Local Rocker Brings Awareness to Georgia’s Places in Peril

Athens musician T. Hardy Morris traveled to 10 historic sites and recorded live performances of songs from his solo debut, Audition Tapes.

Photo by: Jason Thrasher (L-R) Thayer Sarrano, Matt Stoessel and Hardy Morris performing "OK Corral" at the Chattahoochee Park Pavilion in Gainesville, Ga. It was built in 1910. 

Every year the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation announces its list of Georgia’s Places in Peril to garner attention and support for our state’s many historic landmarks. The sites are usually suffering from serious neglect and are in danger of demolition. They must be eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places or the Georgia Register of Historic Places for nomination. Strong community support helps as well.

This year the Trust partnered with T. Hardy Morris, a musician from Athens, Ga., in a unique effort to raise awareness. Morris, who is also known as the frontman of the popular indie rock band Dead Confederate, released his first solo record, Audition Tapes, in July. Morris and his friend Jason Thrasher, a filmmaker and photographer, traveled to 10 of the Places in Peril where they filmed on-the-fly music videos.

“I’ve always been more interested in the past than the future,” said Morris. “I’ve spent my life in a South full of history; some parts worth preserving, some parts better left behind. This project focuses more on the physical remnants. These are historically significant structures from around the state of Georgia which are in particular need of awareness and repair.”

Fellow musicians Matt Stoessel and Thayer Sarrano accompanied Morris on his special journey. They traveled to Central State Hospital, Milledgeville; Ritz Theatre, Thomaston; Rock House, Thomson; Hancock County Courthouse, Sparta; Lexington Presbyterian Church, Lexington; Capricorn Recording Studio, Macon; Travelers Rest State Historic Site, Toccoa; and Chattahoochee Park Pavilion, Gainesville.

A screening of all 10 videos takes place at Ciné in Athens on August 16. Hosted by Morris and Thrasher, there will also be a listening party after the film.

“We wanted the videos to be quick and spontaneous and give people a glimpse of how important we feel it is preserve what we have before we just pave over it to build something soulless and bland,” Morris added. “Come on, people. The future is history anyway.”

Portions of both ticket and record sales will benefit the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. 

To learn more about Morris and the project, see Hardy Morris.com.

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