Listen Up / June 2011

Who to see and what to hear in June

by Todd Coder

The storms that ravished our state on April 27 affected many of us in different ways. It left some without power, others without their homes and eventually took the lives of more than 300 people. The devastation spanned hundreds of miles, picking up debris and carrying it from city to city. Destruction reigned during those fateful moments, and the recovery process has been daunting and exhausting. The continuing actions of thousands have made a tremendous difference in so many lives, but there is still plenty of work to do.

As with many natural disasters, the outpouring of emotion and effort is plentiful at the onset. There is always a level of determination to support and assist our neighbors in need. This urge lasts for a while, but eventually the abundance of aid goes away. The man hours dwindle, the supplies stop coming in and the money is spent. We tend to focus on what we can do immediately, while the tragedy is still fresh. This causes many of us to lose sight of the end goal: to completely rebuild the lives and homes of those affected.

My concern is that we’ll fall short on helping everyone still in need; the people in Pratt City and Cordova and Pleasant Grove and other cities and towns that some of us have never heard of, are going to be rebuilding for a long, long time. Let’s shift our focus to the long–term and try to find ways that we can help months from now instead of next week. The need will still be there, and we will be able to help at a time when others aren’t considering it.

Between now and the end of the year, be looking for a few major benefit concerts to take place in Birmingham and surrounding areas. On May 12, CMT hosted a Nashville benefit concert called “Music Builds.” Artists like Hank Williams, Jr., Sara Evans, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw, joined forces to help raise money and continued awareness for those affected by the storms.

A similar event will take place in Birmingham later this month. “Bama Rising: Benefitting the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham will take place at the BJCC on June 14. It will feature Sheryl Crow,Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Alabama and Taylor Hicks to name a few. I strongly urge you to attend this event and help not only our city but our state.

Now let’s look at what else is happening at a music venue near you…

The Preserve Jazz Festival – The Preserve jazz Festival began as an idea presented to co-founder Jason Henderson by guitarist Eric Essix in 2007. Henderson, a resident and active coordinator in neighborhood events at the Preserve, convinced Essix to host the festival, and in less than nine months, after a handshake deal, the dream became a reality. Since then the event has drawn thousands from all across the U.S. and has become an annual pilgrimage for jazz lovers in the Hoover-Birmingham area. The festival’s big draws are nationally known artists, but it maintains a strong focus on local and regional acts. This year Boney James and Earl Klugh are just two of the big names to come to the Preserve. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own food and drink, which creates the atmosphere of a jazz picnic. If you haven’t been, give it a shot. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday in June.

The Preserve – Sunday, June 5

Joe Purdy

Joe Purdy with the Milk Carton Kids – Another installment of the Artists for Alabama Series takes place at WorkPlay later this month thanks to a generous offer from Joe Purdy. The day after the tornados drove through Alabama, Purdy said that he wanted to donate his paycheck from the show to the help benefit those affected. This is another great example of an artist using his or her talent for good and contributing to a very deserving cause.

WorkPlay, Thursday, June 9

David Mayfield Parade – Mayfield grew up in Kent, Ohio, and was surrounded by bluegrass. According to “At the age of twelve he was playing bass for the family band, traveling from festival to festival, along with his younger sister, noted songstress Jessica Lea Mayfield, singing and absorbing the stories and lessons taught by road-hard veterans, all the while picking up tips on how to play a lick on guitar or mandolin. By the time he was a teenager, Mayfield had won several national awards for his guitar and mandolin playing and his reputation was being forged in the world of Bluegrass as a player to watch out for.” However, it wasn’t until 2008, when sister Jessica Lea Mayfield asked him to play bass on her record that Mayfield’s career started taking shape. A short, but successful stint with the group Cadillac Sky and serious recognition from highly successful group The Avett Brothers helped gain Mayfield national notoriety. It will be interesting to see where the road takes him from here.

WorkPlay – Wednesday, June 22

Todd Coder is the Director of Music Account Development at TicketBiscuit.  He is also the Talent Buyer at WorkPlay Theatre and for The Hangout Music Festival.

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