Sunday, May 22, 2016

Martha’s Trouble to Rehab Historical Opelika House into Studio/Creative Space

I received a nice news release about Martha's Trouble doing the headline of this post. Got a news release? Send it to me at

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Jen & Rob Slocumb of
Martha's Trouble
Husband-and-wife folk/rock duo Martha’s Trouble (aka Rob and Jen Slocumb) have purchased a historical Victorian house, originally built in 1910, in downtown Opelika, AL, and have already begun work on rehabbing the abode into a creative studio space in their hometown. The renovation should take approximately five months.

“We’ve wanted to do this for about four years, and we looked at a number of potential locations including warehouses,” says Rob.

“This particular house came available in February,” adds Jen, “and we liked the look of it and the vibe of the place. We wanted something that would be part of the town, to help support and grow the arts scene here, to support the community, and a space that would inspire artistic endeavors and creativity.”

The completed facility will be known as The Sound Wall. The Slocumbs are hoping to provide a small town recording experience in a premiere space. Two studio rooms are planned for the first floor. The rooms can be used for recording, rehearsals, writing sessions, post-editing video, photo shoots, video shoots, and will be available for special events. A gourmet kitchen with a large family-style farm table will allow local chefs to prepare meals on-site for visiting artists and bands. A one-bedroom apartment will be housed upstairs, offering lodging to artists using the studios downstairs or to people who want an inspiring place to stay in town.

1910 Opelika house set to be transformed
into The Sound Wall.
The Slocumbs moved to Opelika from Canada ten years ago. “We are always asked, ‘Why did you move here?’” says Jen. “And really the short answer is we felt–and still do–that there is something special about the Auburn/Opelika area. Now that we are touring less and spending more time at home raising a family, we are very passionate about contributing to our local community.”

“We hope The Sound Wall will become an extension to the already existing and expanding arts community,” adds Rob.

Martha’s Trouble, called “a hidden gem” by Billboard Magazine, is known for its signature sound of folk and country twang, which has been praised by some of the most influential and well-respected music critics of our time. Martha’s Trouble has been listed and featured in the aforementioned Billboard Magazine, as well as USA Today, AOL Music, Sirius XM Satellite Radio and Performing Songwriter. Their songs have received awards and have been featured in the show “Army Wives” and made-for-TV movies on Lifetime and CBS. The duo’s band name comes from a Bible story about Martha and Mary, one that they say is a reminder to stop and smell the roses and to keep an eye on the bigger picture and the important things in life.

In late 2015, Martha’s Trouble offered some new additions to their holiday repertoire with two digital singles, “River” and “White Christmas,” which followed on the success of two independent holiday albums, Christmas Lights (2002) and This Christmas (2008). Prior to that, they also released: Jen Coates’ Seed Sessions (2014), A Little Heart Like You (2012), Anchor Tattoo (2011), EP (2008), Forget October (2006), Still (2003), Sleeping Dogs (2002), and The Road Ahead (2000).

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pierce Pettis Plays Sundilla 5/6/2016

Pierce Pettis
Photo by Rodney Bursiel.
Below is from Sundilla. Pettis's website is MAL.

Legendary Alabama songwriter Pierce Pettis returns to the Sundilla Concert Series on Friday, May 6. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30 pm, and admission at the door is $15, $12 for students. Advance tickets are $12 and available at Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at There will be free coffee, tea, water and food, though as always attendees are invited to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

You know you've got a shot when Joan Baez covers one of your songs. That's what sparked the career of Pierce Pettis in 1979 when Baez chose to include "Song at the End of the Movie" on her Honest Lullaby. From there, Pettis was involved with the Fast Folk movement in New York in the '80s alongside artists such as Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega. He continued to write songs and eventually embarked on his solo career in 1987, releasing CDs that garnered much critical praise, as well as praise from other artists who started recording Pettis songs. Among them were Dar Williams, who snagged "Family" for her Mortal City disc, and Garth Brooks, who recorded "You Move Me" for his hit Sevens. Read more.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Neptune's Car Plays Sundilla Friday (4/22/2016)

Neptune's Car is Holly Hanson and Steve Hayes.
More at
Got an e-mail from Sundilla about an upcoming Neptune's Car concert this Friday (4/22). You can get the same e-mails about this local (Auburn) music series that features folk, singer/songwriter, americana and more. Sign up at

Also, the best way to get me to post anything about whatever show you have coming up is to e-mail me at I don't always have time to scan the calendars anymore, so an e-mail with a writeup that's easy to cut and paste makes it more doable. Below is from Sundilla...


