Album features artists, musicians, songwriters

Kurt Thomas is among artists on an upcoming CD.

ATS Music Group and Red Dirt Entertainment announce the upcoming release of “Georgia Country,” a compilation CD consisting entirely of Georgia artists, musicians and songwriters.

This will be the first in a series of CDs covering all genres: gospel, blues, Americana, all completely written and recorded in Georgia. Steve Rickard, owner of ATS Music Group in Fayetteville, Ga., has been working on the project for almost a year. “I wanted to find a way to promote Georgia music, artists and songwriters and let people know about the very talented people here that they may have never heard. This concept of a series of CDs will introduce people to a lot of new artists, all living here in Georgia."

The idea is to promote Georgia music throughout the state through a series of concerts. Artist Marketing & Promotion, based in Atlanta, has been working on bringing back the old "circuits" from the 1950s, only instead of playing throughout the South, the venues will all be within the state.

"Chip Morris at Artist Marketing & Promotion contacted me a few months ago," Rickard said, "and wanted to partner with us and told me about this idea of the circuits, using some of his artists and some of ours, traveling around the state to different venues, and introducing people to some great bands, musicians and songwriters that are out playing in the clubs and festivals."

Once word got out about the CD, more than 125 songs were submitted. Carol Chambers, owner of Red Dirt Entertainment in Peachtree City, was enlisted by Rickard early on in the project to narrow these submissions down to just 16. "There were so many amazing submissions to choose from, it was a very difficult task. It is really amazing how many talented artists we have here in Georgia. Using the criteria we had agreed on, I picked songs that I thought fit the project best. They really showcase the talent, are diverse and radio friendly."

Artists on the CD include: Mac Powell, Krysta Nick, Kurt Thomas, Matt Pippin, Ricky Gunn, Tyler Hammond Band, Julie Gribble, Young America, Jeff Vaughn Band, Jeni Michelson, Jeremy Graham, Reluctant Saints, Ashlie Rae, Ben Pruett, Scott Brantley and Sam French.

Although the venue for the first concert is still being decided, Rickard wants to keep everyone involved Georgia-based. 

"That's the whole idea behind this, to promote Georgia music. The musicians, songwriters, bands, they all live and work here. Even the CD will be manufactured by a Georgia company, Professional Sound Images in Atlanta. I believe people in Georgia will support local music, and once they hear the songs on this CD, will realize they don't have to go to Nashville to hear great music, it's all right here. If you look at the music charts, especially country, many of the people listed are Georgia natives, so we just wanted to find a way to help those people make a living in music without having to leave the state."



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