Fresh Produce Records is a haven for independent musicians in Middle Georgia and beyond – Knight Foundation

Fresh Produce Records is a haven for independent musicians in Middle Georgia and beyond

Skateboard art branding at Fresh Produce Records. Photo by Bud Howard, courtesy of Fresh Produce Records.

In downtown Macon, Ga., the scene isn’t quite what it used to be. Lofts and restaurants are popping up everywhere, live entertainment has blossomed, and many venues–which used to favor traditional jazz and blues bands–have begun to cater to a younger and more experimental crowd.

Fresh Produce Records, a Knight Arts grantee that was conceived as part vintage-record store and part farmers market,  has been evolving into more of a concert venue for local and international bands over the course of the past year. Owner William Dantzler has a music background of his own; as a recording artist and member of the band Cult of Riggonia, he empathizes with the plight of independent musicians who aren’t signed to a record label. That’s why he’s chosen to use his resources and experience to produce original concert experiences at Fresh Produce.

“The Knight grant helped us realize something that was missing around here,” Dantzler says. “The grant helped us figure out our place in the community. The resources put us on the path of hosting live music for the local, experimental crowd that we cater to.”

For little-known acts who take their shows on the road and would like to find receptive audiences on the path to or from Atlanta, Dantzler’s locale has been described as “an oasis to weary travelers.” Increasingly, there are also international bands booked to play Fresh Produce. Nicoffeine, a group from Koblenz, Germany, is slated to perform here on Oct. 12.

“Through friends, we connect with global bands,” Dantzler says. “We’ve become known as the spot in the South to book stand-alone and tour dates for cutting edge acts.”

On Oct. 16, four days after Nicoffeine showcases its noise rock, Fresh Produce will host Alec Livaditis, an abstract cellist from Athens, Ga. Zachary Corsa and Denny Wilkerson Corsa, a husband-and-wife “noise project” out of North Carolina known collectively as Lost Trail, are also on the lineup that same night. Specializing in a genre termed ethereal noise, the two use analog equipment and obsolete recordings of both man-made and natural sounds to make their improvisational music. They still release music on cassette, vinyl and CD, and create their own graphics for their album art.

Fresh Produce Records. Photo via company’s Facebook page.

Fresh Produce Records is located on the outskirts of downtown Macon, and along with a couple of other performance venues, it has livened up this once-sleepy part of downtown. Though the bands booked here may not appeal to a mainstream audience, a growing number of people are warming up to its eclectic programming.

Fresh Produce is also a destination for music lovers looking to create some new playlists. With a selection spanning all corners of the globe, the collection of music in the record store is representative of the concerts Dantzler and his team produce for the community. Ever more, the business is succeeding in its quest to expose locals to music from well beyond the boundaries of Macon.