Spafford's Georgia Debut Features Surprise Sit-In From David Lowery October 29, 2017 14:52

Words by Josiah Garrett

Eager fans gathered in anticipation on Wednesday for Spafford's debut performance in Athens, Georgia, and they were not disappointed! After Spafford's customary "Soundcheck Jam", their 2 sets included a groovin' 19-minute Minds Unchained, an uplifting, 13-minute Windmill, and a super-duper tasty In the Eyes Of Thieves” into JJ Grey's “On Fire.” However the most memorable and surprising moment of their peach-state debut was when Spafford brought up longtime songwriter-rights advocate and University of Georgia professor, David Lowery, to close out the first set with Cracker original, “Low.”

David Lowery, in addition to being the founder and co-founder of Camper van Beethoven” and “Cracker” respectively, is most well know for his fight for songwriter royalties from digital distribution services like Spotify and Pandora. An established professor in UGA's Music Business program, Lowery has brought to light the prevalent issues of digital music services taking advantage of copyright loopholes and neglecting to pay songwriting royalties, or mechanical rights, to the artists. In the complex system of royalties for online music distribution Lowery is an outspoken advocate for musician's rights to their songs, and while his lawsuits may fizzle out in court it highlights a bigger issue of importance whereby creative artists are compensated for their work in the digital age.

Conversely, jam band fans have historically opted not to monetize the taping and sharing of live performances, which is what makes their live performances so amazing and this sit-in so surprising! The 6-minute “Low” was met with cheers as audience members recognized the acoustic guitar bearing staple of their community. By the time the chorus came around, bewilderment turned aside and a hundred voices sang in unison. There was no doubt in the crowd's mind that they were witnessing a rarity inside the historic 40 Watt Club.

So while David wont get songwriting royalties on the audience recording of Cracker's biggest hit, his unexpected collusion with Spafford paints a more poignant picture: That beautiful 6-minutes of keyboard riffin', bass groovin, and guitar soloin' brought together two unlikely heroes and will surely resonate in the hearts of Athens music lovers as a moment of community and solidarity across genres. Listen to the whole show here! And don't worry, you won't have to pay for it.

Special thanks to Spaffnerds for the setlist and video footage!

Set List via Spaffnerds - (Listen)

Spafford: 10/25 | 40 Watt Club | Athens, GA

Set 1: Plans, It's a Bunch > Mind's Unchained, Windmill, People , Low*

Set 2: Lonely, The Remedy, In The Eyes Of Thieves > On Fire^, All In

Encore: Todd's Tots


*Cracker - with special guest David Lowery (of Cracker)

^JJ Grey

Watch Set 1 via Spaffnerds here:


Watch Set 2 via Spaffnerds here: