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CLINE: Banks & Shane make time for Dream House

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

If you’ve lived in the Atlanta area for any length of time, chances are you’ve enjoyed a performance by Banks & Shane. The musicians have been together for nearly 40 years, playing everywhere from festivals and churches to private parties and their own restaurant.

Banks Burgess, the banjo playing partner in the operation, said that versatility of venues has kept the duo busy while making the business side work all these years. But no matter where else they’ve played, Banks & Shane have always found time to help at fundraisers like Saturday’s Music on Main event in Lilburn.

The event, held at Lilburn City Park, will benefit the Dream House for medically fragile children. General admission tickets are $10 at the gate, and Banks & Shane are scheduled to go on at 6:45 p.m.

“I’ve been at this for 38 years and we’ve always tried to be involved in the community,” Burgess said. “We’re so appreciative that people around here come out year after year to hear our music. And this is a wonderful, wonderful cause, and we’re glad to do our part to help.”

Concertgoers will be treated to a couple of guys — Burgess and Paul Shane — who know how to entertain. I just saw them a couple of weeks ago — they play at area churches to help with fundraising there as well — and was reminded that the motto on their website — “We are the party” — is very accurate.

Old pros like them make entertaining look easy when it’s anything but. They play mostly cover tunes, and from audience participation to their jokes and banter, a Banks & Shane concert is just a fun time.

They’ve been having a good time of their own for nearly four decades now, and Burgess said they have averaged playing about 100 dates over the past few years.

The economy has knocked that number a little lower recently, but Burgess said the fact they play in a variety of arenas is “one of the things that has sustained us.”

“We have a mix of (outlets for playing), so when one is slow the other is good,” Burgess said. “We’ve never needed a big stage or bright lights to do what we do.”

On Saturday night, Banks & Shane will have both. And they expect to see some familiar faces. They got their start playing at the old Steak & Ale in Tucker, and one group that religiously came to see them play taught at Lilburn Elementary School. That led to Banks & Shane performing for the kids at the school.

Now those folks have kids of their own, and Burgess hopes some of them will attend Saturday. “We hope to run into a lot of old faces,” he said.

Old fans or new, a good time for a good cause is in store Saturday night in Lilburn.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.