One of the musical acts performing this week as part of the Atlanta Film Festival is the New Orleans group, Tank and the Bangas. The band won this year’s NPR Tiny Desk Contest.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Learning English is not easy.

That can be true even for immigrants to the United States who have had the benefit of the best education available in the countries where they grew up.

Now imagine you're a kid from a country torn apart by war or political unrest. You may be lucky to be literate in your first language. Taking a child like that from speaking no English to speaking the language well enough to go to high school is no mean feat. 

On Second Thought is broadcasting from Savannah for the Savannah Stopover Music Festival. As the first of two house bands for the trip, listeners got to hear Savannah's own Lulu the Giant, fronted by bassist Rachael Shaner. As much jazz combo as rock band, Lulu the Giant's sound is built around Shaner's stand up bass and love of the blues. Enjoy this live session with the band, recorded at The Grey Restaurant. 


Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming loves the musical “Cabaret.” He starred in a performance in London’s West End, and he’s played the smarmy emcee twice on Broadway. He’s on tour now, not with the musical "Cabaret" but with an actual cabaret: “Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs.” "On Second Thought" guest host Adam Ragusea talked with him ahead of his performance Friday at 8pm at Atlanta Symphony Hall.

Singer-songwriter Anthony Aparo is no stranger to the Atlanta music scene. He has been on the circuit as front man of Atlanta’s retro-electronic band Culture Culture since 2013. He's a regular musician on the bill for ATL Collective, a semi-monthly collaboration of local artists in Atlanta. He was also a member of the Athens folk-pop band Mr. Mustache.


One of the ways African-Americans have shared the pain and the pleasure of the black experience is through music.  


Black artists have been an essential part of almost every genre of music. And black songs are often catalysts for change and enhanced public awareness.

David McClister/Courtesy of the artist

When Uncle Tupelo splintered into two bands back in 1994, both offshoots seemed primed for more or less equal success. After all, Uncle Tupelo had always balanced two distinct singing and songwriting voices, and both were held in similarly high esteem at the time.

Songs We Love: Jake Xerxes Fussell

Jan 18, 2017
Brad Bunyea/Courtesy of the Artist


Aaron Lee Tasjan is a songwriter.

That's worth saying because once upon a time he probably would have answered to guitar player. He is that, to be sure, but on his second album "Silver Tears," Tasjan gives the listener a collection of funny, sweet, well crafted and just a little melancholy songs. They are exercises in self examination and self reproachment delivered with a trickster's grin.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

It's a landmark that will soon be moved to a new patch of land. 

The home Little Richard called home as a kid in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood is one of eight slated to be moved out of the way of a massive Georgia Department of Transportation expansion of the Interstate 75/Interstate 16 interchange. About 40 other homes will be demolished. 

Best Southern Albums Of 2016

Dec 18, 2016

A lot of amazing music has come out of in 2016. We talk about some of the best Southern albums of the year with Chuck Reece of The Bitter Southerner. He recently compiled his list for the magazine.

When Jake Fussell was growing up in Columbus, Georgia, he spent a lot of time on the road with his dad, Fred Fussell. Fred is a documentarian and museum coordinator who would travel around Georgia and the South examining how people lived, the things they made and the music they played. What stuck with Jake was the music. Eventually he picked up the guitar and took as his mentor the legendary Georgia fingerstyle guitar player Precious Bryant.

J. Bettman

Antonio Sanchez began playing drums at age five. He’s since performed and recorded with many jazz legends, including Chick Corea and Pat Metheny.

Never did Sanchez think he would compose music for film until he was approached by director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The two worked together to create the score for the 2014 film "Birdman."

The score, reflective of Sanchez’s talents, is all percussion. He is now on tour, performing the drum score live alongside a screening of the film. He joins us to discuss the new project and talk about how his drumming has evolved.

Maryann Bates

Mike Mills is a music legend. In 1980, Mills co-founded Athens-based R.E.M. They disbanded in 2011. Today, Mills is performing with his childhood friend, violinist Robert McDuffie. The two grew up together in Macon, Georgia, and have since gone on to achieve their own unique musical fame.


Mike Mills and violinist Robert McDuffie will perform Mills' Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and Strings at Emory University Friday, October 28 at 8 p.m. Hear more from our Georgia Playlist here.


A few years ago, St. Paul and the Broken Bones stormed onto the Soul Revival scene from their home in Alabama. 

The sound grabbed you clearly, but the thing that held it all together was the energy and showmanship of lead singer Paul Janeway.

In this short video, hear Janeway talk about how this started for him, with his love of Georgia's own Otis Redding.


In music, we can escape the cruelties of the world or face them.

