Plato Jones performs at a recent Alabama Music Series concert outside the High Cotton Arts studio on Washington Street

The soundtrack of Alabama is as diverse as the state’s landscape.

Just as Alabama’s beaches, hills and forests are natural resources, so is its music. From toe-tapping bluegrass to aching blues lyrics to heart-racing rock-n-roll, Alabama’s musical resources are vast.

Athens Arts League is honoring Alabama-based music with an Alabama Music Series that brings Alabama-based bands to Athens. As part of the series, college and high school students interested in music careers participate in stage setup, sound checks, merchandise sales, photography and marketing so they can gain hands-on experience.

“One high school student who helped with a couple of our concerts excitedly said he was including the experiences in his portfolio,” said Athens Arts League board member Holly Hollman. “He appreciated the opportunity and learned from it.”

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and current and former members of the Limestone County Legislative Delegation are helping sponsor the Alabama Music Series. The five-concert series will go through January 2020. Plato Jones and Della Ray have performed two of the concerts.

The Sept. 7 concert will feature Lamont Landers Band. The band received a standing ovation during a 2018 appearance on Showtime at the Apollo, and Landers, of Decatur, recently appeared on America’s Got Talent.

A January 2020 concert will feature Pine Hill Haints, and organizers are finalizing plans for one more concert.

Plato Jones, comprised of Athens musicians who went to school together in Tuscaloosa, thanked Athens Arts League for supporting Alabama-based bands through this series.

“It warms our hearts to see our hometown putting on such an awesome event that supports local artists and musicians,” the band wrote on its Facebook page. “Keep up the support for these events so we can keep them going for years to come.”

Local high school and college musicians Astro Diggins, Elate Euphoria and D Crooke opened for Plato Jones, which gave students from our community a chance to showcase their talent.

“We have our own rich musical legacy in Athens and Limestone County, and we have new talent emerging each year,” said Athens Arts League Vice President Diane Lehr. “The Alabama Music Series is a fantastic way to support the continuance of Alabama’s influence on the music scene.”

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