Growing up in the small northeastern Georgia town of Flowery Branch, Allison Weiss played various instruments as a kid, learned the theme to Romeo & Juliet as her first song on piano, and figured out John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" on ukulele. By ninth grade, she decided to "become a punk rock star."
Now situated in the indie-pop corner of the rich music town of Athens, Ga., the young singer/songwriter has established herself as one of the scene's most prolific and potentially inspiring D.I.Y. songmakers.
"Things in Athens are great — the music scene is booming, as usual, and we've got a few bands in town who are getting a lot of exposure lately," says Weiss, speaking just before a soundcheck in Greenville, S.C., last week.
On small tours like the one she's on, she handles the acoustic guitar and sings while her brother A.J. backs her with organs, guitars, and other instruments. The duo shares the bill on Thursday evening with two acts she knows well — local pop-rock band Run Dan Run (led by singer/keyboardist Dan McCurry) and Charlotte songwriter Dylan Gilbert.
Weiss first came to Athens to attend college in 2005. Last year, she released a self-produced collection titled An 8-Song Tribute to Feeling Bad & Feeling Better, which found its way onto regional college radio. On this trip, the Weiss siblings have a disc called Summer Mixtape.
"We make these 'mix tape' discs before the tours, which are made up from recordings I've done in my room over the last few months," Weiss says. "Summer Mixtape has six kinda lo-fi, cool songs on it. Touring like this is really awesome. It can be really tough at times. The actual playing part is only an hour, while the rest of it is setting up, breaking down, and traveling. Luckily, the more we travel around, the more we find that there's this cool network of people who love to see and play music." —T. Ballard Lesemann
Allison Weiss shares the bill with Run Dan Run and Dylan Gilbert at the Trusted Palate (563 King St., 843-577-7271) on Thurs., July 17 at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. Check www.thetrustedpalate.com and www.allisonw.com for more.