On the Tuesday, April 4 edition of Georgia Today: Methodist churches have filed suit to leave the denomination; spring break returns to Tybee Island; and GPB has a new music podcast: the Peach Jam Podcast.

New Georgia Today Podcast Logo

Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Tuesday, April 4. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode: Methodist churches across the state are suing to leave their denomination. One of the largest spring break parties is coming back to Tybee Island, and Georgia's wealth of musical talent takes center stage in GPB's newest podcast. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1

Peter Biello: More than 180 United Methodist congregations across Georgia are seeking to leave the United Methodist Church. GPB's Devon Zwald has more.

Devon Zwald: A group of more than 180 North Georgia churches affiliated with the United Methodist Church has filed a lawsuit seeking to dis-affiliate with the denomination. The church's North Georgia conference and the group wanting to split. Had been working on an amicable parting. But Jeff Jernigan, a member of McEachern United Methodist Church in Powder Springs, says the conference unexpectedly changed the process.

Jeff Jernigan: Extremely frustrated. We have been through a very difficult process, like many in North Georgia, to discern how we should proceed. And all we — all we wanted to do was get to a vote. And so we are in a-a mess. We have people leaving on both sides of the issue.

Devon Zwald: The congregations are splitting over a range of disagreements, including about whether LGBTQ members should be ordained as ministers and whether ministers should perform same-sex marriages. For GPB News, I'm Devon Zwald.


Story 2

Peter Biello: One of the largest spring break activities for Black college students in the South is returning to Georgia's Tybee Island. Promoters of "Orange Crush" are advertising events there the weekend of April 22. It's been in Florida for three years. The event has become a flashpoint over concerns about safety, policing and racial discrimination. Orange Crush promoter Kenneth Jacobs says he's never had a bad experience and encourages locals to embrace the visitors.

Kenneth Jacobs: Everybody can make money off this event. Because, like I said it's a big event. And it's very profitable for everybody, whether the hotels, the tax commissioner — everybody's getting paid.

Peter Biello: Tybee Island's mayor says the city will implement traffic and safety protocols that would be used on any other weekend when large crowds are expected.



Story 3

Peter Biello: A cornerstone of services for the homeless in Macon is celebrating a record fundraising effort. GPB's Grant Blankenship reports.

Grant Blankenship: The Daybreak Day Resource Center is where the unhoused in Macon can access basic services during the day, when many shelters are closed: things like bathing, doing laundry, accessing medical care, or just having a meal while staying out of the elements. The single largest funding for the center is the annual sleep-out where people camp at a nearby park. This year, the campers raised a record $300,114. Sister Theresa Sullivan leads Daybreak.

Sister Theresa Sullivan: So people say, "Oh, it's so wonderful. You give showers" and then the water bill comes in. Literally, this is the bread and butter that allows us to continue to serve every day.

Grant Blankenship: Meanwhile, next door, the center is building supportive housing for people with nowhere to go after leaving the hospital. For GPB News, I'm Grant Blankenship in Macon.



Story 4

Peter Biello: The U.S. Army will begin inspections of privatized housing at Fort Gordon next week. Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff has called attention to the conditions of privatized housing at the base near Augusta. Ossoff revealed the results of an investigation last April that found that Balfour Beatty, one of the nation's leading providers of privatized military housing, failed to make needed repairs and remove hazards like mold.



Peach Jam podcast

Story 5

Peter Biello: How about we take a moment and listen to some music? Specifically, music by musicians from Georgia? GPB's get a new podcast showcasing the musicians and bands that call Georgia home, and the twist is that these bands record live in GPB studios and you get a front row seat. It's called the Peach Jam Podcast. And with me now is its host, Jeremy Powell. Thank you so much for being here.

Jeremy Powell: I'm glad to be here.

Peter Biello: And awesome name. Peach Jam.

Jeremy Powell: Yes. I love it. It — it went up the ranks here at GPB to find the right name for it. And I think we landed on something fun. It's cool.

Peter Biello: It's so perfect. You got to wonder why it wasn't already taken by someone else.

Jeremy Powell: Right? We got the Instagram handle and everything.

Peter Biello: Perfect. Perfect. Check us out on Instagram then. So we're going to play some music from some of the bands that are coming up. But before we do that, I want you to tell us a little bit about the concept First, when we download or stream that first episode — which is available — what is the format? What should we expect?

Jeremy Powell: So I brought in bands that call Georgia home. So it's either people who are from Georgia or people who live in Georgia in their working musicians and they come in, they play some songs, we have some conversations. I find out about them, about their backgrounds. And my goal for the podcast was to get a variety of peoples, a variety of sounds, and people from a variety of places around the state. So there's a ton of bands in Atlanta, but there's lots of people spread out all over. I've got bands from Rome, Chatsworth, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, there's Covington and Atlanta. There's lots of places represented and you get a nice broad spectrum of sounds from across the state.

Peter Biello: I imagine you'll be learning a little bit about each place as you learn about the musicians.

Jeremy Powell: Absolutely have. Yes, I've learned about places to go, places to avoid, you know, people to meet. It's been fun.

Peter Biello: Awesome. Awesome. Okay, listeners have a lot in store for them, then. Tell us about one of the bands that's coming up, maybe the one this Friday. Eddie 9V.

Jeremy Powell: Oh, Eddie 9V is great. So I'll call him a kid because I'm older than him, but he's 26 and this kid is so talented. He plays what he describes as Southern soul, and he dropped out of high school to become a full time musician. And when we recorded the podcast, his album, his new album that just came out in January, was No. 1 on the Billboard blues charts. And he's just a kid from McDonough.

Peter Biello: That's interesting. I looked him up online before our conversation. He's got these Buddy Holly vibes in appearance.

Jeremy Powell: He really does. I actually saw him down in Macon last week at Grant's Lounge, and his live show is incredible. In the music he played here in our studios was a little more stripped down. And the kid is just so talented.

Peter Biello: All right. Well, let's take a moment to listen to Eddie 9V.

Eddie 9V (singing): ...beg, borrow, steal. To have a good woman right next to me, and I'm drunk. I can barely feel. There ain't a thing I wouldn't beg, borrow, or steal.  No, no. 

Peter Biello: When my wife and I are cooking, we often turn on the Spotify Retro Soul, a Spotify playlist, whatever that happens to be. And this, I feel like, could fit right in with that.

Jeremy Powell: It's actually where I found out about Eddie 9V was from the Retro Soul playlist on Spotify. Yes, I was like, "Oh man, I like the sound." Looked him up, found out he was from Georgia, and immediately sent in emails like, "Hey, you got to come in on the podcast." And they did, and they were fantastic.

Peter Biello: All right, Well, listeners, looking for more from Eddie 9V, search "Eddie 9 V" That's how he goes: Eddie. 9. And then the letter V. All right, Jeremy, who else is coming up on this podcast?

Jeremy Powell: Well, Gringo Star is coming up on the podcast. They're playing at Shaky Knees. They're an alternative band from here in Atlanta, and they're so fun. Their conversation is interesting because they have popped over in Europe and they found a lot of success over in Europe.

Peter Biello: I saw in their touring tour schedule. They've got dates in Paris.

Jeremy Powell: Yes. Yes. For me, it's fascinating to find out how people can, you know, become a big hit, a big star in one part of the world and—  and not another. So I'm glad to see them on the Shaky Knees lineup. But they're fun. They're great. They're really kind of hard to put in a box.

Peter Biello: Cool. All right. Well, let's listen to a little bit of Gringo Star.

Gringo Star (singing): I'll be hanging around. Till we clinch to the sound. All the sins that I've found, will forever be bound

Peter Biello: Jeremy, how would you describe their sound?

Jeremy Powell: It's almost got a British vibe to it. There's like a there's a '50s and '60s rock and roll with little bit a surfiness, and then there's a little bit of a British vibe there, too. That's why it's so hard to put in a box. That's what — it's alternative rock, but you're not quite sure what it is.

Peter Biello: Okay, so that's Gringo Star. Jeremy, we can't have a music podcast that is produced in Atlanta without talking about rap, because Atlanta is all about rap. Tell us a little bit about Cantrell, who is not from Atlanta but is from Georgia, and he's going to be on the podcast in the coming weeks.

