Monday, October 28, 2013

Classical Guitar Faculty from Troy University Performs at Goodwin Hall Tonight (10/28/2013)

Robert Gibson
Below is from Joseph Ikner, guitar instructor at Auburn, about a guitar recital tonight.


Guitarist Robert Gibson performs at Goodwin Recital Hall tonight (10/28) at 7:30 PM. The Auburn Guitar Society and the Auburn University Department of Music are excited about hosting an evening of guitar music by composers from Paraguay, Russia, Spain and the U.S. Click here for the AU music calendar event page which includes the full program.

Goodwin Recital Hall, Auburn University
7:30pm // $10 general admission // $5 student

Dr. Robert Gibson is a dedicated performer, teacher and advocate of new music. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at venues around the United States as well as in Mexico and Italy. Dr. Gibson has also performed as a soloist with several orchestras including the San Antonio Symphony. As a proponent of new music, Robert has worked at length with composers on writing for the guitar and has performed world premiers for the music of Donald Grantham, James Norman, Traci Mendel and Sir Anthony Hopkins to name a few. In addition to performing as a classical guitarist, Robert has also performed extensively on electric guitar in many diverse styles such as Rock, Country, Broadway, Contemporary Christian and Jazz. Click here to read more.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Summary of Events: Thursday through Sunday (10/24-10/27, 2013)

So far for October, I have blown my posts-per-month rate out of the water, and mainly because of the last week of posts about events this weekend. I'll summarize. My apologies for whatever I've missed. Go poke around the links on my Event Sources page to see what else is happening.

Today (Thursday, 10/24) from noon to 1:30 PM, pianist Tzu-yi Chen and violinist Boris Abramov will return to A Little Lunch Music, a series I coordinate at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. There's more about Tzu-yi and Boris and their three-part Beethoven miniseries at this previous post, and there are some poster images at this one. I have a tab on this site for the series, but we're phasing that out. The museum's page for the series is here.

Tonight (still Thursday, 10/24) there are three things going on that I've mentioned. Click here for a post about the great band, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, playing the Cultural Center of East Alabama with The Saint Johns. Click here for a post about the Broadway touring production of Mamma Mia at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts. And click here for the first post about Almeda Trio's concert at Goodwin Hall, and there's another post here.

Then for tomorrow (Friday, 10/25) we have a post interviewing Martha's Trouble to talk about the Duo's United Tour at Spicer's Music featuring them, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway. The same night, Sundilla will host Small Potatoes at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and I posted about that here.

And then for Sunday (10/27), there's a post about bluegrass singer Laurie Harris performing at her CD release party at The Auburn Guitar Shoppe. I did not post about the 1922 classic silent film, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror playing at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art Sunday at 2:00 PM and then again on Halloween (10/31) at 5:00 PM. Museum's film page is here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors Play Opelika Thursday (10/24/2013)

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors (online at will perform tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/24) in Opelika at the Cultural Center of East Alabama* for Cottonseed Studios' new series, Cottonseed Live. The show will start at 8:00 PM. Get your $15-apiece tickets online through the Arts Association of East Alabama, whose website lists the other acts in this new series here.

Two recent articles have highlighted Cottonseed Live. They are "Cottonseed Live brings new music to area" by Carla Nelson of The Corner News and "Folk rock band Dawes coming to downtown Opelika" by Jeffrey Moore of The Auburn Plainsman.

Some very interesting facts from the bio of Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors:
  • Since 2005, Drew has sold more than 85,000 records and played more than 1,500 live dates
  • He has toured alongside acts such as The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Los Lobos, Needtobreathe, Susan Tedeschi, and North Mississippi Allstars
  • Good Light, the album currently being promoted through this tour, debuted #84 on the Billboard Top 200
  • The music video for the first single, “Good Light”, has been featured on VH1, CMT Pure, & E! News
  • The band has had over 40 placements on 10 different television networks, including “How I Met Your Mother”, “Criminal Minds”, “Nashville”, “Parenthood”, & “Justified.”
  • They’ve been featured in USA Today, American Songwriter, Paste, and Huffington Post
They are kind of a big deal, write great songs, and have compelling onstage personalities.

This band has lots of professionally produced music videos to watch, and they are emotional and entertaining. But I embedded a live performance above to give some confidence in how high I think the quality of the concert Thursday will be. The Saint Johns will also perform, and I don't have any time to check them out. Visit their website at for more.

