27 February 2023

A Monday Check-in from your Semi-esteemed Editor: Big Things Poppin' at TPC; Odds & Ends

 Greetings, Fearless Piedmonteers, and welcome back to the fun house! 

First off, your feedback & support for TPC returning to its former glory has been very humbling & is much appreciated. As always, it's all about you, Dear Reader, and it really means a lot. 

Also, a specific thanks to Greg Rogers & Five O'Clock Bar & Grill for advertising w/ us again. This was our first marketing campaign in almost two years & the first one since TPC has gotten back to business. Thanks so much, Greg. And remember folks - The Five is your go-to place in C-Town for live music & has some of the best grub in town. 

As a few of you may have noticed, we've been running some of our greatest hits here lately. We plan to continue to do so over the coming weeks & months. Our most recent, and one of my all time favorites, is Da's wonderful piece about The Lost Boys & The Last Days of Wiffleball. Dang thing gets me a bit teary eyed every time I read it. 

Speaking of Da, aka: Ellis Millsaps, our Editor Emeritus, we've been having weekly strategy sessions that have resulted in lots of cigarettes & cigars being smoked as well as some vodka & brandy imbibed. And...that's really about it, other than solving all of the world's problems while strengthening our already-robust Mutual Admiration Society. 

But I digress. The big news is that Ellis is working on a trilogy pertaining to a fond remembrance of a situation possibly involving Russians & a truckload of some "Kansas Shitweed." Look for Part I w/in the next week or so. Personally, I'm pumped

Switching gears, and even more exciting (sorry, Da), is imminent return of Kayla's Corner! Yes indeed, you read that correctly, Kayla is returning to the fold for a featured monthly column. First one should hit w/in a week or so. 

And a moment for your truly as well. I've been getting major compliments on returning to my music roots. Several of you really enjoyed the Amy Rae piece & I'm so glad you did. By all accounts she rocked the house again this past Saturday. If you missed it, fret not, she'll be back before too long & I'll let you know about it. And look for the return of The Music Minute this upcoming Thursday to get the 411 where live music is happening. 

Also, both of my 1880s Covington Murder on The Square pieces were quite popular. Thanks again. 

A final thought & this is one that one of our readers sent in.

What's up w/ the local governments doing as little as possible when it comes to the downed trees from that heavy weather a few weeks back? That one on Hwy 36 I almost ran into. Twice! Was like that all over the home county. I can kind of get a state highway where GDOT is involved but we also saw it w/ our county highways & city streets as well. They should at least be getting that stuff completely off the right-of-way. Not just six inches off the road shoulder. 

I'm in full agreement. 

Okay for now & as always - thanks for reading. 

- MB McCart 


25 February 2023

[Past Piedmont Chronicles] - Ellis Millsaps: The Lost Boys & The Last Days of Wiffleball: A Love Story

 *ed. note: Da originally wrote this piece on his blog some years back & I posted it here once several years back. Truly a great piece, we both thought it'd be a good one to share again here at TPC. Enjoy! - MBM

By: Ellis Millsaps

     Boys come to my house in the middle of the night. I call them boys. They're in their mid-twenties. They were boys when I met them, and boys they remain.   
      They come in my bedroom at 1:00 A.M. exhorting Da to get up and play with them. Sometimes I do when I don't need to be up early. They consume everything consumable that they don't have to cook. When they leave it's as if a swarm of locusts has passed through. Empty husks are strewn everywhere.

