Singer-songwriter Christian Lopez was born in Reno, Nevada in the spring of 1968, in a new rural suburbia that was once the Old West. At thirteen he taught himself chords on a cheap nylon-string guitar, singing songs he learned in grade school like "Tom Dooley" and "Oh, Susanna." The folk songs soon gave way to rock and roll, and at nineteen he joined a rock band. Lopez went on to play in other groups while in college at the University of Nevada, Reno. He eventually went at it solo and acoustic, performing his own songs, and left Nevada for other musical pastures. After brief stints in Texas and Arkansas, he wound up in Athens, Georgia and lives there still.
In the funky and musically rich town of Athens, he met Antoon Speters, a gifted guitar and mandolin player hailing from Utah. The two hit it off immediately and began performing together, playing all sorts of tunes and Lopez's originals. The traditional music bug bit him hard, and Lopez soon found himself immersed in the local old-time music scene. He put down the pen and learned to play the mandolin, fiddle, and clawhammer banjo, and played in loose-knit string bands for a few years.
One winter evening in 2002, he started in on a new song. In a span of a few weeks, Lopez wrote what would become most of Down By The Drowning Creek. Drowning Creek featured some of Athens' finest musicians including Speters, Dick Daniels, Andrew Heaton, and William Tonks and was released in June 2004.
More about Down By The Drowning
I'm damn lucky to get to play with these folks and
to also call them my friends. Not only are they talented
musicians with their own styles, making for a great band, but
they're excellent humans, too...
Antoon Speters has been my friend and musical
conspirator since I moved to Athens in '96. We met at Aaron
and Dave Dowless's
place on Barber Street. Like me, Antoon's from the
Great Basin, but hailing from Salt Lake City. Among other
things, we share a common love of the West. He is the finest
guitar player I've played with, and not an ounce of ego to
match his many talents. He also plays mandolin, banjo,
dobro, and he loves to yodel. He won't tell you this, but he
was a finalist at the Telluride Festival guitar contest
back in the 80's. Antoon's forgotten more tunes than I'll
ever know, and every once in a while he bursts into song, some
rare chestnut he forgot long ago which finally made it
back to the surface, whole and intact, not a verse missing.
In his real life he wrestles kudzu and is a printmaker in
his art studio. Oh yeah, and he can call owls, too.
Noel Beverley's been in many Athens bands, and is an
original member of the acclaimed world music band,
Fair. Lately, she's been playing with famed fiddler and mandolinist,
David Blackmon. She can sing and play most anything, from
punk to bluegrass to Celtic to gypsy, and plays
bass, guitar, accordion, and percussion. Soon after she
took up the upright bass, my old string band, Fiddlebone,
invited her over for a jam. She stoically kept up with us,
bloody fingers and all. Not a peep from Noel. She does have
a haunting and ethereal voice, though, which she uses
to great effect. During one radio show someone called in, and
when the DJ said "this is Christian Lopez and..." the
caller said, "Yeah, yeah, but who's the woman?" Everybody
likes Noel. She's the hardest working musician of the
bunch, and is able to make a living playing music. I respect
the hell out of that.
I met TJ Young via his Hey, Revolution! bandmate, Jason Ellis, who was a fan of my friend, Breck Alan. I
saw TJ with a full drumkit backing just Jason on acoustic
guitar and he never once got in the way of the song or lost
tempo. He was having fun, too, and really had his own way
with the groove. With our little band, he can do more with
just a djembe, snare, and high hat than some drummers can
with a big kit. He comes from the rock-n-roll world,
bringing that dimension to the music. He's good about letting me
get squirrely about songs. I appreciate that immensely.
He makes kickass flyers, too. Most importantly, he creates a
tight pocket for the band. TJ is the nicest guy you could
hope to meet. In his real life he does improv comedy. That