Inside Eddie’s Attic: Interview with Eddie Owen
Live music shows usually fall into four different categories. Remember your grading system when you were in elementary school?
S = Satisfactory. Most shows that you pay for, you expect to see a decent performance, down some drinks, take some pictures to post on Facebook as proof that you went, but maybe the performance itself wasn’t going to stand out as a show that rocked your face off.
N = Needs Improvement. These artists tend to appear at the little po’dunk bars showcasing the crappy open mic’s and earnestly giving their best shot. Not ready for prime time status. Maybe with a lot of practice and good musical mentors, the artist will improve.
U = Unsatisfactory. These are shows that you expected to be good – and they just sucked. In my world, I’m still mad that I paid any money to see Jack Johnson and Death Cab for Cutie because they were so boring. It’s too bad because I used to like their music. On Wall Street they would call this a diminishing return.
Gifted group – These acts are treated differently. Facilitators nourish their gifts and make sure their strengths are in the spotlight. These are shows where the entire world stops and the moment is frozen in perfection. Breathtaking!
I’ve been going to the legendary Eddie’s Attic to hear live music for the past ten years and the artists playing there fall squarely in the Gifted Group category. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t picking my jaw up off the floor. Located literally upstairs in a cozy intimate attic space in the square in Decatur, Georgia, this music venue is set up as a listening room that accommodates 150+ guests. Meaning you’re encouraged to NOT talk during the performance, you’re in a pebble’s shot’s distance to the artist, hence enhancing a unique listening experience. The acoustics are amazing and the shows are unforgettable.
Eddie’s Attic has famously launched countless artists like the Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins, Sugarland, John Mayer, Zac Brown band, and so many others.
Here’s a video of John Mayer’s return to the Attic in December of 2005:
Eddie Owen opened Eddie’s Attic in 1992. In March 2002, Owen sold the business to Todd Van Sickle, (then-husband of Sugarland member Jennifer Nettles) who in turn sold the business to Bob Ephlin in June 2005, who is the current owner. Eddie has remained the General Manager of the Attic and is solely responsible for finding and booking the artists.
Owen is known to be extremely kind and has a golden ear for marketable music talent. Negotiations for musical appearances at the Attic are designed to be very artist-friendly. I met with Eddie on December 1st, 2009. He was instantly inviting, unassuming, and a storyteller, to say the least. During the interview, you’ll hear the
(l to r): Bob Ephlin – owner, me, and Eddie Owen
distinct sound of a lighter being flicked. Eddie loves to smoke a pipe which I have to say, kind of added to his charm.
The audio in this blog is edited down to a little over 5 minutes over two parts. The full interview is in podcast form under the Podcast section of this blog. It will also be posted at www.eddiesattic.com.
Eddie’s Interview – Part 1 – Eddie’s Attic’s humble beginnings and the art of the famous Listening Room
Eddies Interview – Part 2 – Which top musicians made Eddie’s Attic famous? Advice for musicians, Eddie’s proudest moments, and the famous 5 Little Known Facts about Eddie or the Attic
The full interview is chock-full of music and venue history, insight and advice into the music industry, backgrounds on some of the famous people that have come through the Attic, his personal motivation, and the future of Eddie’s Attic. Your comments about your favorite shows from the Attic and about the interview are welcome below…
Eddie, I can’t thank you enough for your time and your kindness. I appreciate everything you’ve done to teach me about your “gifted group” and support musicians worldwide. – Allison
Photo courtesy of Alisha McKellar of Alisha McKellar Photography (www.alishamckellar.com)