Jeremy Powell: Cantrell's from Sylvester, Ga., which is outside of — it's a suburb of Albany. And this dude was a jam skater. So one of those guys who goes to a skate rink and does like breakdancing on — on roller skates. And he also did some rapping and he played college football and he won a contest with Converse to be given some studio time and was able to record. And out of that, he's become a recording artist.

Peter Biello: Well, I'm excited. I'm going to listen to that podcast because I want to know more about how he made the leap from all those other things he's done to to rapping. But let's take a listen. So this is Cantrell. 

Cantrell (rapping): You gonna hit Twitter for the validation. I'll make him my homie for some conversation, like am I tripping. 'Cause you've been distant. A feeling of being fearless in your heart, being vacant. My friend said that I should know my place. I'm paying overbudget for other people's mistakes. I'm such an outfit. No matter the fashion is, we leaning and passion lives. I'm thinking of cashing in. I'm tired. 

Peter Biello: So that's Cantrell. Time is short, Jeremy, but I do want to talk about one more band that's coming up on the Peach Jam podcast, The Ain't Sisters.

Jeremy Powell: Okay.

Peter Biello: Tell us about them.

Jeremy Powell: So the Ain't Sisters are it's almost like alternative bluegrass and they're from Decatur. And the way that I found out about the Ain't Sisters — because this has been a mission to look for people from all over the state and different kinds of sounds and different kinds of people. Upstairs here at the building, there was some work being done where some guys were fixing the ceiling from a water leak and they started talking about music. Well, I started telling them about the podcasts I was working on. And one of the guys fixing the ceiling was like, "You've got to check out the Ain't Sisters. They're amazing." I Googled them. They were incredible. And one of the girls in this band is one of the most talented pickers I've ever heard. She just tears up a mandolin. It's fantastic.

Peter Biello: Well, let's sample The Ain't Sisters. Here they are.

The Ain't Sisters (singing): All the sons and the daughters. And all the people that we knew. They all went off to college. Now, they're making due. But, there's something that is missing and it grips them through and through. But, I found in the grounds and I brought some back for you.

Peter Biello: That's the Ain't Sisters, one of the many Georgia bands to be featured on the new podcast from GPB called The Peach Jam Podcast. One episode is already dropped and I'm here with the host, Jeremy Powell. Jeremy, how often will these be published?

Jeremy Powell: Every week. We'll have them on Fridays, every week for the next 11 weeks. So yeah. No. 2 comes out this Friday, and then there's 10 more after it.

Peter Biello:  All right. And Jeremy, if we've got a recommendation whether someone wants to recommend their own band or they know of one from Georgia, that would be a good fit for the Peach Jam podcast. How should they get in touch with you.

Jeremy Powell: So you can send an email to me? You can send it to my GPB email. It's JPowell@GPB.org

Peter Biello: All right. Jeremy Powell, host of the Peach Jam podcast and GPB, thanks very much.

Jeremy Powell: Thank you.


Story 6

Peter Biello: Past winners of the Masters will gather at Augusta National clubhouse tonight for the annual Masters Champions Dinner. As the reigning champion, Scottie Scheffler has the honor of preparing this year's menu. It includes cheeseburger sliders, tortilla soup and a warm chocolate chip skillet cookie for dessert.



Story 7

Peter Biello: Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Tennessee-based Jack Daniels say they have launched their ready to drink cocktail in the U.S. The pre-mixed canned cocktail with two of the largest household names in the U.S. first hit shelves last fall in Mexico. It's going to continue to expand to other markets throughout this year. And a version featuring Coke Zero will also be available beginning in May.


And that's it for today's edition of Georgia Today. Thank you, as always, for tuning in. Remember, if you want to stay up to date on all the latest Georgia news. Best thing to do is to subscribe to this podcast. We will be there for you and your podcast feed tomorrow. If you've got feedback or perhaps a story idea, please do let us know. Send it to us by email. The address is GeorgiaToday@GPB.org. I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.


GPB's Georgia Today newsletter hits your inbox on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with top stories from around the state featuring news, politics and more. Subscribe here.