15 February 2019

[TPC Album Review] - The Bitteroots Turn It Up to 11; More Hard-Edged Sound Seems to Suit Group

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Decatur-based band, The Bitteroots, are about to publicly release their latest offering, "Derailer" , on March 15th; however, for yours truly - TPC Ed. MB McCart - the release party happened a week or so ago & I've got something to say about it...

Perhaps my favorite band in all of Georgia, The Bitteroots have found a new gear, literally & figuratively.

These master purveyors of Jam Rock, Funk & Fusion have decided to let their hair down a bit & inject a little more ROCK into the mix, and that's turned out to be a very good thing. This album hits all the spots, and those points in between.

Let's break it down...

Per usual, FrontLady Laura Dees is simply magnificent! Her searing vocals are the key to this band's formula, and there's simply no denying it. 

She's Magnificent!  

But of course the kick-out-the-jams machine of a rhythm section that is the two founders of the group- Bill Taylor, bass; Mike Davis, drums - is as key to their marvelous sound as anything else, but Derron Nuhfer's sax, though...

As always, it is the ace in the hole. So what of new guy & guitar slinger PJ Poellnitz? In addition to having a great Rock'n'Roll name, Homeslice is on point! Really, though. He's quite proficient, and with some serious soul.

Track #1 - "No Demands" - is as good a track as the band has ever put out. The perfect opener, at first it gives you this ZZ Top meets Lenny Kravitz mash-up vibe, but then very quickly blazes its own path & bowls you over w/ its chorus. PJ throws in a quick, jam-up solo towards the latter part of the song, basically saying "Ola" to his new audience, & doing so in an utmost impressive manner.

Moving on, the record's second track just didn't grab me...at first, but then Laura & Derron do that voodoo that only they can do, as does the song's hook & new guy's octave runs.

At this point, "No Place to Go," the record's third piece, is my fave. It's pure gold. Killer tune! And just right in terms of the album flow, a lost art that this band is mindful of.

The remaining numbers all certainly belong in terms of sound & caliber, in this writer's estimation, though maybe none grabbed me like any of the front 3, well, except for "Souvenirs." Man! Good tune. The chorus is pure Pop-Rock magic, as are the verses, and the instrumentation, especially the kick-ass guitar solo. Ditto on the sax, too. Good, good stuff...

So as to get a point of reference, I recently broker out my Bitteroots collection.  EPs & albums like "Under the Big Sky," "Central of Georgia" & their fan-favorite live album from 120 Tavern & I can honestly tell you the following:

The Bitteroots are like America, constantly striving for that more perfect union, one sweet jam at a time, and that's a great thing, and so is this band! 
The new material is excellent & is definitely on par, with a slight adjustment in style, as their classics. 

In their own words:

We are thrilled to announce our sixth album, “Derailer,” will be released March 15 through all digital download and streaming services (Spotify, iTunes, etc.) and will be available on CD at all of our live shows starting in March. The band will also be hosting a live online listening party at 9 p.m. Feb. 28 on Decatur FM, playing tracks from “Derailer” and discussing its upcoming release. We can’t wait to get this album out into the world to share it with everyone! Special thanks to Derron Nuhfer at Sarlaac Mastering & Music Production for producing, engineering, mixing and mastering this project.#thebitteroots #derailer #decaturga #decaturfm#newmusic #originalmusic #localmusic The Bitteroots #spotify

This thing drops on March 15th, so make sure you're ready! Visit & like the band's Facebook page to stay in the loop. 

Well done, Bitteroots, well done! 

- MB McCart 

14 February 2019

Past Piedmont Chronicles: Happy Valentine's Day - An Ode to Murder & Sex

*Ed. note: originally ran @ TPC 2/14/18

Happy Valentine's Day from TPC

The origins of Valentine's, like almost all holidays, has its roots in old-world pagan celebrations.

Lupercalia, on the Ides of February (15th) was a fertility celebration of the Roman pagans in which they would sacrifice a goat to please the gods in order to continue to have bountiful crops and also virulent personal fertility. There was also a thing involving the goat's bloody hide & slapping women on the butt with it. Later, there would be a blind drawing where men & women were coupled up for the upcoming year. Sometimes this would lead to marriage; sometimes it would not. A lot of sex was involved. They would also sometimes kill dogs.

Those crazy Romans, though... 

So after Christianity became a thing - not unlike Saturnalia with Christmas, or the celebration of Eastra that would later become Easter - the ruling church power elite co-opted the hedonistic pagan celebration and turned into a celebration of Valentine, or Valentinus, or maybe another person, who was possibly a saint, : [*updated, 2/14/19] - who was brutally murdered by The State for marrying the commoners. Later, naturally, the church outlawed the previous, original pagan celebration...

