In February 2012, amid public controversy surrounding a proposed 8.3 acre mixed-use development in downtown Athens to include a Wal-Mart, Patterson Hood, co-founder of the Drive-By Truckers, wrote “After It’s Gone,” a “love song” to the city and its vibrant downtown and recorded it during a 40 Watt gig. He then conscripted a group of local musicians, dubbed the Downtown 13 and including Brad Morgan, John Neff and Jay Gonzalez of the Truckers, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Widespread Panic’s John Bell and Todd Nance, Lera Lynn, Claire Campbell of Hope For Agoldensummer, David Barbe, Henry Barbe, Brannen Miles, and Carter King and Payton Bradford of Futurebirds to add parts to the recording during sessions at Chase Park Transduction.
The group also appeared in a video produced and directed by Jason Thrasher, and the single and video brought national attention to the issue. Members of the tireless crew came together again in early March to create another video, this time on behalf of Nuçi’s Space. The non-profit that works to prevent suicide and assist in the emotional, physical and professional well-being of musicians was one of 15 finalists in Southwest Airlines LUV Grants competition and was charged with creating a 90-second video with a Flip camera to demonstrate how they would show “luv” to their community.
The efforts paid off and in late March, it was announced that Nuçi’s Space was awarded $25,000 towards its mission and annual Camp Amped for kids. Visit Nuci.org to learn more about the organization and visit protectdowntownathens.com to listen to and watch the video for “After It’s Gone.”
Update: Media reported in October 2013 that Selig Enterprises announced that it was abandoning its plans for the development in downtown Athens.