There will be a pumpkin carving contest from 5:00 to 7:30 before the concert. The three pumpkins judged to be the best by the Neighbors' front man and woman, Drew and Ellie Holcomb, will win prizes for their carvers. The first 30 people to show up will receive a free pumpkin. After that, organizers say it is BYOP, and you must provide your own carving tools.

There will be a food truck, and Overall Company will be vending its artisan pops. You can bring your own booze.


*The Cultural Center of East Alabama at 1103 Glenn Street is not the same thing as the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts at Opelika High School, 1700 Lafayette Parkway. We had a problem with this when I was promoting a jazz concert back in April. In fact, since the Cultural Center used to be the Miriam Brown Elementary School, Cottonseed is going so far as to call it by a cooler name, the Brown School Music Hall, though this is probably not city-sanctioned. Mamma Mia (see a previous post) will be at the OCPA.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Folk/Pop Duos Martha's Trouble, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway Perform Friday at Spicer's Music (10/25/2013)

"...we are most often inspired by other people's stories or trying to figure out life like everyone else." -Martha's Trouble

On Friday, October 25, from 7-11 PM CT, Spicer's Music in Auburn (2140 E. University Dr. - buy tickets) will host the Duo's United Tour featuring three nationally exposed folk/pop duos. They are Martha's Trouble, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway. Beki wrote about the collaboration on her website here. Embedded above is a playlist with videos by all the bands. Below are a few questions I posed to Rob and Jen Slocumb, the Opelika couple that is Martha's Trouble.


Patrick McCurry: You appear locally on a regular basis. Do you run into what I call the Prophet-in-his-own-hometown syndrome? In other words, as a band with exposure throughout the US and into Canada and some very popular tracks like "Anchor Tattoo," "Waverly," "Some Peace Tonight," and "A Prayer For a Broken Heart," can you compare building a fan base nationally to doing it locally?

Martha's Trouble: Certainly we see some of that, especially now that we have been in the area for eight years. You know, before we lived in the Opelika area, we would sell out two nights at Eighth & Rail on a tour through the southeast. That's one of the reasons we put roots down here [because of how supportive the community was] when we were doing a show in town.

For us, building something on a more national scale was easier for us, for the simple fact that we wanted to be on the road and were willing to sacrifice whatever we needed to to accomplish that. And for many years we feel we were successful at that. And that has carried us a long way, in that now that we are home a lot more raising kids, we can still put out an album and generate some national attention.

PM: Where is your new material coming from, and how have you seen it evolve from the first music you put out there?

MT: The songs are still coming from the same place they always have in that we are most often inspired by other people's stories or trying to figure out life like everyone else. I think what is evolving is our style and intention on the song.

For example, one of the more recent songs we have written is a song called, "Prayer For a Broken Heart." This song came out of watching a press conference of a widow talking about the kidnapping of her husband and pleading for his safe return. This was a tragic murder that happened in Jen's hometown, Ancaster, Ontario. It's a heart wrenching story and we were just trying to capture the emotion and questions that everyone was asking.

PM: Your recent CD was a lullaby project (A Heart Like You), and you've said elsewhere that you never expected to do a children's album. How did the project change the way you create and present music for grown-ups?

MT: Well, the lullaby CD didn't really change the way we create and present music for grown-ups, really. It was something that we intentionally decided to do and so we put a specific time and energy into the CD without creating other music at the time. It was very intentional even though it wasn't expected.

It was something that was inspired not only by having kids of our own, but our fans having kids. People would tell us that they play our music for their kids or their newborn baby and it got us thinking that if kids were responding to our music then how cool would it be to have something specific for them that their parents would enjoy.

PM: You are on tour with two other duos. What are these other bands like, and how did you get connected with them? 

MT: Yes we are touring with Naked Blue (website), a husband/wife duo out of Baltimore, & Beki Hemingway (website) a husband (Randy) /wife duo out of Denver. We've known both couples since early 2000's. There is a folk venue in Chicago, Uncommon Ground, that we were pretty much a mainstay at from 2000-2005. During that time Beki & Randy were based in Chicago and were very involved in that scene. Uncommon Ground took a few of the artists that were regulars and showcased us at the Folk Alliance Conference in Vancouver.

Naked Blue we've known for about the same length of time. We first met Jen & Scott when we were doing some dates on the east coast and played a folk room in Baltimore. Since then we have done a few other tours with them. In fact, we first brought them to Opelika around 2007 when we were running the Star Songwriter's Series.

