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Highway 9 Records Signs Poverty Level to Recording Contract



Highway 9 Record’s executive producer Brian Johnson today announced that the label has reached an agreement with Marietta, GA-based band Poverty Level to record, market, and distribute the band’s original music. Poverty Level is the second artist signed to the Highway 9 Records label since its launch in February 2013.

Poverty Level members are lead singer Phillip Bridges, guitar players John “JD” Hopkins and Mason Coates, and drummer Craig Clontz. Hopkins also plays fiddle, and is the band’s primary songwriter. Bridges, Hopkins, and Clontz have been together as part of the band since 2009, with Coates joining them in 2011. All of the band members originally hail from western Virginia and moved together to the Atlanta area last year to pursue their musical ambitions. The band has established a great reputation and solid local following with their groovy rock-jam style of Americana, featuring great vocal harmonies and sizzling string work throughout.

“We have been working long and hard toward this moment, and are thrilled to be able to take the next steps forward with Highway 9,” said Poverty Level’s Bridges. “Highway 9 offers the skills, resources, effort, and perspective we need to share our music with more of the world than we have been able to do on our own. We are ready to work hard with Brian and Heber to make it all happen.”

Poverty Level will record much of their music under their agreement with Highway 9 Records at Lucky Dog Studios in Alpharetta, GA. The band will also employ the assistance of both Highway 9 Record’s Heber Pampillon (Mother Nature’s Son, Kickin’ Valentina) and John Maskew (Grammy-award winning audio engineer on ‘Ah Yeah’, a song on Robert Glasper’s 2012 album “Black Radio”) on certain tracks.

Poverty Level was one of five north Georgia artists to appear on Highway 9 Record’s recently released compilation EP, “The Best of Roswell Tap. “ The album is available online at iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, CD Baby, and many other outlets.

About Highway 9 Records
Highway 9 Records is an Alpharetta, GA-based independent record label focusing on producing debut or early phase professional recordings for emerging and developmental artists, as well as helping those artists establish and build core audiences. The label was founded in February 2013 by executive producer Brian Johnson and director of artist development Heber Pampillon. Interested artists should contact Brian Johnson or 770-289-2110. Learn more about the label at

About Lucky Dog Studios
Alpharetta, GA-based Lucky Dog Studios features the Pro Tools 10 digital audio workstation with an Apogee Symphony I/O, LA 610 mic pre-amp, C|24 control surface and a great collection of mics, plug-ins and acoustic instruments (including a Yamaha G2 baby grand) in their 1200 square foot facility. Please call 770-753-0322 for rates and studio availability. Veteran sound engineer and musician Joe Kay of Got My Groove Productions ( is lead engineer at Lucky Dog. Learn more about the studio at

Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


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Holiday Fun

Kingsized Holiday Fun! Big Mike is Back at the Variety Playhouse!



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Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!

Photo: Emily Butler

We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.

TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?

Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.

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Music Gallery

Turkuaz at Aisle 5



Brooklyn based funk band Turkuaz played at Aisle Five in Atlanta last week and here are some shots from the show!

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