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Ghostmeat's newest releases

A few months back, two important new productions — Owen and Dolores — arrived the same day for Russ Hallauer, guitarist for the Lures and founder of Athens label Ghostmeat Records. Owen is his newborn son and Dolores is his band's second full-length album. A few hours after bringing home the baby with wife Cecilia, Hallauer was on the tiny Caledonia Lounge stage with guitar in hand for the Lures' rootsy-pop CD release party.

"I hadn't slept in days or eaten much, " says Hallauer. "I had one beer, got dizzy and knocked my amp over. Everybody thought I was being all punk rock, but I was just trying to keep my balance."

It was a typically busy day for the Ghostmeat mogul. He had just sent the final mix of the newest AthFest compilation to the manufacturer and processed orders for some of his label's 35 other releases. Not bad for the 6-year-old business, originally formed to release a 7-inch single for his previous band, Sunbrain. Since then, the label has released CDs by a number of notable Athens bands, including Drip and the Drive-By Truckers.

Hallauer, who considers his company a cooperative between the bands and himself, is a rightfully proud papa. "We do what we want, when we want, without input from anyone but the bands," he says. His work isn't paying off in dollars, he says, but the rewards are great in terms of overall support for the Athens scene. "When we can put a CD in someone's hand and find they love that music as much as we do, then we've done our job."

But will being a dad cramp the musician's rock 'n' roll lifestyle? No, says Hallauer. "I'm gonna teach him how to stuff CDs in bubble wrap and fill orders. We need all the help we can get. I guess maybe I'm about to have my first 'employee.'"??