       But to understand about the lost boys and why I call them such, you first need to know about.                                             
The Last Days of Wiffleball: A Love Story
         We played wiffleball at least once a week for three or four years. We started as soon as it was warm enough and continued until it was too cold. It was never too hot and it took a lot of rain to stop us.
        The players were me, my son and from three to twenty boys in their early twenties, occasionally a female or two. 
       Some of them had spent a lot of time at my house; most I had known since they were little; all were and are my friends. I could bore you to tears explaining our game and its elaborate rules-- how to turn a double play, (Base runners were all imaginary. There was diving by the intrepid defense in each game, but no base running.) how the cedar tree in left center (the green monster) came into play, but suffice it to say that we kept meticulous statistics and published them weekly on the interweb. And we lived from one wiffleball day to the next.
         People regularly drove from Athens and Atlanta to play our game. I remember Daniel Lanford saying more than once that wiffleball was the only event he looked forward to. He usually followed by saying how this showed that he had no life, but I knew at the time he meant he loved us and there was no place he'd rather be. We all felt that way.
           Until the very end, almost all the boys who played this game had grown up together, gone to school together, played rec ball together, climbed the water tower together. The last summer of wiffleball, the game had grown by word of mouth to include boys some of us had never met. So many that no one got to play that much.
         We all thought, the original wiffleball "core" that is, that the next year we'd politely rid ourselves of the new kids and reinstate our old game. That was two years ago. There's been no game since. What happened was that most of them got jobs, went off to graduate school, got demanding girlfriends that weren't of our circle, in short, grew up.
          We didn't realize that last summer was the end of childhood for us. That summer was the last time this circle of friends would be together. Oh, a lot of them will still get together at the Christmas holiday but it will never be the same as the summers of wiffleball, more like a class reunion instead.

          They all grew up except the few who were left behind, the lost boys who raid my refrigerator in the night. They roam the Newton County night looking for what has been lost, and although I go to bed on time, I’m not blind to the fact that I’m also one of the lost and left behind.

Contributing Writer to the Piedmont Chronicles

Ellis "Da" Millsaps 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... 

23 February 2023

Amy Rae Ready to Once Again Rock Out The Five: Country Rock Singer Talks About Her Music, Upcoming Show & the Road Ahead

By: MB McCart, Ed. 

Amy Rae

Two words.

The One & Only. 

I'm tempted to just simply leave it at that... 

But seriously, some of you remember Amy's meteoric rise from a few years ago. Back in the day, starting in 2015, she took the local scene by absolute storm & continued to do so for several years playing high energy full-band rock shows as well as showcasing a softer side w/ her impressive acoustic gigs. 

It was the full package. An incredible voice. Great stage presence. 

A few of you may recall how I wrote about her multiple times in my old Covington News column as well as here in this space a time or two. 

This Girl was on fire! Getting airplay on 101.5 FM, playing multiple gigs all over the place while releasing some incredible original material

Then Amy took a break from the music to become a Mom. After a few years, the kiddos were old enough for her to be comfortable playing live music again & now she's back! 

Amy Rae
Live @ The Five! 

7189 Turner Lake Rd 
Covington, GA 30014

She started getting back into the groove about a year ago. Last month she played a show at Five O'Clock that absolutely blew the roof off the place. Folks were raving! Greg & the crew were so impressed that they scheduled her throughout the rest of the year & are very much hoping that she'll be playing their well-known & legendary New Year's Eve bash this year. 

Amy Rae

I had a chance to catch up w/ Amy the other day for our first interview in almost five years. As always, it was a great conversation in which we discussed many things. 

First off, we talked about the band. Just like in the old days, she's got the Brothers Meredith - Jordan & Jonah - on bass & drums, respectively. These guys are truly a superior rhythm section and Amy & I discussed the fact that them being brothers probably plays a role into how well they are able to lock in & become one as that driving rhythmic force of the group. 

Guitarist Taylor McCurley, also a superb musician, rounds out the regular crew of the ARB (Amy Rae Band) while Steve Martin is on as a hired gun for this one as a second guitarist. 

Amy spoke of how much she loves the dual guitar attack. 

"It just really opens things up & expands the sound so much." She went on to add the compliment - "my guys are great! They are all so good & I'm happy to have them." 

As many know, while Amy loves Country & many of her influences are of that genre & a good bit of her original material could be said to be in that vein her true passion is R O C K! And that's really a good bit of what you'll be hearing on Friday night. 

Speaking of the show, this writer was able to get a sneak peak of the set list & it's pretty great! 


For starters, and this is one that is gathering quite a reputation around town, they do this killer version of Folsom Prison Blues that morphs into a Gospel Medley that apparently had some folks at the last show they did feeling the Holy Spirit. 