As the years went on, especially in the Middle Ages, the holiday became more of a romantic thing although - again, not unlike Christmas - it didn't really become the big & sometimes expensive celebration similar to what we see now until merchants, peddlers & various purveyors of various things started to hype it up for an opportunity to increase sales volume.

I'm starting to think that some of you reading this may think I'm sounding somewhat cynical in this piece. You're probably right, though I do rather enjoy the holiday. I always enjoy giving my bride a gift or two & doing my time-honored tradition of cooking up a big, fancy semi-gourmet meal on the night of Valentine's. And yes - my wife is a lucky woman! But certainly I'm  a lucky man. 

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Alright for now. Until next time. 

12 February 2019

[Staff Report] - Libertarian Party of Georgia Seeks Support for Ballot Access House Bill 191

State Libertarian Party Building Consensus & Support for Expanding Ballot Access in Georgia; Current Bill in the Gold Dome has Four Sponsors

Atlanta, GA - The Libertarian Party of Georgia has drafted and worked with representatives to officially file a bill aimed at reforming the state's ballot access laws for third and independent parties. Georgia’s laws governing who may appear on election ballots are among the worst in the nation. Republicans and Democrats appear on ballots almost automatically, while independent and minor-party candidates must collect thousands of signatures, petition the state, and pay dearly to earn that access.
To protect Georgian’s rights to have competitive, fair, and free elections, the  bill recommends reducing the number of petition signatures candidates need to be on the ballot, and would give “state registered political bodies” (minor parties) the ability to offer choices to voters without the permission of the two major parties.
In 2016, all 180 members of the Georgia House were up for re-election, but 82% of those members did not have a challenger in the general election. A single-candidate, single party race is not choice, it’s tyranny. Nearly all incumbents who were challenged kept their seats. No third-party candidate in Georgiahas ever cleared the restrictions to appear on the ballot for the U.S. House since Georgia restricted ballot access in  1943,. Georgia also leads the nation in unopposed races, an unwelcome distinction for a state still recovering from a history of election abuses.
Political favoritism and exclusion enshrined in law is an embarrassment, hindering Georgia’s progress and political discourse. 33% of Georgians identify as a Republican and 22% identify as Democrat. The remaining plurality of voters, identify as Independents or belong to a “minor” party.  In other words nearly half of Georgia voters[would?] support candidates who are blocked from appearing on Georgia ballots.
The Libertarian Party of Georgia is offering a solution to Georgia's restricted ballot access laws. Representatives sponsoring the bill include: Dar'shun Kendrick (93rd), David Stover (71st), Valencia Stovall (74th), and Vernon Jones (91st). If passed, ballot access provisions will level the playing field by allowing independents, Greens, Libertarians, and other issue-oriented political bodies the same advantages enjoyed by Republicans and Democrats. You are encouraged to contact your legislative representative and implore them to support House Bill 191 and the proposed protections for Georgia elections. To find out who your representatives are visit this WEBSITE. For more detail on the Libertarian-led coalition to reform ballot access, see this recent news report.


11 February 2019

[Perrin Lovett] - A TPC Salute of All-American Small Town Newspapers

It occurred to me that mine is an odd position at TPC - the “national affairs” columnist of a decidedly local publication. Da enlightens the esoteric South with charm and wit. Sweetheart Bess writes from the heart tales to warm any heart. Kayla puts the Cool in Chronicles (fits, trust me), fun with every single post. Marshall may be the most dedicated defender of the traditional local scene I’ve ever known. Then there’s me … I bring the battleaxe to the bonfire.  

I have to. It’s the job. And, it’s me. The rest of the staff see Newton County as home. I see it as 279 of the neatest square miles out of the 3.1 million between Mexico and Canada. There’s a lot of horror out there which, unchecked, can and will creep in the the glorious Georgia Piedmont. Hence, the usual topics.

But, not today. Today is all local. Well, local from multiple locales to keep it “national” in nature. Herein, I proudly present three of my favorite small town sources for news of the doin’s of small town life in the good old U.S. of A. Regardless of geography, one will find great similarity; three towns outside Georgia look and feel a lot like Covington.

My original hometown is inhabited by some 25,000 of the oddest, yet most endearing people in America. Over the past 40 years, the city has transformed from “Stark-Patch,” dead end of the SEC, to “Stark-Vegas,” a capital of college cool. I remember when the new Jitney Jungle opened, next to Harco and behind Danver’s (all gone, now, BTW).

Today (Saturday, Feb. 9th), news comes of a shooting at an apartment complex. No, ideal doesn’t always mean perfect. Happily, we also learn something about Ricks’ Cafe and of the honors of MSU’s aerospace program. The Academy’s boys basketball team moved deftly into the postseason.

