The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 1

A Day in the North Georgia Mountains
By Art Rosenbaum
Clint Ledford, Ed Teague, Art Rosenbaum. Photo by Margo Newmark Rosenbaum

October 15, 2011.

When my wife Margo and I arrived at the Hambidge Center in Rabun County, Georgia, for its Great ArtDoors Festival, along with our friends, elderly ballad-singing sisters Mary Lomax and Bonnie Loggins, we were greeted by Jamie Badoud, the Center’s young director. “We ordered up a perfect day,” Jamie said, and he was right: a cloudless cerulean blue sky brought full brilliance to the fall colors of the trees on the mountain ridges flanking the valley. A blend of the arts and crafts encouraged by the center, an infusion from the Atlanta contemporary arts scene, and traditional as well as contemporary music, were the order of the day. When we arrived the Tony Bryant Blues Band was taking their break, and I had a few minutes to chat with Tony. He is a powerful and dedicated performer of the old east-of-Atlanta acoustic blues: his great-grandmother, Savannah “Dip” Weaver was mentor to Barbecue Bob Hicks and his brother Charlie Hicks (AKA Charlie Lincoln), as well as to her son, Curley Weaver—all to become influential artists of the early recording era.  Curley’s daughter, Tony’s mother, was Cora Mae “Sweet Petunia” Bryant, a feisty singer and homegrown blues historian.  Tony was hawking his aptly-named CD, “Blues By Blood.”  When Tony’s band took the stage again, their music added another layer to the mélange of cultures and art forms, which also included a stilt-walker in a flamingo costume, a gymnast/dancer in leotard, and white-bearded Atlanta film-maker George King grabbing video footage. At the food area, corn-dogs and deep-fried mountain trout offerings jostled for attention with tempeh barbecue.


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