For more than 30 years, Uncle Dave Griffin has been bringing the twang and psychedelic groove of Cosmic Country to listeners all over Georgia. Sean Clark isn’t too far behind him, serving as the frontman of regional Americana powerhouse The Pine Box Dwellers, in which he is joined by Dave’s son, Connor Griffin. I first met Uncle Dave and Sean through their podcast, Something in the Water, where they’ve been sharing beverages and stories with songwriters and musicians from all over the Peach State. Recently, the two have teamed up with Macon’s own Andy Johnson as well as two up-and-coming blues phenoms, Travis and Dakota Page, to create Uncle Dave’s Waycross Stagecoach, a new project described as something between a raucous Wild West traveling act and a variety show.
MM: Uncle Dave, You’ve been around the Georgia music community for a while now, but you’re not just running solo anymore, tell me about Uncle Dave’s Waycross Stagecoach.
UDG: Well heck, it was actually more of Sean’s idea. I am just the ring leader of sorts.
SC: I just kind of had the idea to do a variety show in the style of people like Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. You know, they would roll into town and there would be several performers billed at once on the same ticket. I’ve had that in my mind for a while, but I always stopped at the issue of worrying about how we would pay all these bands. I then happen to run into people like The Page Brothers, who are every bit as good when it’s just them as they are with their whole band and it got me to thinking. Dave already plays solo, my band has recently been playing as just a duo, and Andy Johnson typically runs solo, so I had the idea that we should try an acoustic-style variety show. Uncle Dave was already our “uncle Yoda” so, of course, his name had to be on it, and we had come up with the name Waycross Stagecoach for a previous collaboration project that we decided not to use, so we brought it back cause it seemed to be like the perfect thing.
UDG: Yeah, it takes on that old-time feel– sort of like you’d have run across in Bristol, Tennessee from the likes of the Carter Family, but even further back than that, kind of like the shows from the Wild West such as Buffalo Bill Cody’s shows. We like the idea of a variety show so much that we have actually thought about trying to incorporate more eye candy such as including a magician or something like that.
SC: Yeah, Dave I’ll leave the magic to you… You might could get a cape or something!
MM: So, what does it look like when you present the Stagecoach live?
SC: Every band typically does a set mainly of their own original music and then all the acts come together at the end with a final performance, and we have usually been making the last performance a tribute so one of our mutual favorite artists. For instance, the first show the Stagecoach had, we came together and did a Tom Petty tribute to close out the show. At Grant’s, we have a tribute planned as a closer where we will perform a few songs from our favorite Georgia artists.