PM: As your hometown community, how can we support you as you tour, leverage air play, and sell CDs around the world?

MT: It is so important to have support from our community. That means coming out to our shows, telling your friends to come to our shows, sharing our music with family or friends that haven't heard it before, buying our lullaby CD for baby shower gifts, calling local or satellite radio to request an MT song, giving a review online of our music. There are so many little things that one can do that make a huge difference for us. We need our local community's support!

PM: I'll add to that using e-mail and our social media channels to sing their praises to our friends around the country and the world. Martha's Trouble has a Facebook page, a twitter feed, a YouTube channel, a tumblr deal, an instagram thingy, and a website at with an e-mail list you can subscribe to. If you like the music, if you like to support local stars on tour, or if you care about Rob and Jen, then share videos, pictures, audio and news any way you can, and come out to the concert Friday night!


Sundilla Presents A Series Favorite, Small Potatoes, Friday (10/25/2013)

The Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series is presenting Small Potatoes on Friday, September 20, 2013, at 7:30 PM at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The address is 450 E. Thach Avenue, Auburn. Admission is $12 at the door and $10 in advance at Mama Mocha's Coffee, Spicer's Music, and on the series' website, Below is from Bailey Jones, who runs the series.


The Spuds are back in town! Yes, it's time to welcome back Small Potatoes, after a far-too-long absence. (Given the number of people who mentioned at the last show that Small Potatoes were their favorite Sundilla act ever, I'm feeling lucky that I scheduled this one before the angry mob armed with pitchforks showed up at my front door. I probably would have opened it, too, thinking that they were just the best group of trick-or-treaters ever.)

Unfamiliar with The Spuds? Keep reading...

Nineteen years ago, Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, the Chicago area duo known as Small Potatoes, decided to hit the road. “In one year, we quit our jobs, bought a house, bought a car, and became fulltime folk singers–
not exactly the greatest combination, financially speaking, or what most people would call a sound business model. We didn’t throw darts at a map, but we might as well have.”

Read more on Sundilla's website.

Mamma Mia opens East Alabama Arts Series Thursday (10/24/2013)

Below is from an article on about Thursday night's performance of Mamma Mia. I think this is the production's website, but they don't list the tour schedule.

This will open the 2013-14 season of the East Alabama Arts Association, which will include three other musical-theater-themed shows. Here's EAAA's event page for Mamma Mia with a link to buy tickets. The Mark Harmon mentioned in the article is not the actor from the CBS TV show, NCIS, though I have it on good authority that he is super nice to talk to.


The iconic songs of Swedish pop group ABBA have lived on for decades, and area residents will get a chance to hear those songs weaved through a show that promises to give its audience a good time.

“Mamma Mia!” opens The Arts Association of East Alabama’s 2013-2014 Performance Series on Thursday, Oct. 24. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. CDT at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts.

Read more of "Musical classic opens Arts Association of East Alabama’s season" by Tonya Balaam-Reid

Almeda Trio Audio, Article

A couple posts back, I mentioned Almeda Trio's upcoming performance on Thursday (10/24). The Opelika-Auburn News did an article on it today. Below is the link.

At right is an audio-only YouTube post of the trio's performance of Astor Piazzola's "Invierno" from Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas. Visit for more music samples.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tallassee's Laurie Harris Will Release Radiation Room Studio's First CD Project Sunday (October 27, 2013)

Laurie Harris is a bluegrass gospel singer based in Tallassee, Alabama, who is releasing a CD this weekend at The Auburn Guitar Shoppe. Below is a track with three clips from the CD. She has a beautiful voice that immediately drew me in. Under that, I've included what store owner Tom O'Shea recently posted on the store's Facebook page. Read more about Laurie and order her CD from her website at

Great news, everybody!

At 2PM, Sunday, October 27th, we're hosting a CD release party in honor of Laurie Harris's new album, Back to the Mountains.

Laurie's record is the first release from our own recording studio, Radiation Room Studios, here in the Auburn Guitar Shoppe!

So come on over and celebrate Laurie's great achievement. She'll do some picking and singing--you owe it to yourself to hear her stunningly beautiful country voice! Her version of "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" might be the very best you'll ever come across.

We'll have food and other refreshments--AND we'll be giving away a brand new guitar, a Recording King "Dirty Thirty" dreadnaught acoustic!

