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  KELLY HOGAN w/ Glory Fountain  
  The Star Bar  
  Little Five Points, Atlanta, GA  
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I approached this show with bittersweet emotions. See, I last saw Kelly Hogan back in the late 80's with The Jody Grind. I loved The Jody Grind and took their CD, One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure with me when I moved up north. It gave me comfort and feelings of home on more than one lonely, cold night. I was heartbroken when a car accident claimed two members of the band and the remaining members decided to disband. I was also a little disappointed when I heard the neo-country music Hogan was performing solo. Although the songs are solid and beautiful, they didn't seem to fully utilize her vocal range, power, and passion. In some ways, it seemed to be the caged bird singing. Even with this less sophisticated musical style, I was excited at the prospect of seeing Hogan sing live. I hoped her live act would capture some essence of those earlier Jody Grind performances.

The evening began with The Glory Fountain, a duo of mostly acoustic guitar work. The female singer had a pleasant voice and the songs were of the respectable folk variety. While I found the act enjoyable, about 20 minutes into the set the songs began to all sound the same. However, I have a tendency to feel that way about all girl-with-guitar bands after awhile. My friend, who is a big fan of female singers (in fact, she sings herself), very much enjoyed the show and even intended to buy their album (she forgot). So, I think that is a higher compliment for this band than I could give.

Finally, the main event: Kelly Hogan. While I was afraid this performance would be a subdued, Hogan actually performed an incredible range of songs from Johnny Paycheck covers to pieces from Beneath the Country Underdog to -- get this -- Journey! It turns out that she and her band were in town to perform at a friend's wedding, so we witnessed a trial run of some wedding requests. The set included a fantastic range of songs, including requests from the crowd. Hogan effortlessly moved from country tunes to bluesy bellows to classic rock mantras. Her voice was as powerful as I remembered it, and the sound mix worked well to show it off. One member of the band even asked to have his mic turned down so that we could hear Hogan better. Never was there a more deserved compliment. She can even make Journey not only tolerable but also beautiful. As my friend (the singer) commented, Hogan has a natural voice, nothing "produced" about it. I am sad to learn that she will not perform the old standards from The Jody Grind, but that's OK: with her passionate and powerful voice, maximized as it was on this evening, Kelly Hogan could sing the phone book to me, and I'd be happy.

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