Award-winning duo Neptune's Car make their long-awaited Sundilla debut on Friday, April 22. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30 PM; admission at the door will be $15, but advance tickets cost just $12 and are available at Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at Students admission is just $12. Free coffee, tea, water and food will be available, but the audience is welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

...It is impossible to describe Neptune's Car without using the word "harmony." Holly's light soprano blends perfectly with Steve's warm tenor. From there, vibrant lyrics and compelling melodies nestle in inviting arrangements, telling stories rich in detail, with lyrics as beautiful as the poet's work. Music critics have not been shy when writing about Neptune's Car, with lines such as "there are hints of Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss but Neptune's Car do not need to be compared to any other artists. This is a strong musical duo whose music can stand on its own two feet." Read more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Auburn Grad, Nola Musician, Is Raising Money for "A New Earth"

Auburn University graduate and Auburn Knights Orchestra alum Khari Allen Lee (, is working on a crowdfunding project for a new recording. Link to his Indiegogo page is at right.

Khari performed in Auburn with his jazz group, The New Creative Collective in 2013 (post) and again with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra in 2015.

Click over and watch the video and listen to his music. He plays beautifully, and is a respected teacher and performer in the New Orleans music community.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Grammy Nominated Southern Gospel Group Will Perform in Lafayette, 3/12/16

The Dixie Melody Boys
Below is edited from last Sunday's OA News. The group is kind of a big deal, having existed since 1961 (Wikipedia) and sort of having schooled a host of successful artists in the Southern gospel genre. The venue does not have a website that I can find, and I can't see anywhere if there's an admission charge. Here's a number to call: 334-332-8533. There's sort of an event page here on the group's website.


The Southern gospel quartet The Dixie Melody Boys (website) will be performing at 6:00 pm on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at the Union Hill Community Center, 7524 County Road 53, LaFayette, Alabama. Based in Kinston, NC, the quartet has received a Grammy nomination and numerous Fan Award nominations from "The Singing News Magazine," a Southern gospel music fan and trade publication. The quartet, led by 50-year veteran and recent Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Ed O'Neal, has had more than 20 top-40 hits, including eight Top-10 releases and a No. 1 single. -from the Opelika-Auburn News, March 5, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ACMS Presents the Bennewitz Quartet Thursday (2/25/16)

Bennewitz Quartet
photo by Pavel Ovsík 
The Auburn Chamber Music Society (Facebook page) will host the Bennewitz Quartet ( Thursday night (2/25) at 7:30 at AU's Goodwin Hall. My friend and the Society's co-president, Virginia Transue, is crazy about this group and says it will be amazing.

Click here for the event page on the AU Music Calendar, but the ACMS Facebook page will have more info.

From the Opelika-Auburn News: Bennewitz Quartet to perform in Auburn by Tonya Ponds.

The bio excerpt below is from the group's website.


The Bennewitz Quartet is one of the top international chamber ensembles, a status confirmed not only by their victories in two prestigious competitions – Osaka in 2005 and Prémio Paolo Borciani, Italy in 2008, but also by the acclaim of the critics. As early as 2006, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote: "... the music was remarkable not just for its clarity of structure, but for the beautiful tonal palette and purity of intonation in its execution. Only very rarely does one experience such skilfully crafted and powerful harmonies... Great art."

The quartet currently performs at major venues both in the Czech Republic and abroad (Wigmore Hall London, Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Berlin, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, The Frick Collection New York, Seoul Art Center, Rudolfinum and others), and is regularly invited to festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Luzerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus, and the Prague Spring. Read more.

Sundilla Presents Cliff Eberhardt and Louise Mosrie 3/4/16

Got an e-mail from Sundilla...

Cliff Eberhardt and Louise Mosrie
A pair of Sundilla favorites will take the stage together when Cliff Eberhardt and his special guest Louise Mosrie come to town on Friday, March 4. Showtime at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is 7:30; admission at the door will be $18, but advance tickets are just $15 and can be found at Spicer's Music, Blooming Colors, and online at Free coffee, tea and water will be available, and attendees are invited to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

Eberhardt has run the musical gamut from being a founding member of the Fast Folk Music Cooperative of New York City in the 1980s to writing and performing Shakespeare. His contemporary compositions are deep, honest and sung with rich emotional vocals and appeal to a wide audience. His music is a rich mélange of pop, rock and folk styles...

...Louise Mosrie grew up in the small town just outside of Nashville, TN on a farm with British parents and several siblings – riding horses, writing poetry and singing with the radio. After college in Knoxville, she “borrowed” her brother’s Sears guitar, bought a simple chord book and started writing songs. The early material was mostly acoustic pop as she tried to channel her English roots while listening to Everything But the Girl and The Sundays. Read more.