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Bands to Put Poverty Center Stage

Mike Killeen hopes to raise poverty awareness at Eddie's Attic this weekend. The Bitteroots will headline the event.

This weekend, poverty will be center stage at Eddie's Attic.

The show, “Poverty Is Real” at Eddie’s Attic, aims to raise awareness about the issue and will benefit the .

On Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11, Decatur’s own, The Bitteroots will open the benefit. Others participating include Matthew Kahler, Maria Gabriella Band, Arlington Priest, Frances Arc, Lindsay Rakers Band, Ryan Flanagan, Mike Killeen and Besides Daniel.

Also performing will be Rebecca Loebe, whose recent stint on "The Voice," made her a national name. Loebe was part of Adam Levine's team and performed an arrangement of Nirvana's "Come As You Are." After that recording was released as a single by Universal Republic Records, the song had made the top 10 of iTunes alternative chart.

Mike Killeen is the singing, harmonica playing guitarist and 31-year-old founder of the nonprofit Poverty Is Real. When it comes to fighting poverty, he's in the ring.

“Poverty is very unsexy,” says Killeen, who launched the nonprofit in the last eight months. “I am so impressed with the breast cancer movement – how they made talking about breast cancer acceptable and sexy, even. Poverty and issues of poverty do not have the same kind of cache. It was time to build awareness in a fun, attractive way.”

The concept is, he says, is to go from town to town taking fundraising concerts on tour, featuring primarily, if not exclusively local artists. Each band that plays in these shows is donating a song to a compact disk that will be sold to benefit the chosen charities. And, he adds, all the proceeds from ticket sales, t-shirt sales, and the CDs benefit those charities.

Upcoming, Killeen says, is a show in the fall in Athens, and then, next spring, one in Nashville.

“I live and work in Decatur, so I know we’ll come back here,” he says.

The charity of choice for this Eddie’s Attic concert is Decatur Cooperative Ministry, an organization that has been fighting poverty for 40 years in the local community.

The Bitteroots’ Bill Taylor says that the band jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the fundraiser and open the two-day extravaganza.

The band is named for the mountain range in Montana. A friend came up with it about three years ago and it just stuck, says Taylor, the band’s bass player and vocalist. 

Though band members have day jobs, Taylor says they only play two shows a month, including Sweetwater 420 Fest, Smith’s Olde Bar and now, Eddie’s Attic.

Taylor says the Eddie's Attic performance this weekend will be the biggest show they do all year.

“We’re all really good at what we do – both professionally and as bandmates,” says Taylor. “Our whole attitude is that if we’re going to spend the time to do it, we’ll take it as far as we can.”

As far as this weekend’s show goes, Taylor also says that they’re honored to be playing at Eddie’s Attic with all the other bands.

Ultimately, Killeen says, everyone is helping to fight poverty, one community at a time.

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