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Saint Francis to join Gamblers for Threeforty show

Athens’ based band Saint Francis and Evan Barber and The Dead Gamblers will perform Saturday at 2516 Dawson Road. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter.

Athens’ based band Saint Francis and Evan Barber and The Dead Gamblers will perform Saturday at 2516 Dawson Road. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter.

Carlton Fletcher

ALBANY — Evan Barber fronts one of the region’s best bands, and he and his Dead Gamblers are no strangers to the rigors of the rock and roll life.

But Barber will get to relive his days as a music fan Saturday when the Threeforty Creative Group hosts a show featuring the Gamblers and Athens’ Saint Francis.

Muscle Shoals-based Cold Sweats will open the 18-up show starting at 9 p.m.

“Scott Baston and those guys are amazing,” Barber said of Saint Francis’ frontman, who left Moonshine Still to start SF with guitarist Jeremy Johnson. “Watching Scott, the way he and his band just hammered out a career playing bars and clubs, was when I realized musicians didn’t have to sign a deal with a record label to have a career in music.

“That’s kind of the inspiration and diagram I have for our band.”

The Gamblers, who despite being short-handed opened last weekend’s Mardi Gras Street Festival in downtown Albany with as raw — and exceptional — a set as they’ve played recently, are working on a new album that Barber says will be finished in a couple of months. Fans can expect some of the songs from that project, Gamblers favorites like “Birmingham” and covers of some of Barber’s favorite musicians — like Ryan Adams and Townes Van Zant — during Saturday’s show.

Baston and Saint Francis — Johnson, bassist Carlos Enamorado, the native Albany rhythm section of drummer Rackley and purcussionist Mason Davis, pedal steel player Mark van Allen and keyboardist Brandon MacRae — will close out the evening of music with a set of their eclectic Allman Brothers-meets-early Beatles tunes.

“I grew up in Cordele and played a lot in Albany with Moonshine Still,” Baston said. “I got sucked into the bar scene and alcohol while at the University of Georgia. It’s a long story, but I can sum it up by saying I tried to escape before I found out you can’t run from yourself.

“I have been sober now for seven years, but in the process I walked completely away from music. Didn’t even pick up my guitar. I worked any job I could find for a couple of years, and I was hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle to work on the same day that my grandmother died. Later at the hospital, my granddad said to me, ‘Why do you want to be an a--? Only an a-- would deny himself the opportunity to do what he does best.’”

So Baston and Johnson started talking about writing songs again, and when Van Allen left a project he was in, the three formed the framework that would become Saint Francis.

“I talked with Scott about playing at Threeforty, and he said, ‘We’ll start at 9 and y’all can come on at 10:30 and finish things up,’” Barber said. “I told him there was no way we’d play before them. He said, ‘That’s y’all’s home,’ but I told him that, first of all, we weren’t going to follow them on stage, and second, there are a lot of people here who bought tickets as soon as they learned Saint Francis was playing.

“This will be the first local show we’ve played since New Year’s Eve, so we’re looking forward to playing in Albany again and getting to play with Saint Francis.”

Tickets for the show are $7 and are available at the Threeforty Creative Group, 2516 Dawson Road. A cash bar will be available.