Stop by the Shoppe to sign up for the drawing!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Cleveland's Almeda Trio to Perform 10/24/2013 at Goodwin Hall

Cellist Ida Mercer, pianist Robert Cassidy and violinist
Cara Tweed make up the Almeda Trio.

On October 24, 2013, at 7:30 pm, at Auburn University's Goodwin Hall, the Almeda Trio ( from Cleveland will perform the first concert of the 2013-4 season of the Auburn Chamber Music Society. Formed in 2008, Almeda is in residence at The Music Settlement in Cleveland, whose founder, social activist Almeda Adams, is the trio's namesake. Its instrumentation is the traditional violin, cello and piano.

The Auburn Chamber Music Society does not have a website, but here is a link to a PDF of this season's brochure which includes concerts in February and March, 2014. Below is a blurb about Thursday's concert from president Virginia Transue, who will happily tell you anything more you need to know about the concert if you call her at (334) 887-9379.

UPDATE (10/22/2013): I just did another post about this performance with a link to an oanow article and some embedded audio.


The Almeda Trio will play in Auburn this coming Thursday evening at Goodwin Hall on AU Campus, 7:30 pm. A shuttle will commence running at 6:30 pm from the parking lot at the corner of S. College and Samford. AU Music Department Chair Sara Lynn Baird warns that concerts are selling out this year, so be sure to come early to get a seat. The program will be unusual and particularly beautiful: Bedřich Smetana's Trio in G minor, Sergei Rachmaninoff's Trio Elegiaque, Joaquin Turina's Circulo, and Joseph Haydn's Gypsy Rondo.

This opens the FORTY NINTH season of THE AUBURN CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY. It has been a splendid half-century of bringing some of the biggest dogs of the genre to Auburn. Not a day goes by that I don't hear on NPR at least one group we have hosted. Season tickets are available now for $65, general admission to the concert is $25, college students $10, younger students free. Again, get there early!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Poster Images for Chen-Abramov's Beethoven Project (fall 2013)

Columbus pianist Tzu-yi Chen sent me some poster images for her Beethoven Project in which she and violinist Boris Abramov are playing all ten of Ludwig van Beethoven's violin sonatas in the span of three months. I say that to people, and no one gets wide-eyed and says, "Whaaa!?" which is weird. I posted about it here. Below are the images for printing and distributing in Atlanta, Columbus and Auburn/Opelika. The first one has only October dates. I'll try to post an update here for November when I get them. You need to hear at least one of these concerts. The first one in September was terrific. Click on images to enlarge.

UPDATE (11/6/2013): Here is a link to a PDF of the November poster.

October Poster
Bios and pics

With Khari Allen Lee, New Orleans Jazz Comes to Goodwin Hall and Eighth & Rail (Oct 18-19, 2013)

Khari Allen Lee performing his composition "At-One-Ment." Auburn alum Victor "Red"/"Brother" Atkins, III, is on piano in the video.
New Orleans saxophonist and composer Khari Allen Lee will be appearing in Auburn/Opelika for two nights. For the first, Friday, October 18, he'll bring his band, the New Creative Collective, for a performance at Goodwin Recital Hall on campus at Auburn University. That band will include New Orleans heavies David Pulphus on bass, Geoff Clapp on drums and Meghan Swartz on piano. Joining them and creating live art during the performance will be artist and percussionist Marcus Akinlana. The concert will include Khari's own music and original music from his bandmates. Some is featured on his 2012 CD, Conscious Evolution. Tickets are $10, $5 for students.

Khari and the band will do a masterclass at Goodwin Friday at 2:00 pm. Akinlala will do a visual art masterclass in Biggin Hall, Room 326, also at 2:00 pm.

For the second date on Saturday, October 19, he'll conjure a New Creative Collective out of the local soil at 8th & Rail in Opelika. This date will feature music from jazz's standard repertoire and other tunes Khari knows will stir up the collective creativity of a group of friends from back in the day when he was at Auburn University and a member of the Auburn Knights. The Opelika show will feature Patrick Bruce on guitar, David Zuwiyya on drums and Jason DeBlanc on bass. $7 cover.

Check last Sunday's Opelika-Auburn News for a feature on Khari leading the Community/Arts section.

For more about Khari, go to

In the interest of taking as little time as possible doing my posts, thereby hopefully getting more on the blog, I'm not going back to hyperlink the band members of the New Creative Collective to their websites, but you can search their names and find Grammy awards, pro-gear endorsements, African art installments, festival credits and more.

See you there!