The one that absolutely blew this writer away when she told me about it is Whitesnake's Still of the Night. I mean, who covers that? Who could even pull if off? Well, the Amy Rae Band can... 

Really, Amy's set list is a true fusion mix. It really runs the entire gambit. Classic Rock. Funk. Country. Alt-Rock & Grunge. You name it. I won't give it away but they're even doing a well known Hip-Hop track w/ a Rock revamp. Seriously, folks, you don't want to miss this one. 

Known for her High Energy & Searing Vocals as well as her Top-Notch Band!

We also spoke about the aforementioned show from last month that everyone flipped over. 

"It was an awesome feeling," Rae said, adding, "the positive feedback, that great energy...it meant so much." 

We went on to talk about the current state of all things Amy Rae as well as the road ahead. 

"It's a funny business (playing live music), you've always got to stay humble but to always keep the mindset of keeping it real...You can't please everyone...I'm me. I'm real. that's just how it's got to be." 

Amen, Sister. Amen. You got to. 

Moving forward, Amy is about to start collaborating w/ her old songwriting partner, Joe Duke, and is planning to get in the studio before too long & will be releasing a new EP at some point in 2023. 

That's very exciting & this writer is glad to hear it. 

Magnificently Talented! About to Begin Work on New Material!

You can hear some of Amy's wonderful originals at her website - AmyRaeMusic.com. And you can keep up to date w/ recent news & upcoming shows at her Facebook page

So again, that's 9pm Friday February 24th at Five O'Clock Bar & Grill. 

Until next time, 

21 February 2023

Past Piedmont Chronicles: The Ballad of Buster Chadwick

 ~originally published in 2012~

Ed. note: This remains as one of my all time favorite pieces that I've ever written. It was so great interviewing Mr. Buster for this wonderful story of a man whose life truly coincided w/ the Country & Western genre. He would die the following year in June of 2013. RIP, Buster Chadwick. - MBM 

The story of Buster Chadwick, a Newton Co. resident, is a fascinating tale of a man and his music; a very interesting life that coincided with the development of Country & Western music as the major, established genre that it would later become.

Mr. Buster's story starts in Sulphur Springs, AL in 1929 where he and his Mother lived until his Grandfather passed away in 1939. Apparently, somebody had mentioned that you were to shoot a gun three times to honor the recently deceased. So naturally, to a ten year old boy, this seemed like the thing to do. He got a gun but actually loaded it twice and then used a stick to pull the trigger. The gun popped back and knocked Buster down. As he later said, “It's a wonder I'm alive today.”

He and his Mother would later move to Rising Fawn, GA and it was there that Buster got his first guitar and started to develop his love for music and singing. At this time, there was a show called “The Grand Pappy Show”on an AM radio station coming out of Tennessee that featured music ranging from Chet Atkins to The Louvin Brothers. It was this show that would light the fire of Buster's musical passions. He was also a huge fan of The Carter Family as well. Soon thereafter, he got his first guitar and hit the ground running.

He decided to quit school in the 8th grade in order to pursue music full-time. His first regular gig was at a venue called the Wagon Wheel where he played every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evening making a dollar per night.

During this era, in which Country Western music really started to get big, you did two things as a practicing musician. You played as many shows as you could, and you also would try to get a regular gig at one of the local AM radio stations. Mr. Buster would join up with an outfit known as The Koffie Cup Hawaiians that had a regular show on WDOD out of Tennessee. In addition to the radio show, the group would also play all over the Southeast opening for the likes of Country legends such as Roy Acuff, Bob Wells, and Eddy Arnold.

This is a good time for a quick aside. There's a line in the movie, “The Blues Brothers,” when the waitress says something like, “oh, we play both kinds of music—Country and Western.” That's a funny line from a very funny movie but that distinction is quite real. Country Western, also known as Country & Western, or Western Swing, is very much a different genre from Country music. Country is bluegrass- based; Country & Western is Western Swing-based. Mr Buster will let you know right quick about that distinction and that he is a Country & Western man.

