DACULA, Ga. – A staple of the modern-day Skillet Lickers, Fleet Stanley, longtime dobro player for the band, passed away on Monday. Known for his impeccable musical talent, his silk smooth voice, and infectious, warm, hospitable personality, Stanley was known as much for his presence off the stage as he was for his musicianship. This persona made Stanley loved with people of all kinds and attracted even the youngest of fans.

Stanley grew up in Dacula, attending Dacula High School and performing frequently with Phil Tanner and Larry Nash for over a half century. When his work with the FBI called him away from home, Stanley never lost touch with his friends or the music he loved, returning to Georgia frequently to perform with his old friends.

Songs such as “Maggie”, “Lorena”, and “Wabash Cannonball” will forever be synonymous with Fleet Stanley. His distinct voice, coupled with the smooth slide of his dobro will always hold a place in the hearts of so many.

Stanley was also a staple at the “Chicken House,” the site of the band’s weekly Friday night jam session which saw musicians of all kinds gathering together to perform classic Skillet Lickers songs and other favorites. For his two decades post-retirement, Stanley would drive an hour-and-a-half from his mountain home each Friday night to participate in the often-lengthy jams, which would often last well into the night.

One of Stanley’s more recent highlights of his musical career was performing in “Smoke on the Mountain” and “Sanders Family Christmas,” two musicals that took place at the Cumming Playhouse from 2015-2018. Not only was he known to love the wholesome productions himself, but his greatest memory was the camaraderie and fellowship among the cast of the show every night.

Stanley’s love for music would only be surpassed by his love for his wife of over 57 years, Kay Stanley. The two were nearly always seen together at shows, supporting one another with a love that was unrivaled.

Plans are currently in the works for a special, extended virtual tribute show. More details will be announced in the coming days on SkilletLickers.org and the Skillet Lickers Facebook page.

In the meantime, current members of the band have issued the following statements on Stanley’s passing:

“Of all the people who have been a part of the “Skillet Licker Family” no one loved music more than Fleet. He’s the guy that was willing to drive 12 hours to play a 30 minute show. We are all really going to miss him. He had the ability to take an old song and sing it in a way that made it new every time you heard him sing it. Whether it be a gospel song or country ballad Fleet had his heart in every song he sang. He was just one of those people who make you feel what he was singing, not just hear it. Thank you Fleet for your years of friendship and music. You made us all better.” – RUSS TANNER

“So saddened to hear of Fleet’s passing. He was the first dobro player that I ever played with and had his own style. A lot of good musical memories over the past 50 odd years. He will definitely be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.” – LARRY NASH

“I have enjoyed Fleet’s friendship and playing music with him for the last twenty years. His absence has left a void in our music and fellowship since the time he became unable to perform. So long old friend. We’ll see you on the other side.” – JOEL ADERHOLD

“We’ve been long time friends from high school, our families were so close, and we enjoyed our many times together playing music. I will always hold those memories close.” – PHIL TANNER

The Skillet Lickers have announced the launch of a new, limited-edition podcast, “Fiddles and Friends: The Skillet Lickers Story”. Hosted by patriarch Phil Tanner, the show will tell the story of Country music’s longest running band and first supergroup in chronological order, from the early 20th century to the modern day.

The podcast, which will be available on Apple Podcasts and SkilletLickers.org, will officially launch on Wednesday, March 17th with new episodes every two weeks. The current schedule of shows is as follows:

MARCH 17Episode 1: Gid Tanner’s upbringing, Riley Puckett, and the pre-Skillet Lickers days

MARCH 31Episode 2: The Original Skillet Lickers (1926-1930) and the rise to fame

APRIL 14Episode 3: Original Skillet Lickers band member profiles

APRIL 28Episode 4: San Antonio Sessions and the million-seller that changed Country music

MAY 12Episode 5: Gid Tanner’s later years

MAY 26Episode 6: Gordon Tanner and the Junior Skillet Lickers

JUNE 9Episode 7: The “Chicken House” and the Dacula legacy

JUNE 23Episode 8: Modern Day Skillet Lickers (feat. Russ Tanner)

HIAWASEE, Ga. — Join the Skillet Lickers for their one and only show of 2020, taking place at the Mountain Home Music Theater in beautiful downtown Hiawasee, GA on Halloween night!

