Patterson Hood and The Downtown 13 release "After It's Gone" In an effort to fight a Walmart in Downtown Athens, GA
“Who needs a downtown when there’s a Walmart next door?”
Athens, GA: Some of the greatest songs were written to give voice to anxiety, despair and unwanted change. “After it’s Gone”, a new single just released by Patterson Hood and the Downtown 13, was inspired by the threat of a Walmart in the heart of the downtown that nurtured the band’s career. Hood, singer, writer and guitarist for the band Drive-By Truckers assembled The Downtown 13, a musical collective made up of some of Athens, Georgia's finest musicians to celebrate Athens, GA's beauty and vibrant musical heritage and to protest a developer's proposed building of a massive mixed use development in downtown Athens, anchored by a 94,000 sq. foot Walmart.
The small and eclectic university town of Athens is a hotbed for national musical acts and many of these local luminaries, including R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Widespread Panic’s John Bell and Todd Nance came together on the new track to express their opposition to a proposed development by Atlanta-based Selig Enterprises. The back wall of the anchor tenant, Walmart, would be within stone’s throw of Hood’s home and it would tower over the greenway trail along the Oconee River-- it is the very embodiment of inappropriate development.
“This Atlanta developer wants to clog our cultural heart and build a bunker the size of three city blocks next to the vibrant downtown scene,” says Hood. “They hit The Easy Button: a big box store in our downtown district is clearly misguided and a somewhat ridiculous notion. Downtown Athens is a dynamic network of local businesses--Athens already has a meaningful brand and we are extremely protective of it.”
Taking a very vocal turn away from the proposed lifestyle-shopping center currently under contract, Hood is the most recent performer to take the role of front man as an Athens community that has long spoken to national and international audiences.
“We have a vibrant downtown with plans for the future that involve planned development along the river and hopefully a high speed rail to Atlanta,” says Hood. “We don’t need a big box retailer, the very definition of the past, to once again bring us back through that dark episode of closed down storefronts and empty parking lots. Protect Downtown Athens-- that's what this is all about."
You can download the song, view the video and read more about Protect Downtown Athens at the link below: