Lefty Hathaway blocked out his childhood experience in musical theatre, but the desire to create his own music and perform it for a live audience has never waned. Hathaway’s childhood bounced from England to the US back to England, then Tulsa, and on to Seattle, Flagstaff, Colorado, and finally Athens, Georgia as an adult. These disparate locales and frequent moves led him to always feel like an observer to his environment, rather than part of his community, which influences his writing, but also contrasts with his love for Athens–where he finally feels at home.

Musically, Lefty’s path has followed some convoluted roads, as well; in Flagstaff, he was in an acid jazz trio and later a jamband–even working with a musician we have featured in the past who keeps popping up in other episodes, Courtney Jaye (also mentioned in the Neal Casal interview). Hathaway began as a drummer, and later became a keyboard player. He thinks of himself as a rhythm guy more than anything, drawing from both Stewart Copeland (drummer for the Police) and Gregg Allman’s keyboard playing. With rock and roll influences including Leon Russell and JJ Cale, as well as strongly from New Orleans style piano and organ, Lefty’s sound is both identifiable and cohesive.

Once Hathaway’s journey took him to Athens, though, he found a small town with a large community of mutually-supportive musicians. Jefferson Taffet of Lionz (another Athens band) and Lefty formed the Athens Music Collective as a way for many of the bands to take their unofficial support for each other’s shows and music to another level. Now three years after forming, they are redefining their mission statement, and seeking to create a more direct impact together. While not competitive with one another, there is a “you snooze, you lose” aspect to music opportunities, and loose organizations like the Athens Music Collective offer a way to move everyone forward and continue to build the community of musicians that makes Athens unique.

Songs in This Radio Program Include:

  • Lefty Hathaway Shacks: “Baby Roux,” “Mama Shake,” “Long Haired Medicine Show Boogey”
  • Allman Brothers Beginnings: “Don’t Keep Me Wondering”
  • Leon Russell Live in Japan: “You Don’t Have to Go”
  • Betsy Franck This Far:”Lost on the Road”
  • Half Dozen Brass Band Easy Street: “Choke Chain”
  • The Police Outlandos D’Amour: “Can’t Stand Losing You”