It’s been nearly one year since the band took the stage in front of a live audience, and at long last, they will finally be back! Necessary precautions related to COVID-19 will be taken to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Masks are required and social distancing will be observed.

Admission is $8 at the door, children 10 and under are free. The night begins at 7pm with the house band, followed by the Skillet Lickers shortly thereafter. This is the one and only opportunity for you to catch the band live and in person in 2020 so don’t miss out!

The show marks the band’s first in-person, physical performance (aside from the band’s weekly virtual shows), since their sold-out show in nearby Blairsville in late October 2019.

Additional information on the show and venue can be found at mthomemusictheatre.weebly.com.

*The band and venue asks that if you are in a high-risk category related to COVID-19, are susceptible to the virus, have any pre-existing conditions, or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 to please stay home and instead, enjoy the band’s virtual show on Sunday night, November 1.

DACULA, Ga. – For the next eight weeks, ‘Skillet Lickers Live,’ the band’s weekly digital concert series is presented exclusively by the Efstration for House, Inc., the campaign to re-elect Rep. Chuck Efstration to the Georgia State House.

“Chuck has been a great friend of ours through the years and has done tremendous work not just for our community here in Gwinnett, but for the state as a whole,” said Russ Tanner of the Skillet Lickers. “We are grateful for his support and friendship through the years and are proud to not only support him, but also grateful to have him be the presenting sponsor of our digital shows for the next two months.”

Efstration, a Dacula native, represents portions of eastern Gwinnett in the Georgia House, including Dacula, Hamilton Mill, Hoschton, Lawrenceville, and Auburn. Election Day is slated for Tuesday, November 3.

‘Skillet Lickers Live’ presented by Efstration For House returns on Sunday, September 13th at 7pm. All shows are available live and on demand via the Skillet Lickers Facebook page. For more on Rep. Efstration’s campaign, visit www.chuckforhouse.com.

ATHENS, Ga. – The annual North Georgia Folk Festival, a longtime tradition typically held in front of hundreds on a fall weekend in Athens, has moved entirely digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the 36th annual festival won’t be taking place in person, organizers are preparing for a rousing, three-part festival, streamed via YouTube featuring some of the region’s best folk and Americana acts, including the Skillet Lickers, who have appeared at the festival multiple times throughout the years.

“While we’re saddened not to be able to experience the festival in person in Athens, this was the right decision and we’re glad to be a part of this unique event from our home studio in Dacula,” said Russ Tanner of the Skillet Lickers.

The festival will take place in three episodes, culminating with a documentary from Art Rosenbaum in the third and final episode. Episode one will debut on Sunday, September 26, 2020.

The Skillet Lickers are slated to perform for approximately ten minutes. To purchase festival merchandise and to learn more, click here.

DACULA, Ga. – The Skillet Lickers will be joining the growing number of artists and bands taking their shows online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has canceled all in-person concerts through the spring.

“We’re excited to try this out. We’ve done a lot online over the past decade, but never a 100% virtual show like this,” says Russ Tanner.

The first 30-minute, free show is slated for 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 19th and will be available exclusively via Facebook Live. Tanner cautions fans to ensure they plan to watch live as the show will not be available via a recording.

“We want this to emulate a real show… we want everyone to experience it together at the same time, so for that reason, this will not be available in recording form. You’ve got to watch it live or miss out!” Russ said.

If all goes well with the first show, the Skillet Lickers are planning to make this a weekly event, every Sunday night for the foreseeable future, with different band members and guests joining Phil and Russ each week.

Tanner hopes this new digital series can help introduce the Skillet Lickers to more people worldwide while also providing people with much needed live music and entertainment and a welcome distraction from the pandemic while staying safe at home.

The Skillet Lickers are encouraging fans to submit requests via the band’s Facebook page in advance of the show.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – Heavy rains didn’t stop the Blairsville faithful from attending the final concert in the 2019 Concert Series at the Historic Union County Courthouse.

A full house of attendees greeted the Skillet Lickers on Friday night for the band’s annual pilgrimage to Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a trip taken in 22 consecutive Octobers, dating back to 1998. Scroll for photos of the night’s action.

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.