Unsung Gem of Cloverdale

By on 12 September, 2013 in Art, Fun with 0 Comments

The Cloverdale Playhouse opens its doors for the nineteenth installment of the Joe Thomas Jr. Third Tuesday Guitar Pull, Tuesday September 17 from 7-9 p.m. The Pull is a monthly singer/songwriter showcase featuring local and regional artist performing and discussing their work in an intimate environment. In a city blessed to have a host of live music venues at our disposal, here is one unlike any other. A thriving community theater, the Playhouse has become home to one of the most sought after gigs by artists throughout the southeast and beyond.  Begun by Joe Thomas Jr. in the fall of 2011, and celebrating its inaugural performance in March 2012, the Third Tuesday Guitar Pull has thrilled audiences and artists alike.

Upon entering the theater, the Playhouse’s staff welcomes its patrons with open arms and refreshments, as the audience mills about and greets one another. Soon the show begins with three or four singer/songwriters onstage taking turns in the round, telling stories and sharing laughs before doing what they do best: performing their original music. At a theater with resounding acoustics, staffed by artists ensuring premier quality of sound, on a stage exclusively set for each of the Playhouse’s performances, this is by far the most unique, intimate, and stirring night of music Montgomery has to offer. Any who have attended or performed will agree.

The Guitar Pull is carried on in the memory of local music legend Joe Thomas, who began and coordinated the showcase until his passing August 12, 2012. Joe was and remains a vital thread of the Montgomery music community and one of its most avid supporters. A constant proponent of local and regional original songwriting, a poet in his own right, and a verifiable rock-star, Joe and his songs transcend this temporal world, as does his love for all those who bring the joy of music to others. No doubt he is proud to present this month’s featured artists: Jeb Tabb, Amy Andrews and Andrew Lewis.

Hailing from such southern blues and alt-country jam bands as Evan Barber & the Dead Gamblers and Wainwright Applegate, multi-instrumentalist Jeb Tabb plans to release his own solo album in the next six months. While Tabb has temporarily set aside the crunchy grooves of his bands for simplicity and straightforwardness, all the edgy honesty of his lyricism remains on display. Tabb straddles no proverbial lines; he stomps on them with steel-toed boots. His songs careen from hell-bound to heartbroken and back again with simultaneously calculated and accidental, perhaps even self-medicated, ease. Tabb identifies his own Damascus as “a rural southwest Georgia town of two hundred people” and speaks fondly of having had the opportunity to “meet other musicians” through touring and becoming a veteran of his hometown’s Briar Patch Music Festival. Southern to the core, Tabb is sure to become a favorite amongst fans of gritty, rebel-folk songwriting. Check out briarpatchpro.com.

Soft-power feminism and romantic hopefulness mingle delicately in the music of Amy Andrews.  A resident of Decatur, GA by way of Chesapeake Bay, Andrews has been a finalist in Georgia Voice’s Best of Atlanta and a featured artist in the 30-A Songwriters Festival in South Walton, FL. Amy is trained in musical theater and classical performance, but has since found her home in the southern folk scene and become a rising star in Atlanta’s singer/songwriter community. She visits the Cloverdale Playhouse having recently shared her decidedly southern music with a wide ranging audience on a national tour. Citing influences such as Alison Krauss and Patty Griffin, Andrews’ powerful and dramatically dynamic voice transitions seamlessly from soaring to reserved and intimately compliments her heartfelt lyrics and raw honesty. Pointedly personal, pleading and direct, sensitive and sincere, Amy Andrews leaves her listeners emotionally wrought and begging for more.  Check out amyandrewsmusic.com.

Montgomery’s own Andrew Lewis returns to the Cloverdale Playhouse after his October 2012 showcase. Lewis performs throughout Montgomery’s music scene both individually and with his bands Medicine Chest and Whiskey Giants. A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and a Dylan enthusiast, Andrew displays a unique blend of traditional folk roots and improvisational wherewithal. Many of his songs apply melodic folk song structure to present diverse lyrical themes, ranging from the personal to the political, often employing humor, and seldom surrendering to the expected. Within a breath, Lewis turns the tables and challenges the listener with complexity and concentration, beauty and force. He tackles themes of tremendous weight with an understated poeticism poised on a razor’s edge, embracing fragility, fury, discomfort, and discord. There is a candor in his voice that lends credibility to the perhaps untrustworthy narrator of his songs, while his soft tenor soothes the casual listener, further intriguing the vigilant. Check out reverbnation.com/andrewlewismusic.

Tuesday, September 17, 7 – 9 p.m., $10 admission.

Michael Thornton studied English at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and works as a singer/songwriter in Montgomery, AL.

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