Week after week, year after year it’s much the same happy story.

The tiny mountain village I’ve run to all my life is home to about 1,200 people - about one denizen for every three feet of elevation. The Rocket is a tributary of the Watauga Democrat, paper of record for Boone, another jamming college town. This is Tweetsie Railroad territory and home to the Peddler Steakhouse. Yes, America’s largest and best steam locomotive machine shop is just down the same road as America’s best filet mignon (medium-rare, please).

The Rocket, today, recounts the exploits of the state election board and the happenings of ASU. Someone saw a snake during the winter months. Remembered was Mr. Green Penn, 91-year-old retiree and Blowing Rock Country Club (nice) devotee. Mr. Green originally hailed from Exeter, NH, being a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. These latter points somewhat connect one paper’s obituary with another town whose paper I occasionally follow.

Watauga County, NC, owing to its extraordinarily high elevation, hosts a climate much more akin to New England than the steamy South. And, Phillips Academy-wise, Exeter is a descendant of Andover. Andover is home to,

Andover, size and location wise, is perhaps closest to C-town. About 35,000 mostly upper class and upper-middle class folks live minutes north-west of the Northshore of Greater Boston, with a population similar to metro Atlanta. Their news is about as hometown as it gets, a tradition over 370 years in the making.

Today, my Yankee headline connection boasts of saucy Salsa success, the 210th anniversary of the Andover Bookstore (wicked awesome!), and the sports schedules for Andover’s (non-Phillips) High School.
Imma call, “hot n’ spicy.” Picture by Carlo Russo, the Townsman.

Maybe my favorite section is “All Those Years Ago,” wherein the headlines from 25, 50, and 100 years before are re-lived. From the latest installment (for Feb. 7, 1919):

The Townswoman learned something at the Andover Mothers’ Club meeting the other afternoon that was surprising, to say the least. It was that Andover has no Public School Nurse. The need of a nurse to keep in touch with the children in school and to see that in the home, certain symptoms and treatments are followed up, has been so obvious that she supposed a nurse was demanded by law to work in every city and town.

A hundred years of history is testament to the Mothers’ success, the town’s children of 2019 being as in-touch as any in the nation.

And, TPC and yours truly are also as in-touch as humanly possible, connecting one local populace to the others, one week at a time. Next week, back to business...

This week’s C.F. Floyd National Affairs Column was brought to you, in part, by the excellence that is The Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the campus of Phillips Academy, Andover.

The Gallery’s collection of model ships is currently showcased, with reductions of the Mayflower, the Santa Maria, and the Corsair. Remember, the Shop at Addison features novelties to include unique and cu$tom jewelry. A Reminder: If your school does not host a world-class art museum, then it probably ain’t Andover…

Fellow Terry College of Business (UGA) grad Brother Perrin Lovett is a true renaissance gentleman & scholar. A recovering attorney, he's into guns & cigars, and the US Constitution. A published authorPrepper columnist & YouTube personality, and an acclaimed blogger, TPC is very proud to have our old friend on board as the C.F. Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs

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| Covington, GA | Newton Co. |

10 February 2019

[Bess Tugle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Thing 2 & the Frogs

When my second son, Thing 2, was little, I got a play pen.  Yes, a “baby cage.”  This was a –wonderful- thing for me!  Thing 2 wasn’t quite crawling yet, but I could put him in the play pen, not worry about what he was getting into, under, pulling over on himself, or what his big brother, Thing 1, might be doing to him, and I could actually get a few things done around the house.

Didn’t I think wrong.

The back door opened onto a fenced in play yard.  Thing 1 would run in and out on a regular basis.  The sound of a slamming screen door was a regular occurrence.  There are only so many waking hours of the day.  There are also toilets to be cleaned, tubs to be scrubbed, laundry to be washed…  You get the picture.  My children were not neglected, by any means, but the sounds kept me informed of what was going on – most of the time.

A word of advice from a veteran mom:  When things get quiet you need to pay attention.  If you hear a giggle, it’s time to worry.  Real laughter should be a cause for alarm.

As I’m cooking supper it finally occurred to me that the back door quit slamming.  

Uh, oh.

The giggles came next, followed by laughter.  

I went into the living room, pots and pans still on the stove, and discovered what all the hilarity was about.

Thing 1 had been going out to the play yard, catching toads, and throwing them into his brother’s play pen.  There were about a dozen hopping around when I caught them.

The baby couldn’t catch them, but it entertained him trying to.  His brother thought it hilarious watching him try to catch them.