But back to our story, after the Koffie Cup Hawaiians, Mr. Buster did his own thing during the mid to late 1940's playing around the South with a mix of different musicians. At one show, a young gal by the name of Dottie West opened for him.

In 1949 Mr. Buster got married, started a family, and decided to get a regular job. He was thinking that he was done with the music business, but the music business was not quite done with him. The 2nd act of his musical life started with a phone call from a group out of Chicago that did sort of a “Lawrence Welk type of thing.” It paid $100 a week...really good money at the time. But after a couple of months, Buster just couldn't stand it anymore—he missed his Country roots. Later, he would actually join a traveling carnival as a featured musician. He wasn't able to stomach that for very long either and quit in between stops in Alabama and decided to walk and hitchhike his way back home. One night he actually had to sleep with his guitar in a ditch! Now that's Country!

After a while, Buster got back into radio doing music with a new group on WATL in Atlanta, GA. This would start his Georgia connection. It was a pretty good gig and the band would also tour pretty extensively during this time of the mid to late 1950's. By the way, the announcer for that station in Atlanta? Mr. 16 Tons himself, Tennessee Ernie Ford.


Five O'Clock Sports Bar & Grill

7189 Turner Lake Rd 
Covington, GA 30014
Visit Their Webpage



By 1960, Mr. Buster figured he was done with music for good. The time had come, he felt, to concentrate more on becoming a businessman and raising his family. He loved music but just felt like he needed to do something more stable to be the father and husband that he wanted to be.

But...the musical ballad of Buster Chadwick had another chapter coming down the pike. In the mid 1970's, after he had done well for himself in the business world and raised a wonderful family, Mr. Buster decided he had to get the music going again. He started a band called The Peachtree Playboys that mainly played political events in and around Atlanta. In 1986 the band was tapped to do The Wild Hog Supper, the Georgia Legislature's annual throw-down. This gig would last for 20 years up until just a few years ago. During one of these shows, Mr. Lester Maddox, the former Georgia Governor, jumped up onstage and played harmonica with the band for a few tunes and brought the house down! In 1993 Mr. Buster was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame. It was a great accomplishment for a man who was involved with the genre from its earliest days.

I truly hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. I just felt like it was a good story about a good man, and it was one that I wanted to share with you. I'd also like to thank Buster's lovely wife Linda who helped facilitate the interview and helped get me the pictures. Until next time...

- MB McCart 

16 February 2023

Big Weekend at The Five - C-Town's Live Music Destination Location

By: MB McCart, Ed. 

Welcome  back to TPC, friends, and we're so glad you could join us once again. 

In the midst of our current advertising campaign w/ Five O'Clock Sports Bar & Grill we wanted to take a moment to relay to you their impressive lineup of live music for this upcoming weekend of February 17th thru the 19th. 

Friday February 17th - Upgrade Band - Real Deal R&B and Soul Music | 9pm

This crew is known all over the Atlanta Metro area & for good reason. 

They're A M A Z I N G! 

70s & 80s Soul & R&B? Check. Pop music from multiple decades? You know it. 

These guys are the TRUTH! I'm planning on attending this one. Maybe I'll see you there...

Saturday February 18th - Chris, Jon & Scott | 9pm

As I wrote about a few years ago, I'm really thinking that Christon might be an angel or something. He's simply amazing. Jon & Scott Lansburg are incredible on guitar & bass, respectively. 

In many ways, this might be the best band in the home county. 

They can do 70s Classic Rock; 60s & 70s Soul & R&B; 80s Rock as well as 90s & New Millenium Alt-Rock; maybe even some Michael Jackson. 

They're simply the best. 


Sunday February 19th - Hunter Grayson | 3-6pm

This fella has been impressing folks for years. 

With an impressive voice, good guitar playing & true Country bonafides, Hunter is the real deal. 

**Also, this**

Homeslice is going to be the star of the new FOX reality show - "Farmer Wants a Wife

You'll be able to see him on the ole teevee here in about a month or so. 

Come see him do his thing & meet him before he becomes crazy famous. 

7189 Turner Lake Rd 
Covington, GA 30014

Covington, GA's Live Music Destination Location

Man, what a weekend of talent! Not to mention that 5's got some of the best grub in town & such a friendly staff. 

