Forever Evergreen

On Saturday, June 25, the local Athens band Evergreen held their first public performance on the KidsFest stage at the 2022 AthFest Music and Arts Festival.

Evergreen was formed by high school students Flannery Ragan, Gee Manring, and Gaetano “Guy” Smolik. In order to play at AthFest, they needed another guitar player, so they turned to Cedar Shoals junior Ana Mowrer.

“It was a lot of fun because people didn’t know the band was going to be there, and it helps with exposure,” Mowrer said.

So far Evergreen only plays cover songs, but they are working on writing originals that incorporate all of the band members’ music tastes.

The members have covered artists like Weezer and The Cure with the songs “The Good Life” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Mowrer’s personal music taste is a wide range including artists like Elliott Smith and local bands in Athens, listing female-led Fishbug and Monsoon as her favorite local acts.

“I listened to Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, and Bill Withers but I mostly listened to whatever pop was on the radio. Alicia Keys, Demi Lovato, and Taylor Swift were pretty great, I really liked them,” Mowrer said.

At age 7 Mowrer started playing the ukulele, later progressing to guitar.

“I started playing (guitar) in 8th grade. I liked listening to music a lot, so I wanted to start playing,” Mowrer said.

Mower accredits her dad for introducing her to music.

“My dad is a musician, he plays in a bluegrass band in Texas. He also plays solo jazz guitar at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant sometimes and his band plays around town occasionally,” Mowrer said.

Mower’s friend, Stella Perkins, also exposed her to different genres which helped her further develop her love for music.

“Most of my inspiration came from people closer to my age. My neighbor (Perkins), who is three years older than me, is in a band and that set an example of playing music,” Mowrer said.

Before joining Evergreen, Mowrer was a part of the band Panic Wave, which started at Nuçi’s Space, an Athens organization that provides a space for teens to express themselves musically.

“Nuçi’s Space is an organization you can sign up for and do camps at. They put you into a band, and you just get to play for a week or two and figure out what it’s like to be in a band,” Mowrer said.

Mowrer’s biggest supporters regarding her personal music goals are her friends and family.

“My close friends Sam and Addie often come to my performances and shows,” Mowrer said.

Mowrer’s favorite part about being a member of Evergreen is the unique experiences that come along with it and the teamwork aspect of brainstorming new ideas and music to perform.

“The practices are probably the best thing because everyone is really nice and we always have a good time,” Mowrer said.

Mowrer hopes to one day perform with Evergreen at the 40 Watt Club, an established local music venue standing on Washington Street with featured performers ranging from local to national acts.

“It’s out there but also an achievable goal,” Mowrer said.

Beginning in a band isn’t as complicated as it seems. Mowrer advises a strong social media presence to garner support.

“Reach out to people you know that also play music and go on your Instagram and be like ‘Who wants to start a band?’ and then become best friends with them,” Mowrer said.