Rock Roots Band Rock’s Buffington’s Stage

By Mary Kate Conner

The ever-evolving face of Americana music weaves into the songs of the Atlanta-based band, Migrant Worker. Musician and producer, Josh Thane, started the band back in 2012, though the lineup of musicians has changed over time. The band now includes Thane as lead vocalist and guitarist, Robbie Dotson on bass, Matt O’Brien on electric guitar and vocals, and Mike Hammer on drums. The band takes its name from a line in a JJ Cale song they frequently perform.

“Migrant Worker is the name of this band,. If if you’re ever in town, come see us if you can.” The band connects with the name, as they themselves travel around the state to make a living.

Migrant Worker has played several big gigs in and around the Atlanta area, including an Allman Brothers tribute show with big names from the folk genre like Col. Bruce Hampton, Lamar Williams Jr. and others. These days, the band is looking to expand by playing in other cities around Georgia, especially college towns.

“We’re really working on getting our music to places like this [Milledgeville] a little bit more,” said Hammer. The band hopes to play around the Southeast during the summer.

While they expand their playing field, the band is also working on expanding their sound. Their goal is to pay respect to the past while also moving into the future.

“All of our stuff is pretty rooted in American, roots-y music, but we still evolve that and try to push it forward,” Thande said. “We play covers, but we’re always changing them in our own way or trying to incorporate other music styles.”

They are currently working on trying to integrate some electronic accents, while still sticking to their folk and country roots.

“Some of the originals [in the genre] started out with the lap steel guitar and a fiddle,” O’Brien said, “so we’re still playing those songs, but now the band is evolving that.”

Hammer added that it’s really all about using the tools that are available to them as music changes with the times.

Migrant Worker agreed that even as they add variety, when you strip away all the extra sound, you still end up with acoustics playing original, folky, Willie Guthrie-esque music.

“Americana is huge right now, which is awesome,” Thane said. “But I think it’s easy to get stuck in that. We’re playing those original tunes, but turning them on their head, electrifying [the genre].”

Be sure to keep an eye on the band’s Spotify – they hope to release some new music in the coming months.

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