Prior to my buying into the heathen bargain that is Los Angeles, ye olde Drunkard grew up in the wooded enclave that is Atlanta, GA. Recently, through the magic of eMusic, bit torrent and the like, I have been revisiting albums by artists that I long sold off, in the mid-late 90s, in an effort to pay off various and sundry bartabs, gambling debts, etc. Not surprisingly I have come to learn that most, if not all, of those old Atlanta bands recordings are long out-of-print (some even digitally). For shame.

So, over the next couple of months, expect entries on Cabbagetown favorites the Rock*A*Teens, Smoke, the Jody Grind, Deacon Lunchbox and other weird and forgotten, outsider, outfits that haunted the deep South and Redneck Underground of Atlanta during the nineties. Caveat emptor: I imagine these tales will reside somewhere on a plane between fact, fiction and half-remembered anecdotes.

In 2010 the Jody Grind are mostly a footnote in vocalist/songwriter Kelly Hogan’s biography. But this wasn’t always the case. Early on, long before her move to Chicago, in the beginning of the last decade of the twentieth century, the Jody Grind were one of the more buzzed about independent groups to come out of Atlanta. I bought their debut, One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure, at their merch table around 1990, at a gig with the Ellen James Society. I was 15 — my friends and I had heard Michael Stipe was a fan and, this being the South an hour from Athens, we all worshiped at the feet of R.E.M. While I didn’t see Stipe at the show, I did see a band that, in the span of their set, touched upon country, swing, lounge jazz, blues and, of course, what was then described as college rock. But underneath, or rather within that mash of sound, is Hogan’s voice.  A truly gifted singer, Hogan’s vocals approximate that of a chameleon; her instrument bending and shaping the mood of each piece—from torch songs and honky tonk to pop, garage rock stomp and beyond.

This amalgamation of sound and style was key on both One Man’s Trash and, to a different degree, its follow-up, Lefty’s Deceiver.  Very straightforward, quaint in the way of, say, Cowboy Junkies, the albums hold up. The sad part of this story is that tragedy struck the group shortly after the release of Deceiver—an auto accident taking the lives of one half of the band. Hogan and Taft survived and will figure into the next couple of posts in this Atlanta series. Until then, check out “Eight-Ball” off Trash, and “3rd of July’ from it’s follow up. Go Braves.

MP3: The Jody Grind :: Eight-Ball
MP3: The Jody Grind :: 3rd of July
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+ Download the Jody Grind DRM free via eMusic’s 35 free MP3 no risk trial offer
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17 Responses to “The Jody Grind :: One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”

  1. Excellent post – can’t wait to read the rest about Atlanta/Athens bands. I grew up here and still stomp around.

    I prize my current CD copy of One Man’s Trash – like you, I sold my first several copies to pay for Ramens and beer in the ’90s.

    Would love to see some exposure here for Five Eight – an “old” Atlanta area band that’s still playing hard, long after the dream died. And Kevn Kinney and co. just released a great Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ record.

  2. Go Braves! Somewhere in each article, you should do a paragraph on your favorite Braves player that was playing at the time of the whatever album you highlight.

  3. The R*A*Ts!! I only got to see them once–I think around ’99 or ’00 at the Earl. They deserve to be horrendously famous. They’re also where I first heard the amazing Ms. Hogan.

  4. Sweet Justin!! Looking forward to seeing some of those Atlanta selections…how about some Anna Kramer – Rustic Sounds is a great Album…yes to 5/8, Tenement Halls,,Rock*a*Teens
    Win Em for Bobby – lets go bravos

  5. Fuckin’ hell, the Jody Grind. I haven’t heard them in AGES. Thank you so much for this post. As a Marietta-Athens-ite cum Californian who is your exact age, I suddenly find myself nostalgic or just plain curious to revisit this music.

    I would like to re-echo the call for Five-Eight. The best live show I’ve ever seen. In particular, I’d like to request I Learned Shut-Up or Weirdo, both of which I don’t have copies of anymore, sadly. And as long as we’re pairing with Bravos players, I think Rafael Belliard would match up well with them: PACMAN!

    I would also imagine that as long as you’re doin’ ’90s power pop and Atlanta, how about Drivin’ N Cryin’? Fly Me Courageous was HUGE in high school and what was played when folks weren’t playing the Black Crowes and before Nevermind changed everything. But I digress…

  6. […] first entry in the series deals with the Jody Grind, the Atlanta group fronted by singer Kelly Hogan. […]

  7. Anyone remember the post JG Taft/Hogan project “Kick Me”?

  8. p.s. While we’re on the subject, does anyone here from 1990 ATL remember Mary My Hope?

  9. Remember Donkey?

  10. Mary My Hope were the best. Saw them at the White Dot and later on at the Cotton Club opening for Jane’s Addiction during the Nothing Shocking tour.We thought Mary my Hope would put Atlanta on the rock n roll map. Also, at the time no one liked their touring partners/pals/ local band, Mr. Crowe’s Garden and couldn’t believe it when they took off as the Black Crowes. Sadly, drugs and egos crippled MMH. Found out much later thru James Halls tour manager that Billy Corgan was a MAJOR MMH fan when he lived in Florida. Did AD ever hear Magic Bone, King Kill 33, Go-Devils, DIRT, Snatch, Gutter Plow or Bad Egg Salad ? Post Mary my Hope and pre Rock A Teens, Atlanta had an amazing scene.

  11. Try to dig up some DQE (Dairy Queen Empire) or Grace Braun.

  12. […] this year I looked back at the Jody Grind. Today, I’m picking up the thread with Cabbagetown favorites, the […]

  13. […] this year I looked back at the Jody Grind and Cabbagetown favorites, the Rock*A*Teens. Today I’m picking up the thread with Smoke. […]

  14. […] Hogan (The Jody Grind, Rock*A*Teens), Wanda Baker (Bleu Velveeta) and Dave Olsen (Atlanta rockabilly swing icons The Lost […]

  15. Jody Grind is awesome. I didn’t know Kelly continued on. I’m going to check her out now. What about The Vigilantes of Love. They weren’t bad either.

  16. […] The Georgia native cut her teeth belting it out in Atlanta with rootsy-jazzy-indie-indefinable The Jody Grind before moving on to the Rock*A*Teens, and then to Chicago, where she tried to quit music, but […]

  17. I appreciate the name checking of Atlanta bands from the 90s as there were loads of them. Some were good but most weren’t which is where I tend to part company with those more willing to accept the mediocre musicianship on offer then. In all fairness to the Atlanta scene, such as it was, there were plenty of places for bands to play and develop albeit in a minor league kinda way. what I mean is that many of these groups didn’t realize that, (with the exception of hip hop), Atlanta was never a first tier music city (maybe not even a second tier) and having the same group of friends show up at your gig did not necessarily mean you were ready for the big time. I’ll say one thing if you played bass or drums back then you could be in as many bands as you wanted to as there was such a dearth of rhythm section players. Anyway lots of these groups got a rude awakening when attempting to “make it” in places like NYC or LA at which point most of them found out that having a cutesy band in Atlanta didn’t mean jack some place else. There were exceptions for sure. Sorry to be a downer here but somebody has to say it…..

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