Atlanta Music Scene

Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta’s vibrant and evolving music scene. From hot new artists to Music Midtown to shows at the Tabernacle, she’s got you covered.

Collective Soul talks new live album, Ed Roland's charity Christmas concert


The world that Ed Roland knows is always a busy one.

Along with Collective Soul, the frontman recently wrapped a fall tour — which included a spirited performance at Music Midtown — and is already thinking ahead to a 2018 run with the band in South Africa and another summer U.S. outing.

But first, there is the inaugural Collective Soul live album to celebrate — it arrived last week — and his annual “Winter Wonder Bash” fundraiser concert coming up at Buckhead Theatre Dec. 21 to finish organizing.

The “Live” album is, somewhat amazingly, the first true live album in Collective Soul’s two-decade-plus history. Its 17 tracks spotlight a career-spanning set list, from epic ‘90s-era singalongs “Run” and “Shine” to 2015’s “AYTA” and “Confession,” from that year’s studio album, “See What You Started by Continuing.”

“Live” arrived on CD and double vinyl, but also comes with a download of the new track, “Right as Rain,” which will appear on their 2018 album, “Blood.”

While the songs that comprise the release were recorded over the two-year span of the “See What You Started by Continuing” tour, there is one definitive nod to the band’s Atlanta roots — the cover was shot at Chastain Park Amphitheatre at the close of their September 2016 performance on a shared tour with the Goo Goo Dolls.

As for the upcoming concert at Buckhead Theatre, it marks a change for Roland’s usual holiday gathering. For years, he has spearheaded a series of concerts at Eddie’s Attic for charitable causes. But this year, after the idea of performing five shows at the intimate music room was floated, Roland decided to economize and move to a larger venue (“I thought, yeah, let’s do ONE,” he said with a laugh).

The concert, which fully benefits the T.J. Martell Foundation, will find Roland joined by buddies Emerson Hart from Tonic, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra and host Jeff Dauler, of “The Jeff and Jenn Show” on Star 94.1. Fans can also expect acoustic performances from Collective Soul (which includes Roland’s brother Dean on guitar, Will Turpin on bass, Johnny Rabb on drums and Jesse Triplett on lead guitar) and Roland’s side band, the Sweet Tea Project.

A few weeks ago, Roland and Triplett sat in the rock-star-chic “piano room” of Roland’s elegant Sandy Springs home to talk about the live album and the upcoming benefit bash.

On the decision to release a live album at this point in the band’s existence:

Roland: “We did a live album with the (Atlanta Symphony) Youth Orchestra (in 2006), but we just wanted to present these five guys. No tricks, no overdubs. Strictly, we wanted it to be what people heard that night (at a show). … We weren’t concerned where it was recorded; we just wanted the best. … We didn’t want to lose our (live vibe). I think that’s what people are finally getting to understand — that Collective Soul is really a good rock ‘n’ roll band live.”

On Collective Soul getting hyped for concerts:

Roland: “We see the crowd and get excited. As a band, it’s still fun. We high-five each other, we’re joking. We’re like little boys.”

Triplett: (laughs) “IPA.”

On the song choices for the album:

Roland: “We wanted the hits, but since ‘See What You Started…’ was the first time we recorded with the five of us, I wanted to get a lot of that album in there. Then we played a lot of new stuff that will be on the new record, so I thought it would be exciting for people to hear where it starts and then how it winds up on (the studio record). People will know the hits, but you sneak a few (newer songs) in there, like ‘This’ or ‘Hurricane.’”

On the standout moments on the album:

Roland: “I think ‘Shine’ will always be that one (identifiable Collective Soul song) — that’s why we moved it so far up in the set. You want people to know that you’ve grown, but that is their introduction to us, and it still sets the tone and it’s good to put it up front in the set because people are into the show at that point. And for me, ‘Run,’ when the crowd sings with us.”

Triplett: “As a guitarist, there’s something about ‘Why Pt. 2’ on that album.”

On the upcoming album, “Blood”:

Roland: “We’re basically done. It will be five rock and five orchestrations. Going back to the vinyl days, side A will be the rock side and side B the more ‘The World I Know’-meets-‘Run’ type of vibe, but with new songs.”

On moving the Christmas concert to Buckhead Theatre:

Roland: “I love Eddie’s (Attic) and I love how it started and I love not having a dressing room and you walk out and you’re part of the community and they feel like they’re part of you. But I think I needed something a little more proper. With Emerson and Kevin graciously giving their time and with Jeff hosting, it just made more sense. It’s going to be more structured. I wanted it to be a little more of a show.”

On his relationship with the T.J. Martell Foundation:

Roland: “It goes back about five years. They do good work. (The organization funds research to treat and cure cancer.) They take it seriously. I know people that they’ve helped and I’ve seen the work that they do. And with (Atlanta attorney) Joel Katz as (chairman on the National Board of Trustees) and (senior executive director of the Recording Academy Atlanta chapter) Michele Caplinger involved, it’s more heavily Atlanta. This is like a celebration of the new era of T.J. Martell with Joel taking over, but it still has that neighborhood feel.”

CONCERT PREVIEW

Ed Roland’s Winter Wonder Bash

With Collective Soul, the Sweet Tea Project, Emerson Hart from Tonic, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra and Jeff Dauler from Star 94.1. 8 p.m. Dec. 21. $30. Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.