When attending a music event along the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas, one common sight to see is music-inspired artist Robby Amonett painting the performances of the musicians on stage. It would also be easy to say he is the most photographed artist (and maybe person) along the Gulf Coast. Everyone who owns a smart phone and attends live music events have likely taken a photo of Robby as he paints.
Robby painting at Kress Live V.I.P. Grand Opening in Biloxi, MS. Also in photo is Stephen “Andy” Anderson (Photographer for “The Line”)
Amonett, a former rodeo bull rider who has traveled across the country, has had his story featured in newspaper and magazine articles, television segments, You Tube videos and websites. At the end of 2014, he had the privilege of doing a painting at the famous and much loved Mobile, AL establishment Callaghan’s, that was featured on the inside cover of the annual year end issue of “Southern Rambler”.
Robby Amonett has painted hundreds of musicians at Jack’s by the Tracks in Pascagoula MS. The one above is him doing a painting of Bronwynne Brent, which was later featured in an article about Amonett’s art that appeared in the Sun Herald newspaper.
Music venues serve as an important backdrop and setting to what Amonett does. Over the years he has developed a good relationship with venue owners and music festival/event promoters. One huge reason is him being so likeable; another is because he is so approachabe and his willingness to cooperate with each establishment. These reaons, as well as being loved by the musicians, and more are why Amonett can be seen painting the performances of musicians in places like: Callaghan’s in Mobile, AL; Jack’s by the Tracks in Pascagoula, MS; Duling Hall in Jackson, MS; Terminal West in Atlanta, GA; The Basement in Nashville, TN; Government Street Grocery in Ocean Springs, MS and so on……
Johnny Cole & Robby Amonett with sisters Megan & Rebecca Lovell of Larkin Poe at Terminal West in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
The concept of The Southland Music Line came together in huge part because Robby Amonett’s art, Stephen Anderson’s photography and my stories of the road in mind. I first met Robby Amonett at Irish Coast Pub in Gulfport, MS as he prepared to paint the performance of Rosco Bandana. Our mutual friend, Rosco Bandana’s Jason Sanford, introduced us and we’ve been friends since that night. In fact, he along with photographer Stephen Anderson were the two that encouraged me to head to Jack’s by the Tracks, which turned out to be somewhat of a ground zero or home point to The Line.
Robby Amonett and Stephen “Andy Anderson” at the Joe Jefferson Playhouse for The Mulligan Brothers pre-release party for new album. (Photo by Glenda Stabler Campbell)
An Active Year for Amonett
2014 saw Amonett crisscross the southern U.S. from Atlanta to Nashville to Austin to New Orleans and back to the Gulf Coast.
Highlights of Amonett’s year are too numerous for just one article, but we, throughout the year, have done our best to inform our readers of his ‘cool adventures’. We have even bigger plans for doing so in 2015.
His year started off, following a New Year’s Eve house party in Fairhope, AL that featured the members of Willie Sugarcapps, then driving 75 miles west to Ocean Springs, MS to attend a show at Government Street Grocery featuring The Dig. Nights like that are a common thing for Robby Amonett (and for that matter, everyone involved with “The Line”).
The first half of 2014 saw Robby paint the performances of Jason Isbell (with special guest Cary Hudson) at Brewsky’s in Hattiesburg, MS; Larkin Poe with The Shadowboxers, Rosco Bandana & Lindsay Jarman at Terminal West in Atlanta, GA and soon thereafter he would hit the road with one of the most rockin’, hardest working and traveling bands in America, Banditos.
Banditos Promo Poster which featured the art of Robby Amonett.
On Tour with a One of a Kind Rock Band
Touring with Banditos would lead him eventually to SXSW where he would meet up with Stephen Anderson and me, as he was painting at some of the most under the radar events at Southwest around Austin, TX. One standout show would become one of his favorites of 2014, Banditos at Sam’s Town Point. Along with musicians like Ramsay Midwood and others, Banditos seemed tailor made for such an original great working-class venue. Robby was truly within an element he loved. Even when a biker patron placed a pet bird atop Robby’s head where it sat for three songs, seemed to add to what turned out to be one of his best nights while on tour with Banditos and the entire SXSW experience. As Stephen and I began our search for Robby and Sam’s Town Point, we wondered if we would find him. Down dark roads off the main stretch, around curves and an occasional bump in the road, we finally found this unique “Only in Texas” place for music, dancing and good times – and there sat Robby doing what he loves “painting and listening to some of the best music on planet Earth”.
