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Live & Local with Back City Woods

By Andrea Marlowe

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Back City Woods is no newcomer to Macon’s music landscape. The high energy Southern bluegrass rock band released their first full length album, The Light.  The Dark.  The Dusk., this year and have been named Atlanta Braves Band of the Year 2013.  I spoke with lead singer, Daniel NeSmith, about Southern soul, their band, and how Macon’s music scene is making the right moves.

How does BCW represent the Southern music of Georgia? We like Allman Brothers and Jimmy Hall and music you think about when you think of Georgia artists.  You can hear that come through in our music.  I grew up around bluegrass music and we incorporate banjo into our songs and a lot of harmonies.  The main part is the soul.  I’d rather make songs that make you feel something than necessarily make me think about a lot of things.  I want the music to move people emotionally.

What can we expect from BCW Friday and how do you keep your high energy on stage?
When we get on stage and start playing it’s not an act.  It’s just how we feel playing.  Friday we’re going to do something a little different.  We’re gonna keep that same energy with a  more stripped down set.  I wanna make it more of an acoustic [set].  I think the reason  we let go on stage is because we’re dealing with a crazy world.  It’s one place where you can completely let go.

Do you collaborate when writing songs?
Everyone brings to the table collectively. . . I come up with the basic ideas and then there’s a lot of give and take for all the details. I don’t think we ever play the same song twice the same way.  I like the structure to be loose enough so we can stretch parts out.  We have key points where we know we’re going to change to a new section but we like to have enough flexibility to have the vibe to be in the moment with the music.

Why do you like playing Macon?  How can Macon can improve its music scene?
[Macon] feels like home.  I like the diversity of our fan base.  We get a diverse crowd [in Macon] instead of just one age group, one type of person, it’s a lot of different types of people.

Macon is making the right steps to improve the music scene.  The radio station, The Creek, (and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that because for the first time in my life I can honestly say I like listening to the radio) having that platform for local artists . . . that’s a really big deal.  That tied in with the Cox [Capitol Theatre]  bringing in more top tier artists.  Those are the steps in the right direction.

This will be my third year doing the Best of Georgia Roots Music Showcase [in November] at The Hummingbird . . .  I’m trying to get people to realize that we have so much soul and such a diverse type of music sound across the state of Georgia.  It still ties back to that soulfulness that you think of when you think of Southern music.

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