DACULA, Ga. – The latest episode of ‘Acoustic Music Talk’ with Brad Apple has officially dropped, with Russ Tanner of the Skillet Lickers as his latest guest. Russ and Brad discuss Skillet Lickers history, the current iteration of the band, country music’s Georgia roots, and much more in this nearly hour-long interview.
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – In this small, picturesque North Georgia town nestled in the heart of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Friday nights are a sacred tradition for hundreds throughout the summer and early fall.
On the square, inside the historic Union County Courthouse, the former chambers turn into a mountain music venue, featuring some of the region’s best Bluegrass, Folk, and Old Time artists and bands from May through October. It’s a tradition that has stood for decades – and a tradition that has always concluded each year with a Skillet Licker performance on the last Friday in October.
“The band looked a lot different then, but I can vividly remember playing the Courthouse in the 1990’s with Art [Rosenbaum], Doug [Landress], Joe [Miller], and Russ [Tanner],” recalls Phil Tanner, guitarist and grandson of Skillet Lickers founder Gid Tanner, who also performed in the historic venue more than 75 years ago.
The Courthouse is always filled to capacity for the series finale with the Skillet Lickers each year. In fact, some fans arrive as early as three hours or more before show time to ensure they receive a prime seat in the courthouse. Employees with the Union County Historical Society, who occupy the courthouse, are known to close doors to the courthouse as early as 30-45 minutes prior to showtime due to maximum capacity, forcing some fans to listen from the downstairs lobby.
Joel Aderhold, banjo player for the group, says the passion the Blairsville crowd brings each year is not lost on the band. “The audience is always very enthusiastic and being at arms length away helps the band feel their energy.”
Aderhold also says the history of the building means a lot to the Skillet Lickers, “knowing that many of the first generation country music groups such as The Monroe Brothers, The Blue Sky Boys, and the [original] Skillet Lickers played there, adds an additional measure of enjoyment to playing there.”
“It’s certainly a highlight of the year for us… we could have a date on the calendar to play in front of thousands, but we always look forward to Blairsville,” says Russ Tanner, band leader and fourth-generation Skillet Licker. “It really is our favorite night of the year, next to Christmas Eve. The people are so hosptiable, so much fun to play for, and they’re not going to want to miss out on this year’s show. We may just have a surprise that everyone will want to see and hear.”
The Skillet Lickers, now in their 94th year, will perform at the historic Union County Courthouse, located at 1 Town Square, Blairsville, GA on Friday, October 25, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free, however, fans are encouraged to arrive early to ensure seating.
ATLANTA – The Skillet Lickers, in conjunction with Save 152 Nassau and DSW Whiskey Exchange, have announced details for an Atlanta watch party of Ken Burns’s new PBS docuseries, ‘Country Music’. The documentary will highlight Country music’s rich history from its inception to the 1990’s and running every Sunday night throughout the fall.
The first episode will run on Sunday, September 15th at 8 p.m. In anticipation of the nationwide series premiere, Save 152 Nassau, an Atlanta-based organization devoted to saving Country music’s – and the South’s – first recording studio from demolition, has organized a watch party at DSW Whiskey Exchange near Atlanta’s West End neighborhood.
The Skillet Lickers are slated to perform at 6 p.m. in ASW’s Tasting Room with the documentary showing beginning at 8 p.m. in the Barrel Room. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to Atlanta Music Project – a nearby non-profit that provides free music education to underserved youth.
“We’re excited to be a part of this event,” says Russ Tanner of the Skillet Lickers. “First of all, we’re all excited about seeing this new series, but it’s pretty cool to be able to perform ahead of it in the city where Country music truly began – and the Skillet Lickers began – all while supporting Save 152 Nassau, who are working to save the building home to the first Country music recording of all time. It’s pretty cool to have all of this come together for one great event.”
DSW Whiskey Distillery is located at 1000 White Street, Atlanta, GA 30310. The event is open to the public and family-friendly.
