By Traci Bridges
I don’t know how many of you have ever seen VH1’s “Storytellers,” but it’s one of my favorite shows (maybe because it’s one of the few shows on this “music channel” that actually involves music … go figure).
Anyway, for those who aren’t familiar, the premise is simple: Some of the biggest names in music and songwriting provide the stories, anecdotes and most intimate details behind their biggest hits and then perform them.
In the 15 years the show has been on the air, everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Maxwell to Kings of Leon has graced the “Storytellers” stage. For those of us who love music, it’s a real treat to get such an up close and personal look into the songs that have provided a soundtrack for our lives.
Those of you locals who dig this kind of stuff like I do may have to settle for hanging with Tom Waits via television, but you do have a chance to share a similar experience with some of your favorite local songwriters.
Yonder Music and Country Fried Rock will kick off the Second Saturdays Songwriters Circle series this Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Railroad Junction in downtown Florence.
Each event will feature three singer-songwriters who will perform their favorite compositions and share the stories behind the songs they’ve written in an intimate, collaborative atmosphere.
The inaugural event will feature Yonder Music artist Stephanie Fagan of Florence, John Bazen of Florence and Steele Management’s alt-country outlaw James Scott Bullard of Mullins.
Fagan is a Florence native who now resides on a military base in Germany with her enlisted husband. She’s in town finishing up her sophomore release “Heart Thief” at Southern Harmony Recording Studio, which is set to be released in December.
Bazen, another Florence native, is best recognized as the frontman for reggae-ska band Downtribe. I haven’t seen Bazen’s solo act, but Downtribe is amazing. If you get a chance to check them out, do it. In the meantime, let’s get back to Second Saturdays.
So while I’m not real familiar with the work of Fagan or Bazen, I can tell you a little about Mr. Bullard (or JSB as I like to call him).
He’s been called the next Gram Parsons. He’s been compared to Ryan Adams (he wishes ... total winky face, JSB). But being a friend and having listened to most of his stuff, I’d have to say JSB is just JSB. Sure, he’s got his influences — he cites everybody from Waylon Jennings to WASP in this category — and they all shine through here and there, but he’s definitely his own musician. He’s a little bit country, a little bit rock, a little bit crazy. But most of all, he writes about things to which we can all relate. And in the end, isn’t that what music’s all about?
P.S. — Even on the off chance you just don’t like JSB’s music, I can promise you’ll still enjoy his stories — even if most of them aren’t true. I kid, I kid.
Check him out. Check out these other local artists.
Find them on Facebook or Myspace, give them a listen, then pelt them with questions during the Songwriters Circle. I don’t care how you do it.
Just support live local music.
Here’s to another great week. I’ll see ya on the town!
Morning News Digital Journalist Traci Bridges is on the town and in Currents every Thursday. Contact her at 843- 317-7325 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or find her at Railroad Junction on Saturday, poking holes in all of James Scott Bullard’s tall tales.