This past Sunday, I skipped church and found myself in the little dive chapel of Southern rock. Grants Lounge is an icon in Macon music history. As Capricorn Records fame grew, so did Grants, making it one of the signature stages to play when you were on your way to stardom.
Hundreds of legends have crossed Grants threshold. My dad recalls that for as little as a $2 cover, you could catch the Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker and/or Lynyrd Skynyrd playing hot licks all night.
Tom Petty played with his original band Mudcrutch there. Critically acclaimed favorites such as Eric Quincy Tate, Grinderswitch, Alex Taylor and Captain Beyond shared the stage with commercial hits such as the Outlaws, Charlie Daniels Band and Elvin Bishop. Maconites could sweat out a show in the gritty, magical music hall and swig beer elbow-to-elbow with stars such as Bette Midler, Martin Mull, Andy Warhol and Cher.
I was at Grants this particular Sunday, right at noon, for their first brunch event. On the menu, and under the rotating disco ball, we dined on fried chicken and waffles, greens and grits and were joined by friends, neighbors, music fans, hungry folk and of course, the spirits of Southern rock.
This new event is part of an entire element of fresh programming being injected into the historic bar. While Grants brother and sister team Ed Grant Jr. and Cheryl Louder Grant continue to own and manage the venue, theyve brought on an energetic team of all-star bartenders and event managers to host regular programming that gives a wink to Macons mighty music past and a hearty nod to Macons revival of downtown.
You can now visit Grants on almost any day of the week and step into a humble past, hear a dose of rock n roll and sidle up with a local bartender who is eager to get to know you and your music and drink preferences.
In addition to brunch on Sundays, Grants Lounge is bringing back what made them famous. A full schedule of live music is on the books. It includes todays Macon musicians such as Chris Bartlett playing regularly, and special shows with blast-from-the-past bands such as Birnam Wood, booked for March.
There is also an open mic night, right on the same stage, under the same original marquee, where so many other musicians have played their hearts and souls out. Grants will soon host storytelling events with those who were there and those who were inspired. There are plans for concerts inside and out back, in a planned courtyard behind the bar.
Just as its done through the tide of Southern rock, through the bump of disco, and through the ups and downs of downtown Macon, Poplar Street and an ebbing and flowing audience, the Grant family has remained steadfast with their family legacy and Macon landmark.
Nothing will change there. But its high time we support our local treasures with everything weve got -- and now, Grants is offering something for everyone. Ill see you there.
Jessica Walden is the director of communications for the College Hill Alliance and co-owner of Rock Candy Tours, a Macon music history tour company. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 955-5997.