Yet another burned supper.
Bess Tuggle

A jack of all trades, Ms. Tuggle has been a Covington resident since the late 70’s. She's been a K-Mart cashier, cabinet builder, vet tech, office manager for a beef cattle ranch and water well company (where she was able to hold benefits for D.A.R.E. and Scouts), a court reporter, business manager, assistant at a private investigation firm, legal assistant, convenience store clerk, landscaper and elementary school substitute teacher.  Her greatest pleasure is being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her stories are all real, and all names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and also maybe the guilty, depending on the crime & the Statute of Limitations. 

09 February 2019

[Ellis Millsaps] - Memoir Chapter 2 ; The Valley of The Shadow

The Valley of the Shadow
By: Ellis Millsaps                                                            

This is the house in which I grew up. I don't need to show you a photograph. You’ve seen it many times...                                                                                                                                                                                                             

It’s a rectangular red brick structure with a carport on one end, the standard post-war lower middle class dwelling. It has three bedrooms and one bath. There’s a gas floor furnace in the central hall which if you’re eight years old you can pee in if no one’s home. After all it’s just asking for it and it makes an oddly pleasant toasty smell.
When I am six years old it’s in Cedartown, GA, from seven to fourteen in Holly Springs, GA and after that in Fannin county where it has four bedrooms and two baths but still no air conditioning. I was grown before I lived or attended school in air conditioning.
Here I focus on the Holly Springs model. In the carport is a large Dodge. We get a new one every three years. In front of our house is a city street down which cars occasionally pass and down which my dog Happy chases each one. Happy exhibits a daredevil, matador flair in his car chasing. He sticks his head under the fender in front of the passenger side wheel while barking a continual challenge to the invading machine.
Happy did not have a happy ending, but it wasn’t a car that did him in.  One summer day he became rabid. I well remember looking out the window at him foaming at the mouth. My mother yelled out the window to my nine-year-old neighbor, Jan Camp, who then ran through the church parking lot with her hands raised toward heaven yelling, “Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Mad dog  Mad dog!.”
My father somehow got him locked in the playhouse my mother had built and the next day shot him with his single-shot 12-gauge shotgun, the only  firearm we ever owned.
The church parking lot borders our driveway to the left of the house and surrounds the Holly Springs Baptist Church. Directly behind the church is the town’s only cemetery where I sometimes play. The richest family in the town, the Barretts, have the largest headstone. It's two tiered and maybe 8 feet tall and fun to climb on. You can launch paper airplanes,blow bubbles, and toss off toy soldiers for which you have constructed parachutes from plastic bags.
Always living next door to the church and the cemetery it's not surprising that death was a subject my young mind often pondered. And if that weren't enough to scare the bejesus out of a six-year-old, from my earliest recollection I was put to bed with Now I lay me down to sleep/ I pray the Lord my soul to keep/ If I should die before I wake... Wait a minute! If I should WHAT? Before WHEN?

 Every night I fought off sleep for as long as I could.

 Ellis Millsaps

Ellis is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved... 
Your Source for the REAL Story

07 February 2019

[Kayla's Corner] - Big Weekend: Hannah Thomas, Whiskey Bent & Chocolate!


Hi everyone! Welcome to this week's jam-packed corner!

Speaking of jam, y'all ready to jam out this weekend? Music is life and I'm going to tell you where to go to listen to some really talented local artists.


Coming up this Friday, a personal close friend of mine, Hannah Thomas, is having her annual B-day bash at Eddie's Attic in Decatur starting at 9 pm! Make sure to come out and support her and help her enjoy her birthday! She rocks! "literally" 😎

Tickets are available at TICKETFLY , location 515 West McDonough Street, Decatur, Georgia 30030. 

Also we have another great local artist in Fluff Whatley, a fine Covingtonian, and one half of the group Whiskey Bent. With quite the enjoyable entertainment, these guys will be at Amici Friday night @7pm. Come eat some great Italian food and listen to some great American music. 


And last but not least, if you don't feel like waiting till Valentine's for those yummy delicious chocolates, the Covington Square is having a chocolate walk where you can indulge in chocolate provided by the squares retail merchants whilst viewing their store and merchandise! It's a great way to get to know the locals and get your chocolate fix at the same time! Hope to see y'all there!!! 
Saturday 7-9 pm.

That'll do it for this time!

- Kayla Leasure

Author of TPC recurring piece, "Kayla's Corner," Ms. Leasure is originally a Walton Co. gal who studied marketing & advertising & loves the beach, the woods & her dogs while keeping herself busy with multiple projects & endeavors. She has her finger on the pulse of the home county like no other & is always "keeping an eye on Covington." A beautiful lady, inside & out, it is The Chronicles' true privilege to have her talents as part of our team. 
Kayla's Corner - Keeping an Eye on Covington