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A jam session at the music barn
Flowery Branch venue offers opportunities to rising musicians
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Musician Billy Puckett plays some guitar inside the Flowery Branch Music Barn. The music barn is inside the Life Connection Cowboy Church and has open jam sessions and events featuring country/western, bluegrass and western swing. Puckett is a member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame. - photo by Scott Rogers | Get Out

Flowery Branch Music Barn jam session

When: Feb. 22

Where: Flowery Branch Music Barn, 5801 Black Jack Road, Flowery Branch

Cost: Free

More info: 678-725-0813 or www.flowerybranchmusicbarn.org

Growing up on a farm in North Alabama, Billy Puckett savors the time he gets to strum his guitar and sing at the Flowery Branch Music Barn. Whether it is the wooden fence that lines the inside walls or the saddles, horse blankets and harnesses placed around the interior of the building, the facility reminds him of his childhood.

“The cowboy setting is the only life I had till I left home,” Puckett said.

Playing 60 or 70 shows a year with his band, the Junction, the Duluth man helps bring musicians who have played on stages all across the country to the South Hall venue.

If it’s the western charm or carpeted floors, when someone is playing at the Flowery Branch Music Barn the sound is studio quality and owner Kenny Rice wants all of North Georgia to take advantage.

“I want this to be a music education center,” he said. “I want this to be a place to learn music, a place for people to fellowship together and have a lot of fun without having to put out a bunch of money.”

The facility is open every Sunday for the Cowboy Church service, but Rice wants to open the facilities doors every day to musicians willing to play and learn.

Cowboy Church holds service on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and the Flowery Branch Music Barn is available any day and hour outside of church with a call to Rice at 678-725-0813.

“I want to make it easier for people to enjoy music and develop the music they have inside,” he said.

Flowery Branch Music Barn had its first event in November.

“This place was packed,” Rice said. “We had people and musicians from all over — North Carolina, South Carolina.”

Along with groups performing, Rice started monthly jam sessions to bring together those learning and those willing to teach. January was the first jam session and it lasted for five music-filled hours.

“We want to have jam session once per month,” Puckett said. “You get all levels of musicians and you just go with what you got.”

The sessions are open to anyone and the next one will be Feb. 22.

Playing on stages all over the country including the Grand Ole Opry last year, Puckett enjoys playing at the music barn because it is natural to him.

“You know there are different strokes for different folks, but this feels comfortable to me,” he said.

Puckett not only hopes to help build Rice’s dream, but hopes to build the music department for the Cowboy Church.

“I open the service up in the morning,” Puckett said. “Anyone looking for something, I could use help.”

Building the music program is special to Puckett, because it’s the house of the Lord and he wants people to feel like they have somewhere to go.

“Everyone is welcome here,” Puckett said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you wear, what you look like. If you want to go to church, you come on, we got a place for you.”

Rice even wants people who already have a church home to stop by afterward, no matter their denomination and hang out, play, listen, have some food from the grill and fellowship.

“It’s my heart’s desire to help and motivate people,” he said.

Hoping to see future musicians succeed, the Flowery Branch Music Barn opens the opportunity for unexperienced and skilled entertainers to network with one another for free. Furthermore, music lovers are just as welcomed as musicians.

“I think people need a place to go where they can learn and play seven days a week,” he said, “day or night, it doesn’t matter to me.”

For more information, visit www.flowerybranchmusicbarn.org or call 678-725-0813.

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