Slim Chance & The Convicts – Rednecks from Olympalooza
The first time a band performs in public can be a little unsettling. And if that initial show is at a home for the mentally retarded, well, who knows what to expect. “Actually, it was really well-received,” says Slim Chance, the lead singer and main songwriter of Slim Chance and the Convicts.
The Convicts have been a fixture on Atlanta’s music scene for a decade and are generally considered the musical founding fathers of Atlanta’s “Redneck Underground” community of alternative-country acts. They’re cool bunch of folks who love the South, Mama, Elvis and NASCAR.
The group’s best-known song, “George Jones (Has Never Sung About My Girl)”, was included on the Ichiban Records compilation CD Bubbapalooza Volume I: A Chronicle of the Redneck Underground. “He sings a song to used-to-be’s / And girls he’s never met / But George Jones hasn’t sung about my girl,” sings Slim.
The band is putting out its second release, Twang Peaks, this fall. The new album offers a mix of country, rock and Western swing highlighted by Slim’s sweet voice and introspective, often humorous lyrics. “The only thing that’s not on the new album is a Luther Vandross love-ballad,” Slim jokes, but that’s probably because there weren’t any Vandross fans at a gig the band played recently at the Star Bar, opening for Jim Lauderdale.
“Before the show started,” Slim explains, “we passed out a little survey that had the names of our new songs on it. We had the audience fill it out and write comments on what they liked and didn’t like. The Star Bar’s crowd has a great sense of music, and the audience’s suggestions helped us restructure the entire album. I know it helped us make a better record.”
The band’s unofficial home turf is the Austin Avenue Buffet, a sort of mecca for the Redneck Underground. They were the first band to ever perform at this institution, and they served as an influence to other Atlanta twangers such as the Diggers and Jennie B. & the Speedbillies. The Convicts’ presence also paved the way for other regional acts including the Delta Angels and the Vidalias.
Slim said they used to think they were the only band that played “this kind of music.” But with the number of bands playing “this kind of music” in Atlanta now, the Convicts find themselves in the midst of a vibrant scene they were instrumental in starting. One only wonders how much longer the Rednecks will remain Underground.