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Original music by local artists on the horizon


May 03, 2018

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“I am so sick of cover bands. If I hear another cover band play ‘Wagon Wheel,’ I’m gonna scream!” says the cover band singer who regularly performs “Wagon Wheel” because Dylan was a genius and it really is a great song, and it’s not Old Crow Medicine Show’s fault that they were so terribly overplayed that even the hipsters stopped ironically listening to them.

OK, the reality is, if you’re going to play in a band that’s relatively new, you’re going to have to do covers. And I am a firm believer that some songs should not be “made your own.” I’m sorry, but Leanne Rhymes should’ve never touched “Unchained Melody.” (This would actually be where I’d place a #sorrynotsorry if I were posting this on social media.)

So, in the midst of all of the cover bands doing the latest Ed Sheeran song for the umpteenth time, and with the understanding firmly in place that I am, in fact, in a cover band that I LOVE performing with, let’s delve into some deep truths about live local music, audiences, bartending, tips, support, and some other random philosophical and dogmatic bologna that I’m sure I’ll run across along the way.

Cover bands have a place. When the bar is hopping and the drinks are flowing, and the customers are looking to “Boogie Oogie Oogie till [they] just can’t boogie no mo’,” busting out just the right cover tune that everyone can sing and dance along with isn’t only the best choice, it’s the only right choice. It is ordained by a higher power (probably the dual ruling bar gods of jaeger and Van Morrison) that when the crowd is looking to get stupid, you are required, by said divine appointment, to play “Brown Eyed Girl.” (There’s some of that bologna previously mentioned.)

However, as a songwriter, there are days when my soul is crushed that I can’t share my originals in that setting. I suppose I could, but it feels a bit wasted. I’m not judging the folks who came out to have a good time and party a little on the weekends. I know the healing power of cranking up some familiar tunes and just letting loose. But I also recognize the joy of discovery when I find a new artist or song that speaks to me.

Statesboro has some amazingly talented songwriters who don’t often get to share their gifts. The Averitt Center for the Arts has heard the community’s cry for an opportunity to hear some of our local musicians perform their own work. The fall will not only bring new students, but the Averitt is looking at creating what could potentially be a boon for bands and lovers of local music alike. On Sept. 27, we will see a show of LOCAL ARTISTS performing on the stage in the Emma Kelly Theater. Executive Director Jamie Grady is hoping to make the Averitt Center for the Arts an even greater haven for local artists of all kinds, and in order to open up some dialogue between local artists and the center to begin building a stronger relationship for future partnerships.

The goal is to provide opportunities for songwriters and bands who are looking for a place to perform their original works as well as hopefully helping a broader segment of our community learn more about what the Averitt Center is and all that is offered there. Here’s the catch: it has to be primarily original music. This will be a chance for songwriters and bands to work their passion and play their own songs their own way!

As a songwriter, I see this as an absolutely beautiful opportunity for our community to support our local music scene. I’ve heard stories from those who saw R.E.M. at some tiny space in Athens when they were just starting out, or folks who saw Sister Hazel when they were starting out in Gainesville. My hope is that we will be able to look back at what will, if all goes well, be a dynamic series that brought some amazing celebrities to the stage in Statesboro “before they were stars.” I hope my kids will be able to look back and say “I saw her at her first stage show when she was just starting out in Statesboro.” I want those who love music of all types to find the joy of discovering, not only a new artist they love, but a new local artist that they can support right here in Statesboro. I hope we, as a community, will get behind this. I hope all of my friends in the music scene from college students to old pros will get their submissions ready so that we can make this a tremendous event for our fair town.

If you are a musician, and you are interested in taking the stage for this event, follow the Averitt Center’s Facebook page or keep an eye out on Connect Statesboro’s website for updated information, or you can visit www.averittcenterforthearts.org and sign up to receive their newsletter where you can stay up to date on this and other events coming up. If you are a lover of music, and you’re hoping to break out of the same old cover band listening, this is just one of many events in the works from the Averitt Center and other organizations in town to encourage songwriters and other creatives in their work. It’s an exciting time to live in Statesboro, so stay Connected! (OK, maybe that was a little cheesy, but I have no regrets!)


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