It doesn’t matter to Ed Roland that Eddie Owen is no longer part of Eddie’s Attic.
“Eddie is one of the greatest men I have ever known,” the forthright Collective Soul/Sweet Tea Project frontman said at the start of his mostly-annual Christmas show at the intimate Decatur venue, where he and Owen (now at the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth) started the tradition several years ago.
Roland’s two charity dates at the Attic this year – the show sets up again tonight at 8 – benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation and The First Tee of Atlanta.
Taking the stage with most of The Sweet Tea Project and their pop-rock grinder, “Are You the Answer,” Roland, casually clad in jeans and a button-down – and sporting a goatee – sounded robust.
He also unveiled a new Collective Soul song – or, most of it – being recorded for next year’s 20th anniversary record, a pretty acoustic ballad written for his wife and possibly called “It Always Comes Back to You.”
But soon it was time for Roland to cede the spotlight, as is the format of these shows, and provide some playing time to some of his musical friends.
Guitarist-singer Jared Goldman, who played Roland’s Christmas concert at Eddie’s Attic in 2010 as a mere 13-year-old, is now a mere 16-year-old and a bit of aTeddy Geiger type with a blues edge. (Check out his 2011 performance at Owen’s Red Clay Theatrehere.)
His cover of Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash” was augmented by his new looping pedal, but it was his acoustic blues song, “Pride and Joy,” that was most memorable.
“Man, kids these days…singing the blues, looping guitars,” Roland joked after Goldman’s three-song set.
Next up was Jesse Tyler, who in addition to being a singer-songwriter-guitarist is also an Atlanta Ballet company dancer.
The deep-voiced Tyler, with his sensitive songs and knit cap, hushed the room with his ruminative love song, “If It Hurts.”
Roland also offered the stage to his Sweet Tea comrades Grant Reynolds and Brian Bisky, who each played a couple of songs before Roland recruited them and Goldman for a nostalgic look at “December.” This time, the 1994 rock smash for Collective Soul was given a country swagger that was well-suited for the vibe of the room.
“Let’s have fun…it’s about having fun,” Roland said to the guys.
No doubt that attitude will be back for Monday’s show.
Show info: 8 p.m. at Eddie’s Attic. Tickets are $30 at the door. More information at www.eddiesattic.com.