SAN ANTONIO, Tx. – It’s been 85 years since Gid Tanner and his 17 year old son Gordon Tanner, along with the rest of the newly reassembled Skillet Lickers, made the roughly 1,000-mile drive from Atlanta, Georgia to the Gunter Hotel in downtown San Antonio, Texas. The group, which had disbanded in 1931, but reformed three years later for one final session with RCA, recorded what was undoubtedly their most successful album of all. The session, which featured the ‘Down Yonder’ and ‘Back Up and Push’ album sold millions in the middle of the Great Depression and set a new standard for American Country music.
A new chapter in the story was written on Wednesday afternoon as Russ Tanner, fiddle and bow in hand, walked into the historic Gunter Hotel (now operated by Sheraton) on E. Houston Street.
Russ became the first Skillet Licker to perform in the historic building since Gid and Gordon nearly a century ago.
Watch the video below:
CANTON, Ga.– Country music’s longest running band, the Skillet Lickers, in conjunction with the Canton Theatre, have announced the band’s return to beautiful Canton, Georgia for their latest production, ‘Glory, Glory’ at the historic Canton Theatre for three fun-filled shows on Friday, November 16that 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 17that 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The historic group, founded in 1926 and spanning four generations, will tell the story of Georgia’s rich musical heritage by performing Skillet Licker favorites and classics from Georgia music greats such as Ray Charles, Jerry Reed, the Allman Brothers, Bill Anderson, Chet Atkins, and more.
“Being a band that originated in Georgia and one that continues over 90 years later in the same area, we’ve seen a lot of great artists across all musical genres that were born and raised right here in Georgia,” said Russ Tanner, leader of the modern day Skillet Lickers. “For this production, we not only want to tell our story, but give the audience a glimpse into Georgia’s rich musical tradition while putting our own Skillet Licker spin on it.”
From a banjo and mandolin to electric guitar and drums to even a saxophone, this show is expected to be one of the Skillet Lickers’ most diverse in terms musical selection and is sure to have something for everyone to enjoy.
Tickets for the show are just $15 and are on sale now at the Canton Theatre or by calling 770-704-0755. The Canton Theatre is located at 171 E. Main Street, Canton, GA. For additional information on the Skillet Lickers, visit www.skilletlickers.org.
Skillet Licker fandom spreads far and wide. Even 94 years after his first recordings with Riley Puckett in 1924, Gid Tanner’s legacy continues to live on and thrive around the globe, even in the unlikeliest of places — like a Swedish tattoo parlor.
Olle Strandberg is a 75-year-old old-time fiddler from Stockholm, Sweden. As years passed and as he continued to master the art of fiddling, his fascination into American folk and old-time music continued to grow. He became very familiar with Skillet Licker classics of the 1920’s and ’30s and learned these early favorites on his fiddle. As he learned more and more of the Skillet Licker tunes, his love for the old-time band and its historic legacy grew. In fact, it grew so much that he felt inclined to get a tattoo of the late Gid Tanner — patriarch of the original Skillet Licker group on his upper right bicep with the inscription “Gid is my co-pilot” underneath an image of the iconic fiddler.
The picture and wording was taken from a popular Skillet Licker t-shirt. It’s probably safe to say it was the first and only Gid Tanner tattoo drawn by the tattoo artist in Stockholm.
Strandberg, a retired photographer and father of two, stopped by the ‘Chicken House’ in Dacula to check out the many different Skillet Licker artifacts and jam with Phil Tanner, Russ Tanner, and Larry Nash of the current day Skillet Lickers for the better part of Sunday evening. Strandberg also visited the grave of Gid Tanner, located at Hebron Church in Dacula.
Strandberg says he visits the United States on occasion and visits old-time music festivals along the way. “Everywhere I go … every time I go ply somewhere … I have to go around showing off this tattoo like this,” Strandberg remarked while laughing as he exposed his tattoo while reaching out his arm. “Everyone just loves it.”