Wild Peach: Georgia loses a Peach 

OutKast's secret funkin' weapon passes

Myrna "Peach" Brown, who led the Atlanta funk-soul band Whild Peach with guitarist David Whild, passed away from breast cancer April 1.

Whild Peach's name may be unfamiliar, but most everyone has heard its music. As a much underrated member of the Dungeon Family, Whild Peach contributed to most of OutKast's albums (with "I Like the Way You Move" and "Liberation" being two major highlights), Killer Mike's Monster and Goodie Mob's Still Standing. The group played on tracks for Pink, Raphael Saddiq, Macy Gray and TLC. Whild Peach also released several CDs of original material, including last year's Greatest Hits Volume One.

"She had been battling breast cancer for the past 11 years, but very few knew about it. ... She wanted to be treated like she was living, not dying," wrote friend and fellow funk goddess Joi in a post on her MySpace page. She went on to call Peach "the baddest fucking singer and performer that this planet has ever seen."

"She had a powerful voice. You couldn't help but pay attention when you heard her," says Carmen Lovelace, Whild Peach's manager. "She was the epitome of funk and rock 'n' roll."

Whild Peach plans to stay together and tour the West Coast this summer. It held an impromptu wake at Sugarhill on April 3, but Lovelace says the group plans to do a proper memorial and tribute for Peach in the near future. "It's hard on all of us. She was a star, and she was everything," she says. "But we've got to move on."

NEW DEALS: Spring is in the air, and hope springs eternal. Despite the recording industry's many woes, several local acts have taken the plunge and signed major-label contracts.

Among the crop is Supreeme. Thanks to the group's promising 2006 album, Supremacy, Warner promoted the rap trio from its smaller Record Collection imprint. "Basically, there was always a stipulation in our record contract where Warner Bros. could come and take us [from Record Collection]," says rapper Negashi Armada. "One of the execs really liked [Supremacy] ... so we were 'upstreamed.'"

Supreeme is currently in New York recording tracks for The Gold Medallion, a concept album inspired by the Highlander soundtrack. "This record is a lot more synthesized. And on top of all that digital shit we're bringing in violins, trumpeters, and hair-metal guitar soloists." He promises, however, "The rapping is as brash and obnoxious as the last record." Guests on the album include E-40, Devin the Dude, Murs and Islands leader Nick Thorburn.

Another Warner signee is the Alliance, whose Fabo-assisted "Tatted Up" garnered lots of regional airplay this winter and a deal with Warner/Asylum. Finally, and most surprisingly, Witchdoctor signed a deal with Warner Bros.' Cartoon Network division to re-release his 2006 album, King of the Beasts. The new edition, according to Witchdoctor's MySpace page, "will include material never heard before" and come out on Williams Street Records.

In related news, guitarist/songwriter Jason Isbell recently left the Drive-By Truckers to prep a solo debut, Sirens of the Ditch, for a July 10 release on New West Records.

CD RELEASES: Heavy jam band the Green Hit celebrates Low Standards High Expectations Friday, April 20, at Lenny's Bar. Groove Stain, the Bastard Suns, BPM and Indofin lead off. ... Modern-rock band Empire 44 issues Rise Friday, April 20, at the Masquerade. Armazilla, Jackhammer and Tapestry play first. ... Rocker Jackson Sneed releases Her Friday, April 20, at Tree Sound Studios. The Julia Dream drops its Above from Beneath EP Saturday, April 21, at Vinyl. James Hall and Rantings of Eva open. ... Soul man and one-time Sam Cooke contemporary Al Strozier celebrates Be Proud Saturday, April 21, at Caffe Lisette.

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