Sam’s Town Point in Austin, TX (Site of Banditos, Ramsay Midwood shows painted by Robby Amonett.
Night after Night
The Amonett Adventures continued throughout the year. He would spend four straight nights in Jackson, MS painting at performances at Duling Hall and Hal & Mal’s. Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen, Kim Richey, Kevin Gordon and others would be the subjects of his art. Multiple nights and several straights shows have been a common occurrence to Amonett’s way of life. A true artist of his kind knows how to survive whether it is sleeping in his van, a friend’s couch, a backroom at a venue or any place to lay his head between shows. In fact, he’s a more Rock & Roll kind of guy than most the musicians we all go see in concert.
During “South Sounds” in Mobile, AL, Amonett spent 2 days painting 13 bands and when it was over he painted a charity event for a friend. Speaking of charities, he is often approached to paint and donate his time and art to many such events. He has rarely turned down doing so and will do his best to arrange his schedule to fit charitable events.
Geoff Painter Tribute
In the autumn of 2014, The Gulf Coast lost one our dear friends and lovers of great music. The passing of Geoff Painter affected many because of his kind and gentle heart. Painter was himself a fixture to the Gulf Coast music scene. Best known to those at Jack’s by the Tracks, a fitting tribute in his honor was arranged. Using a photo of Geoff Painter, Robby painted as, one of Geoff’s favorite bands “Fat Man Squeeze” performed on Jack’s stage. The painting now hangs at the end of the bar at Jack’s by the Tracks. We could go on and on about similar things Robby has done coming to the aid of others.
The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm
There is place in the southern Alabama countryside near Silverhill called The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm. Its Sunday Socials are a highlight to the Southern Music Scene. A who’s-who of musicians from all over North America find their way to this unique and original outdoor venue. Under the huge trees on several Sundays each year, among a family of friends and others, one can see Robby Amonett preparing to paint another show. Whether it be The Mulligan Brothers, Cary Hudson, Willie Sugarcapps, Jimbo Mathus, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Grace Askew, Cary Hudson, Lightnin ‘ Malcolm or others, Robby is usually on hand to paint.
Art, Loves Good Music and Making Friends
He can be seen painting at Festivals (e.g. South Sounds, SXSW, Gulfport Music Festival); Cool Dive Bars or Honkytonks (e.g. countless names); spacious venues with state of the art sound and lighting (e.g. Kress Live in Biloxi, MS or Duling Hall in Jackson, MS); Historical luxurious seating cultural art centers (e.g. Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, AL); or on the front lawn at the annual outdoor music event of Lawnaroo at Chimney’s in Gulfport, MS. What Robby does is art, love good music and make friends.
His contributions to The Southland Music Line is appreciated by all involved and its visitors. After reading about him, being told by friends about him, and/or discovering his art online or at shows, it’s not uncommon to be in areas such as Memphis, TN or Asheville, NC and have someone approach and ask about Robby Amonett. That always makes me happy to know more and more people are learning of him.
The Poster for Robby Amonett’s Sept. 2014 Art Show featuring his art collection “Visions of Jazz: The Sound of Color”.
Robby Amonett’s Art Show
During the month of September, Robby Amonett’s Art was featured in special month long art show at The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The art show entitled: “Robby Amonett: Scenes of a Scene” was a nice success.
The article which appeared here at “The Line” was one of our most visited of 2014.
Read our article about the event:
- Visions of Jazz – The Sound of Color
- Synthesis of the Soul
- Scenes of A Scene
Music Inspired Art of Robby Amonett:
2014: A Year in Music –
According to The Southland Music Line:
Best of 2014:
Top Albums | Top Live Music Experiences |
Top Music Venues of the South:
2014: A Year in Music –
The Photos of Stephen Anderson:
On a personal note:
Thank you Robby for well, everything you do. Your friendship is important to me and I’ve considered it a real joy getting to know you over the past few years. When I walk into a venue and see you setting up to paint, it reminds me of how glad I am to have met you at Irish Coast Pub. I wish you all the best and deserved success.
– Johnny Cole (The Southland Music Line)
© The Southland Music Line. 2014. All rights reserved