Terri Binion Returns to Athens< < Back to
This weekend will be a little like a homecoming for Orlando-based singer-songwriter Terri Binion.
“In 1977 I moved to a little farm outside of Athens, and it’s where I got my feet wet, it’s where I first started to play clubs,” said Binion, who is gearing up for a string of shows in Athens, kicking off with a performance at Jackie O’s on June 18. June 19 she’ll bring her talents to the Little Fish Brewing Company and on June 21 she’ll play at Tony’s.
Binion’s music could be described as achingly sincere, tunes that ooze soul and sound a little like cracking open someone else’s diary — only to find that you’re reading the work of some under-recognized great American author. She has some pretty accomplished fans, as well. Visit her website and the first thing you’ll see are notes penned by eccentric all-American alt-country hero Jim White. Listen to her 2002 album, Fool, and one of the first things you’ll hear are backing vocals by the one and only Lucinda Williams.
Born a Marine brat on Camp LeJeune near Jacksonville, North Carolina, Binion moved with her parents to Dexter, Ohio after her father retired from the military and decided to head back to working the coal mines (as he had as a young man in Kentucky) for a few additional years with the promise of lifelong pension to follow.
“At the time, I had just graduated from high school and I didn’t have plans to go away to school, I was living with my folks,” said Binion. “One of my neighbors in Dexter invited me to come into Athens and play some music, and I just really fell in love with the scene — and they fell in live with me. The next thing I knew I was playing at venues and, for the first time in my life, I was experiencing both the civilian life and the university life. It was a real eye-opening experience for me, it really changed my life.”
Although this weekend will mark the first time that Binion has played such a large number of shows for the community that welcomed her with open arms in the late ’70s, this isn’t the first time that she’s been back to the area since she left in 1979.
“In the summer of 2014, I kind of did this same route, I went to see friends and family and to reconnect with my past and also hook up with my brother and sister where we were laying down ashes of my mother and father — we had been holding onto their ashes for a few years, and we met in West Virginia and laid down their ashes, that was really the inspiration for this trip,” said Binion. “In 2014 I came through Athens for the first time since 1979 and I went door to door to different storefronts, introducing myself.”
While introducing herself, she made a close friend who helped her book all of the shows that she has planned for this upcoming weekend.
Binion said that she is very excited to be on the road again, taking her music to new and old fans alike. She said that the experience has been inspiring to her, and that she hopes to get cracking on a new EP that would hopefully be released next summer as soon as she gets back to Orlando. She is also aiming to get a couple of dates in Holland, where she toured several years ago, hammered down for the spring of 2017.
“In 2014, after I got home from visiting my friends and family, and going back to Athens and Dexter to see where I used to live and hung out in the ‘70s, I got home I had some hard decisios to make about selling property and letting go of the past,” recalled Binion. “Though it was difficult, there was a time when I was feeling really, really positive about the change I was about to make. One morning I woke up out of a dead sleep, and as I opened my eyes, I saw this exact tour — it was almost as if something had been communicating to me as I slept. Telling me that the first thing that was I going to do that was going to be completely achieveable would be to make this same loop again — to visit my friends in Georgia and Asheville and Pittsburgh and West Virginia and Ohio and I could do this same circle again, and call it a tour at the same time. I could do some house concerts, do some small venues, do some radio and it just came to me practically out of a dream or premonition and it seemed completely doable for me, so, here I am.”