Shelby Gordon

The Afropunk Festival draws thousands to Brooklyn every summer. It's a celebration of innovation in the music and fashion world.  AfroPunk has expanded its presence to other international hubs around the world, and this weekend the festival makes its debut in Atlanta.  Afropunk's Carnival of Consciousness begins Friday.  Two of the headliners performing are Alex Belle and Isis Valentino of the Atlanta-based duo, St. Beauty.

1. Can you guess which Atlanta artist has the most Rap Grammys? Although both Ludacris and T.I. are tied at three awards, OutKast is currently leading the pack with four. The early 2000s were big for Andre 3000 and Big Boi.

The Grotto in Macon is one of those places that every teenager thinks is their own little secret. That is to say it isn't a secret at all, but it is very special. Built in the early 20th Century by Jesuit seminarians from the nearby St. Stanislaus College, it was the heart of a wooded getaway for the local Catholic community.

On this edition of “Two Way Street” we talk to the great Atlanta-based blues guitarist Tinsley Ellis. Creative Loafing just named him blues artist of the year, and some time back, Rolling Stone magazine said of his hard-driving guitar style that his “eloquence dazzles…he achieves pyrotechnics that rival the early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.” High praise, indeed!

New Voices Join Music Midtown

Sep 16, 2016

Music Midtown returns this weekend for its sixth year at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The two-day festival has changed a lot since it was founded in 1994 by veteran music promoters Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon. This year’s lineup features a noticeably younger cast of artists, including DeadMau5, Kesha, and Atlanta-born soul singer Leon Bridges. We speak with Music Midtown co-founder Peter Conlon, who also serves as president of Live Nation Atlanta (which produces the festival), about the future direction of the festival. 

In the first of the Living Room Concert Series shows from the Field Note Stenographers, singer-songwriters Aaron Irons and Justin Cutway. Aaron Irons held down the Macon music scene back in the 1990s with his band the Liabilities. He doesn't play out much these days, which is what makes this set special. Justin Cutway is super literate, witty and blessed with a good voice and serious guitar chops. Enjoy them here and look ahead to the next show on September 29 with Caleb Caudle and Justin Osborne of the band SUSTO.   

Mercer University

World-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie has opened a music conservatory at Mercer University in Macon. It not only focuses on musical talent, but also offers a broad-based education and teaches students how to survive financially as working musicians. He talks about the McDuffie Center for Strings and why some consider it to be the “Juilliard of the South.” 

Macon's Hidden Musical Past

Sep 13, 2016
Rock Candy Tours via Facebook

Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers and Little Richard are just a few of the top-notch musicians to get their professional start in Macon, Georgia. But there are many other talented Macon artists who haven't gotten the same recognition.

As part of our Year of Georgia Music series, we speak with Jessica Walden and Jamie Weatherford of Rock Candy Tours in Macon, which takes guests to visit some of the historical music sites in that city.

Adia Victoria 'Stuck In The South'

Sep 7, 2016
Wiki Commons

Singer-songwriter Adia Victoria has a complicated relationship with the South. She felt like an outsider as a young woman of color growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But it's this point of view that comes across in the guitar riffs and haunting vocals from her debut album, "Beyond The Bloodhounds.” 

We speak with her about her Southern upbringing and how she found solace and comfort in the blues.

In this episode of Just Off The Radar, hear some of Kishi Bashi's new album Sonderlust, due out September 16, plus tracks from Joanna Gruesome, tacocat and more.  

Track listing....


Frank Hamilton is a legend in the American folk revival scene.  He performed throughout the 1950s and 1960s with The Weavers and Pete Seeger. Hamilton now runs a folk music school in Candler Park. Students gather to learn instruments like guitar, fiddle and banjo, and to jam with Hamilton. 

We stop by the school for a music lesson, and talk to Frank Hamilton about folk music’s significance today.


R.E.M. made the world listen. Formed in 1980, the quartet out of Athens, Georgia exploded the old idea of what pop music is all about. The 25th anniversary edition of the band’s iconic “Out of Time” album is set to be released in November. A 2014 MTV documentary explores the band’s Georgia roots.

Georgia Playlist: Speakerfoxxx

Aug 19, 2016
RBMA Radio

Atlanta producer and DJ Christen Nilan, also known as Speakerfoxxx, adds two more songs to our Georgia Playlist. She’s the host of the radio program “Cruisin’ in the ATL,” and part of a re-launch of Red Bull Music Academy Radio. RBMA Radio is taking place at Patchwerk Studios in Atlanta this week with lectures, workshops, and live broadcasts.

The Red Bull Music Academy's RBMA Radio lands in Atlanta this week. It's a six-day event with lectures, workshops, and live broadcasts. It features conversations and performances from artists and musicians who have shaped the city's sound, including Jermaine Dupri, Organized Noize, and Don Cannon.