Athens Georgia Music Scene

When most people think of music coming from Athens, Georgia, they think of the B-52s and R.E.M. However, there is a new genre of music coming out of Athens called Athens Rock. Even though it is called a rock genre, it has a little bit of all the popular genres including country, hip-hop, blugrass, and rock. This genre has been newly created by these three particular artists that have not actually signed record labels yet, but are still very popular. These

guys are Corey Smith, Brantley Gilbert, and Colt Ford. As Colt Ford would say, “These are just three country boys from Georgia trying to sing a little bit.”

Corey Smith is the artist that puts the country flavor into Athens rock. This guy started out going to UGA to become a school teacher, and he took a job at a high school in Gwinett County. Then in 2004, he found his calling for music, and, like any other artist, started playing in the little bars of Athens. He quickly picked up some major popularity. According to, he is the most popular unsigned artist on their website. “If I Could Do It Again,” is a song he wrote about pretty much every high school senior’s Spring Break. Also, “Twenty-One” was a song he sang about being a 17-year old hanging out with all of these college kids who are all older than him. “I’m Not Gonna Cry” is another song he wrote about high school graduation, which became the new graduation anthem for many high school graduations across Georgia and the United States. The main reason I really like Corey Smith is because he writes songs that relate to younger people’s lives.

The next artist that contributes to Athens rock is Brantley Gilbert. He adds the rock and bluegrass flavors to the Athens rock genre. Unlike Corey, Brantley Gilbert has been playing and writing music his whole entire life. He is very popular around the Southeast, but is also unsigned. One of his songs that I really like is GRITS, which talks about his friend coming down from the North and being surprised about how good looking the girls raised in the south are. The song “Live It Up” is another good song saying if something is wrong don’t give up on yourself just keep on going and live it up. Another song that is one of my favorites is “My Kinda Party,” which is where he is talking about picking this girl up and they both go out to this country party with a couple of kegs, and that is what he thinks of a party. I like Brantley Gilbert because he can really take rock and country and mix them together.

The final contributor to Athens rock is Colt Ford. He brings the hip-hop flavor to Athens rock. Even though his country and hip-hop music are very popular, he still considers himself as a common man. Because of his talents in both country and hip-hop, Colt has done much collaboration with many artists from both genres. Some of these include John Michael Montgomery, Jamey Johnson, Bone Crusher, and Adrian Young from No Doubt. The best thing about Colt Ford’s music is that most of his songs really have no explanation. They are all just about having fun. One of his most famous songs is “Dirt Road Anthem” with Brantley Gilbert. Another song is “Ride through the Country” with John Michael Montgomery. He also did a song with Jamey Johnson called “Cold Beer.” However, his most famous work was when he did the anthem for the Professional Bull Riders Championship. This song was called “Buck ‘Em.”

As it is seen, Athens rock has many different types of genres within its own genre. Also, there are many emotions in these songs. Some of them happy and some sad, but the best songs these artists produce are the ones about just having fun. These genres within Athens rock are provided by three main artists. Corey Smith provides the country flavor. Brantley Gilbert does the rock and bluegrass flavor. Finally, Colt Ford has the hip-hop flavor. I have one last thought. These men are all unsigned so when they play they are doing it for the music and not the money.