The Carllile Women Concert on Sunday

Here again is the information on the Carllile concert tomorrow night. I’ve seen the set list. They will be performing several of my favorite songs.

To mention a few selections:

Virginia will be singing “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, which she sang at Thumbs’ wake years ago. And will be singing over old tracks of Thumbs.

They’ll be performing Virginia’s “The Loser”, “Indian Boy/Indian Girl”, and “I Guess I was born this way”. She had the hit with “Indian Boy/Indian Girl” years ago. Thumbs was on guitar, Les Paul was on bass and Mary Ford was singing back-ups and Les’ son Gene was playing drums.

They’ll also be performing “It Don’t Worry Me”, which I’ve written about recently here, some thoughts on it and Altman. (As it turns out Virginia knows Ronnee Blakeley who starred in it.)

Another song will be Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

What: The Carllile Family

When: Sunday, April 30th, 6 pm Doors

Where: 800 East Studios (800 East Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30312
off North Highland Avenue, between Freedom Parkway and Randolph

Cost: $25 for seated, $18 for standing. All ages welcome. Tickets available at
Carpooling is encouraged.

Light food and beverages will be available for cash.


“Four Lady Thumbs: A Musical Evening with Three Generations of Carllile Women: Virginia, Kathy, Tammy and Calli”

When Virginia, Tammy, Kathy and Calli take the stage at 800 East Studios it will be a the first time that the late Thumbs Carllile’s wife, daughters, and granddaughter have shared the spotlight. Thumbs was a legendary guitar player known for his unique style. His legacy, however, will not overshadow the talent of these women.

Virginia, 74, was already a successful vocalist when she met Thumbs in Germany in 1955. Coming from a strong blues and old country background, she is best known for her single Indian Boy/Indian Girl This event will be her first stage appearance since 1987.

Virginia¹s daughters, Tammy and Kathy, remember a childhood filled with music. Both followed their parents’ lead and chose careers in music. Tammy sang in the Cowboy Boogie Band in Las Vegas, and won Nashville’s Hall of Fame singing competition. She sang vocal tracks on albums with her dad and sang a duet with Michael Parks.

Kathy ­ a devotee of Muscle Shoals blues ­ was once winner of The Gong Show. She performed on the blues portion of the Monterey Jazz Festival, and had a hit song in the 1980s called Stay Until the Rain Stops. Atlantans will remember her as the lead vocalist for her band, Kathy Carllile & Tabasco.

“My father was always in the house playing,” Tammy remembers. “We didn’t realize we were being influenced, but we adapted quite a musical ear early on. Mom and Dad had us listening to everything from Sarah Vaughn and Dinah Washington to old country. Dad always said to learn every style there is, because you never know what style will be making money.”

Calli, 28, is establishing her reputation as one of Atlanta¹s finest contemporary jazz/blues vocalists. She is frequent backing vocalist for respected Atlanta songstress and Rock Star:INXS finalist, Heather Luttrell.

On April 30, the four women will sing a variety of favorites ­ some accompanying the other with harmonies. Look for songs as diverse as ZZ Top’s I Need You Tonight, Randy Newman’s Guilty, and Aretha Franklin’s Skylark. Thanks to studio wizardry, Virginia will also sing with Thumbs backing her on guitar..

“When my father performed at the Freight Room, everybody said it was like being in his living room,” Tammy explained. “That¹s the feeling we want to create. We want a very relaxed night, as if you had just dropped in for a visit.”


Thumbs Carllile was an innovative guitar player and songwriter. As a child, his thumbs were too short and fat to make it around the neck of a guitar, so he began playing it on his lap like a dobro, a style that eventually earned him the nickname Thumbs. He was discovered by Little Jimmy Dickens in the 40s, and went on to play with Dickens’ band, Bill Wimberley’s Rhythm Boys, Les Paul, Red Foley’s Troupe and the Wade Ray Five. A stint with Roger Miller in 1964 led to a signing with Smash Records (and eventually Capitol), where he released two albums with popular songs such as Let It Be Me, Blue Skies and High Noon. In the 1980s, he began playing on Sagebrush Boogie in Atlanta. He moved to the city officially in 1986, where he was a regular at venues such as the Freight Room in Decatur and The Point until his death the following year.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

2 thoughts on “The Carllile Women Concert on Sunday”

  1. Hey, cuzzins–anywhere I can listen? Loved the photos, Uncle John (Dad) wanted to come so bad, offered to pay the airfare for anyone who could come along, but then got worried about the trip doing him in…

    Would have loved to have sung a harmony with you, had to do it in my mind. Didn’t know many of those songs…


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