By REBECCA LEFTWICH | Jun. 18, 2019

Two Atlanta bands, The Black Crowes and Michelle Malone and Drag the River

REBECCA LEFTWICH / THE NEWNAN TIMES-HERALD
Doug Kees rarely is without a guitar in his hand, whether he’s performing or teaching at Musicology. Kees will celebrate 30 years in Newnan and the release of his first solo album, “Roots and Boughs,” June 22 at the historic Wadsworth Auditorium.

In early spring 1989, Newnan musician Doug Kees suddenly found himself without a gig.

Two Atlanta bands, The Black Crowes and Michelle Malone and Drag the River, had just signed major record label contracts, hiring away two members of The Law – Kees’ band.

Desperate for work while he rebuilt the band, Kees ran across an ad seeking a guitar teacher in Newnan.

“I was thinking, ‘I could do that for a couple of months until we’re back on the road,’” said Kees, who began his teaching career with cold-calls to prospective students and round trips to Atlanta for single half-hour lessons.

Three decades and more than 200,000 music lessons later, Kees and Musicology will celebrate the milestone with an anniversary concert June 22 at the historic Wadsworth Auditorium in downtown Newnan. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Kees said the concert will feature some of his favorite musicians performing rock, jazz, blues and acoustic music alongside the Newnan guitarist.

It also will mark the official release of Kees’ first solo album, “Roots and Boughs.”

He wrote “Roots and Boughs,” a collection of acoustic instrumentals, while he was on the road last year. During 2018, Kees played 100 concerts in New England, along the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, across the Midwest and in New York City.

Kees said he wasn’t quite sure he was ready to record the album, but it ended up coming together surprisingly fast once he got into the studio.

“I set a date for the studio and went for it,” he said. “As it turned out, I kept everything from the first night (of recording) and completed it in just two more visits.”

The album was written as a dreamy, peaceful acoustic companion, a variance from rowdy energy of the road, Kees said.

“I wanted it to be an intimate record, to sound like I’m sitting right in front of you playing my guitar,” he said. “My buddy, Jeff Bakos, who engineered the album, managed exactly that. I’m thrilled with how it turned out.”

The release of “Roots and Boughs” and the 30th anniversary concert are part of another “barn-stormer” year for Kees, who regularly plays shows with Michelle Malone. Upcoming gigs include the Kitchener Blues Fest in Toronto and a West Coast tour in September.

Kees also has joined Malone at several reunion shows with Drag the River – a band that unwittingly helped launch his teaching career 30 years ago.

“I guess it just goes to show you if you stick around long enough, you get to play with everybody,” Kees joked.