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How Dahlonega's Crimson Moon wound up in a country song
Ashley McBryde performing in September in mountain town

Spirit of Harvest Festival

When: Sept. 23-24
Where: Kaya Vineyard and Winery, 5400 Town Creek Road, Dahlonega
How much: $25-115 for entry
More info: 706-219-3514

Dana LaChance’s restaurant isn’t a dive bar, but she’s happy about the growing popularity of “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” all the same.

The country song recorded by Ashley McBryde in April is taking off in the South, and it centers on Dahlonega’s Crimson Moon.

LaChance bought the building in 1996 and operated an outdoors shop from the space for almost a decade. The North Park Street site started as an art gallery and coffee shop and became a full-service restaurant and music venue in 2006.

Even before the building became a hot spot for bands, LaChance organized “songwriters circles” on the second floor to let musicians stretch their legs.

That attitude made its way onto the ground floor of the Crimson Moon.

“From the very beginning, I wanted it to be a place where people could launch their careers,” LaChance said. “... I never really was in a position to take off and take my music on the road, so I thought I could be a place where other folks who wanted to get started or showcase what they’ve already accomplished could come and do that.”

In a roundabout way, she’s accomplished that goal with McBryde, a Nashville, Tenn., musician who has never played a show in Dahlonega’s Crimson Moon.

In a video on her YouTube page, McBryde explained how the song sprang from a rough day writing music. After hanging it up for the day deciding that they weren’t getting anywhere, McBryde’s group talked about their worst days.

Her band mate’s worst day ever involved a car breakdown on the highway passing Dahlonega, where he pulled in to wait for the tow truck at the Crimson Moon.

“Shawn Mullins was inside the bar playing,” McBryde said in the interview. “… He’s like, whatever, I might as well just stay here and have a couple of beers. He’s there singing along with (‘Lullaby.’) He met a girl, they were together for three years and then they got married.

“That’s what you do with the worst day ever — you flip it on your back. You raise your glass.”

That’s how “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” came to be. In the spring, the song was featured on Sirius XM and has taken off for the artist.

So is the Crimson Moon a dive bar?

“No, it’s not,” LaChance said, laughing hard. “... But I don’t mind. To me it was just alliteration … it was just a great phrase, and as a songwriter I get that.”

The venue gets its fair share of big names, from Mullins (who still plays sold-out shows there), Indigo Girls, Rory Block, the Gibson Brothers, Billy Dean and others, LaChance said.

Come September, residents of Dahlonega and North Georgia will get a chance to hear McBryde perform the song live, but not at the Crimson Moon.

McBryde is set to perform at Kaya Vineyard and Winery on Sept. 23 as part of the vineyard’s second-annual Spirit of Harvest Festival.

Tickets are still available for the weekend festival, according to vineyard general manager Kari McCann.

LaChance said she’s contacted McBryde’s managers and is working to book her to play in the Crimson Moon.