September 2009 Issue
Strings & Things
Athens’ burgeoning music scene relies on more than talented players. It also requires instruments and someone to repair them, as well as accessories, music lessons and sundry supplies.
That’s where Blue Eagle Music comes in.
Founded in 1971 in the same Court Street location where it stands today, Blue Eagle is Athens’ only music store, and an exceptional one at that. Home to every string under the sun, from guitars to banjos, ukuleles and mandolins, the quaint shop is a bright-blue beacon for music-minded shoppers, and it’s fared well from the increasing emphasis on “buy local, support local.”
“It’s very important for us to have what these musicians need,” owner Frank McDermott says. “And we’re very pleased to get the support back from them.”
In fact, Blue Eagle’s presence is integral to what has increasingly become one of the best music scenes in the state, where a DIY attitude prevails, and those searching for some tunes can find a live performance almost every night.
McDermott, a guitarist, also teaches at the store, along with several other music instructors.
“There’s been a uke revolution,” he laughs, noting the increasing popularity of ukulele lessons.
The guitar is, of course, still the most sought-after instruction. Lessons take place daily at Blue Eagle, the perfect spot for those seeking musical inspiration.
“We actually have second-generation lesson-takers,” McDermott says.
Though he never planned on owning a music store, McDermott — who moved to Athens from the Philadelphia area in 1995 and purchased the store in 2006 — has found his niche. Music lovers can catch him and his old-time string band, Rattletrap, at nearby Casa Cantina on Monday nights.
“I wanted to be somewhere I could remain a musician,” he says about the move that worked out well, both for him and for the musicians of this rural college town.
Thanks to McDermott’s store, the music can — and will — go on.
Visit blueeaglemusic.com for more information.