Ease on down & join Greg, Lisa & the rest of the gang this weekend - I believe you'll be glad you did. 

Until next time, 

- MBM 

12 February 2023

[The Esoteric South @ TPC] - Talkin' Southern

 *originally published in 2016 at the Covington News & also The Esoteric South 

By: MB McCart, Ed. 

Talkin' Southern 

Living, working and growing up in the South, I love the sights of our region. The magnolias are distinctive and the weather is always warm keeping things lush and green most of the year.
But there are also the sounds to enjoy, too. And I’m not talking about the cicadas in the summer and the marching bands and referees whistles of fall’s football season. I’m talking about the way us Southerners talk.
Here are a few examples I’ve noticed throughout the years, and I’m sure you can relate to.
Fellow vs. Feller vs. Fella
While these three terms may all seem similar there are very important differences between them to the trained ears of a Southerner.
fellow is a righteous and honorable sort. He is a man that aspires to greatness and a true gentleman who always wants to do things the right way. A fellow pretty much always does the right thing, even when it isn't popular. Fellows are usually very hard workers and always take the high road. They can easily deny their own ego and self-interests and work hard to be the men they're supposed to be.
feller, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of everything I just mentioned. Fellers are a shifty, seedy and shady bunch. Prone to backsliding, they're always looking for the easy way out and in doing as little as possible to maintain. A feller having scruples and honor? Not hardly. Basically fellers are just good ole-fashioned no-accounts. It's all about them; they care nothing of honor or doing the right thing.
fella, the category that this writer — and most of us, I think, for that matter — belongs to, is someone who tries very hard to be a fellow but has the tendency, at times, to be a feller. We can touch greatness and are usually doing things the right way, giving us a shade of being a fellow. However, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves from getting out of our own way, unfortunately finding ourselves as fellers some of the time. Hey, it happens. As Ray Goff would say, we just try to "work hard to get better." Usually we do okay; sometimes it depends on the weather. Or the state of the world, or how much bourbon we've consumed, or how the Georgia Bulldogs are doing in a given season and whether or not we lose to Auburn, Florida or Tech.
Bonus: A felon is a fella or a feller, and sometimes — very rarely — a fellow, who gets caught and convicted by the Law, for a serious example of being a feller.

This Article Sponsored by...

7189 Turner Lake Rd 
Covington, GA 30014

Covington, GA's Live Music Destination Location

11 February 2023

Sunday Edition: Around Town; The Nightlife; Odds & Ends

 This Sunday Edition of TPC's Sunday Edition Proudly Presented by... 

Five O'Clock Sports Bar & Grill

7189 Turner Lake Rd 
Covington, GA 30014
Visit Their Webpage



12 February '23 

By: MB McCart, Ed. 

Around Town 

To get a feel for the changes & growth presently occurring in the home city all one need do is to just simply drive around & look.

Over on the west side of town we see a new car wash going vertical next to the Zaxby's in front of the old K-Mart shopping center. 

Yep, that's right. We'll now have three in the home city once it opens. But you see how busy the other two stay, right? I imagine they'll do a pretty good business. 

And across the street from there, the newest next-to-newest urgent health care operation opened up months ago. 

So, I believe that's four of those now in the city limits? 


But how 'bout that Publix, though. Everybody's real excited about that. And for good cause. It's an incredible store. I've been there five times already. I really like their mini-shrimp cocktail. You get about 15 shrimp w/ some really good cocktail sauce for five bucks. Not too shabby. I understand their Sushi is pretty impressive as well. Will check that out & get back to you. 


Everybody's pissed about all of these damned apartments, yours truly included. 

Again, as I've written about previously, you've got your semi-esteemed Covington City Council to thank for these newest apartments, all 300 of them, even though staff recommended denial & the city had no legal cause to approve the zoning amendment. 

Thank goodness a particular subset of the home city folks "took back their city" a few years ago, right? 

I tried to tell some of you folks, but you never listen. That's okay. I'm still pulling for you...

And a quick sidebar. While several folks played a role in Covington finally getting the Publix, two in particular were key. 

