Seven nights a week, Smyrna and Vinings possess a wide variety of wonderful entertainment and dining options to choose from. Yet in considering the entire metro Atlanta area, one would be hard-pressed to say that our Patch is the place to be in the ATL on any particular night of the week.
That is until now, as congratulations Smyrna, you are now Atlanta’s must-visit destination spot on Monday nights. And that’s not just to catch a Mayor Max Bacon one-liner or two every other week at the Smyrna City Council meeting.
No, it’s because while most of the metro area takes Monday nights off to recharge from the weekend, opens its doors to Jason "Lefty" Williams and the throng of talented and budding musicians who pour through the doors to join him for their weekly jam sessions.
So let it be noted, for now, Smyrna was made for Monday night – especially if you’re a lover of free live music. At least 25 musicians stepped on stage Monday and some of the musicianship here is off the chart. The Backstage Beat has a comprehensive list of musicians who have recently made the Monday appearances at Bella’s, which is located at 3599 Atlanta Road.
What’s constant is that everyone appreciates the music and respects the craftsmanship of those producing it. There’s a regular jam every week, except the once-a-month theme night. February’s theme was Southern Rock and last night’s was Pink Floyd. Needless to say, it rocked.
Williams’ good-willed and laid-back spirit is infectious. Born without a right hand – hence the nickname – the candid singer-songwriter started out strumming with the end of his “nub,” and soon after fashioned his first prosthetic pick at age 6. Nowadays, he pounds the guitar and makes it sing.
Read more here about his inspiring and humble journey that currently has him ensuring that the blues are alive and well in the Jonquil City.
One of the best aspects of these weekly jam sessions is the communal feel that the artists are helping each other improve. Often there will be professional musicians sharing the stage with inspiring players looking to take the next steps in performing live.
And then there’s the opportunity to see a 10-year wail on the guitar. They say that Reese Boyd of Cartersville, who has been playing by ear since he was 4, is a child prodigy. See the accompanying video to determine for yourself.
Already a veteran of the Atlanta jam scene, he has sat in with Grammy winners including Todd Smallie (who also performed Monday) of The Derek Trucks Band, as well as many of Atlanta’s best local musicians. And Monday night as he fluttered around those frets, taking control of the guitar and the stage, it was hard not to think, ‘this kid’s going places.’
But hopefully one of those destinations will again be at Bella’s Pizzeria, where Lefty Williams and friends have for the time being made it the place to be on Monday nights.