the same way about wine.

My husband and I were listening to Tom Petty in the car recently and I said something to the effect of how amazing Tom Petty is because really his voice is not what people would think of as classically great right? This sounds like a disparagement but our discussion was the complete opposite. He was one of a kind. No one will ever sound like Tom Petty.  He made an impact on the world through his musical genius and transcended all genres.

Tom Petty’s death has had an impact that I would not have guessed it would have and I can’t really explain why. I was listening to a radio station pay tribute to him on Tuesday and someone had posted on the station’s Facebook page that she walked down the aisle at her wedding to Here Comes My Girl. That gave me goose bumps. Plus, that is just so bad ass.

So, I felt the need to share these thoughts. I think sometime soon, maybe this weekend. I will have my own little tribute to Tom Petty where I listen to every song he ever made. I think it will also involve a sip of wine.  I’m not sure which wine yet, but its going to be a good one.

I’m going to leave you with Johnny Cash covering I Won’t Back Down. I just discovered this a few months ago. I had never heard it before and I felt like I had just discovered some sort of treasure. I think it’s a fitting tribute. I hope you enjoy.