This year marks the tenth that Atlanta musicians Jeffrey Bützer (drums, pictured) and T.T. Mahony (piano) have staged their live performances of Vince Guaraldi’s cherished score to the 1965 animated holiday special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. What was assumed to be a one-off (actually two-off – there was a show at Flicker in Athens in addition to the one at The EARL) in 2008 caught on and expanded to other cities and multiple EARL shows in the years since. For 2017, Bützer and Mahony will be joined by bassist Mike Beshara and a small chorus of guest singers for a weekend at The EARL, December 15th and 16th, where attendees will also be treated to selections from Phil Spector’s seminal album A Christmas Gift for You. They’ll also pilot the doghouse to Chattanooga (Dec. 2nd), Woodstock, Georgia (Dec. 6th) and Birmingham (Dec. 14th) for shows (but only with Birmingham getting the additional set of Spector songs). These shows often sell out, so don’t sleep on getting advance tickets.
In related news, Bützer’s latest solo album (as in, totally solo – he plays every instrument himself, from guitars, violin and piano to accordion, glockenspiel, autoharp and beyond) is now out as a Bandcamp digital download. In the Grey Plumage oscillates between middle-European vintage soundtrack homages to more hallucinogenic instrumental excursions. He’s offering a limited number of package deals for the album and tickets to the EARL shows, while they last.
Finally, Bützer’s band The Compartmentalizationalists wrote and recorded two punk songs for the movie Trial By Fire that’s been filming in Atlanta (Laura Dern stars; it’s set in 1988), and the filmmakers shot them performing ’em with Scotty Hoffman from Small Reactions on vocals. Whether their scenes make the final cut… well, we’ll have to wait and see. It’s supposed to be released sometime next year. Meanwhile, the two songs are available online as a digital single.
Jeffrey Bützer photo by Ken Lackner.