Former Mayor Ronnie Johnston & former East Ward Councilman Josh McKelvey did as much as anyone to bring this to fruition.

This was truly years in the making. 

Documented fact. 

And then my mind turns to a current council member who famously called the main number of Publix's HQ a few years back to ask if to they were indeed coming to the home city. They, of course, said they couldn't comment on it, so then Fleeta posted on FB  that this was incontrovertible proof that Publix WASN'T coming. 

Lol. So dumb. 

But, here's the rub. 

The aforementioned new housing units  & Publix finally becoming a reality are actually interconnected. It's a numbers game for Publix. They do demographic studies, and it wasn't until the home city hit a certain number of households would they pull the trigger. 

It's never easy, is it? 

Same thing w/ the Panda Express & the much-anticipated What-a-Burger. You've got to have a certain number. Olive Garden? Same thing. 

What's the other big thing that many want? 

Yep, you guessed it.


We'll likely need a few thousand more housing units until we meet their criteria. 

That's the thing. 

You want the Publix & the Target?

You gotta have a certain number. They do demo analysis. Simple as that. 


Going back to that certain group of folks getting everything wrong. 

That crowd all said for years that the 3 Ring Studios would NEVER happen. Furthermore, most of them said it was simply a front for Islamic terrorists and/or a way for Ronnie to line his pockets. 

Have you driven down John Williams Hwy lately? 


And in the words of DJ Khaled - "Another One!" 

How about them saying that if only you elected their crew back in the 2019 municipal election then everything would be solved? 

You remember that...? 

Yeah, I didn't think so; however, I've got receipts. There's a lot of you folks who royally messed up. 

You would think that these people would tire of getting everything wrong all of the time.

They never do, though. 


The Nightlife 

While there are other venues & establishments doing live music these days in & around the home county they are currently not advertising w/ me so I'll just be concentrating on Five O'Clock Bar & Grill for this edition. 


For the record, w/ the recent restart of TPC, I will be bringing back Marshall's Music Minute to start up here in a couple of weeks in which I will be covering live music at multiple other places just like I used to do back in the day. So, stay tuned for that. 

Friday February 17th - Upgrade Band - Real Deal R&B and Soul Music | 9pm

This crew is known all over the Atlanta Metro area & for good reason. 

They're A M A Z I N G! 

70s & 80s Soul & R&B? Check. Pop music from multiple decades? You know it. 

These guys are the TRUTH! I'm planning on attending this one. Maybe I'll see you there...

Saturday February 18th - Chris, Jon & Scott | 9pm

As I wrote about a few years ago, I'm really thinking that Christon might be an angel or something. He's simply amazing. Jon & Scott Lansburg are incredible on guitar & bass, respectively. 

In many ways, this might be the best band in the home county. 

They can do 70s Classic Rock; 60s & 70s Soul & R&B; 80s Rock as well as 90s & New Millenium Alt-Rock; maybe even some Michael Jackson. 

They're simply the best. 


Sunday February 19th - Hunter Grayson | 3-6pm

This fella has been impressing folks for years. 

With an impressive voice, good guitar playing & true Country bonafides, Hunter is the real deal. 

**Also, this**

Homeslice is going to be the star of the new FOX reality show - "Farmer Wants a Wife

You'll be able to see him on the ole teevee here in about a month or so. 

Come see him do his thing & meet him before he becomes crazy famous. 

Odds & Ends

Let me be your Real Estate Guy

Ole Hwy 36, as evidenced by its number, is supposed to be an east-west state highway, but as we all know - once you get past Jackson, it's very much a north-south highway. 


Yesterday, around 5pm, the sun poked out during that continuous rain we had. As the Old Folks would've said - "The Devil was beating his wife." 

Some of you, those who've been in the South for awhile, have heard that old expression. What I want to know, however, is what's the backstory behind this one? Very random; very specific. What gives? 


And finally this. Our federal government & state government - and to a certain extent - our county & city governments , are mainly run by idiots &/or sociopaths who seemingly hate us.

As always, thanks for reading. 

- MB McCart 

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