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Geoff Achison: Continental drifter

Blues musician finds home away from home

Even for the quintessentially road-hardened blues musician, a move halfway across the world from Melbourne, Australia, to Atlanta is a daunting proposition. Add a family with a 5-year-old child to the equation and the leap of faith that world-renowned blues/soul guitarist Geoff Achison took to relocate is as bold as the thousands of miles between the cities.

But, as any working musician in Achison's genre understands, you go where the jobs are. That, along with his Decatur-based manager Nancy Lewis Pagel, was enough to spur the cross-continental relocation. The gruff-voiced singer/guitarist had lived in the States for a brief time a decade ago. "I was always keen to come back, but I needed to get a solid management team on the ground," he explains. In 1999, a mutual friend in the U.K. suggested Pagel, who has worked with Achison ever since. "It came to the point that I was refusing a lot of [U.S.] opportunities because I still lived in Australia, so we made the move." He became familiar with Atlanta through yearly visits during which he met and gigged with local players, bonding with the city along the way.

The road warrior intends to tap into the city's impressive pool of talent to fill slots in his ever-changing touring group, appropriately named the Souldiggers. "Over the years here in Atlanta, I've worked with some fabulous musicians, session players who all know their stuff."

But perhaps most importantly, his new home provides a solid base perfect for fanning out to the rest of the country. "Living here now puts the whole of the U.S. within our grasp."

Geoff Achison performs at the Inman Park Festival at 4 p.m., Sun., April 29, Delta Park Stage. 770-242-4895. www.inmanpark.org/fest2007.php.




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