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Plaza Music Events

 

2019 | 2018

  

2019 PERFORMERS

 

Jammin' on the Plaza

Jammin' on the Plaza

Thursday, Dec 12 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Join us for an unplugged jam session!

Meet people in the local music industry and jam with us! All abilities welcome – teens and adults.


 



Debbie Bond

Debbie Bond

Thursday, Nov 21 • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Singer, guitar player and songwriter Debbie Bond has been paying her dues in the Alabama backwoods for over 30 years backing many traditional Alabama blues musicians in the US and Europe, including Eddie Kirkland, Jerry "Boogie" McCain and Willie King. She is a blues activist and founded the award winning Alabama Blues Project, a nonprofit that promotes and preserves Alabama blues. In recent years she has turned to fronting her own band and performing her own music.

Debbie's singing has been compared to Maria Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt, both of whom she cites as musical influences but the truth is that Debbie does it her way. Her immersion in the blues has deeply flavored her guitar playing, soulful voice and original song writing, yet her sound is contemporary and original, incorporating soul, blues, rock, jazz and even country influences. Her partner in life and music, British born Rick Asherson, is an outstanding keyboard player and gives their music a honky-tonk, New Orleans flavored sound. This unique musical synthesis can be heard on her latest album.

www.debbiebond.com


 

The Onlys

The Onlys

Thursday, Oct 17 • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

The Onlys started as a band called The Cruisers when the fellas were in high school in 1980. Under the new name, they are rocking stronger than ever today!!! With a focus on playing the entire spectrum of music with an emphasis on "what can people dance to", you won't be able to sit still when listening to them. 6 members strong, The Onlys have 5 singers and specialize on amazing harmonies utilized throughout the rocking sets.

Classic rock & roll hits from the 1950s through today will have you up and dancing in no time.

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Jammin' on the Plaza

Jammin' on the Plaza

Thursday, Oct 10 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Join us for an unplugged jam session!

Meet people in the local music industry and jam with us! All abilities welcome – teens and adults.


 

 

Sarah Lee Langford

Sarah Lee Langford

Sunday, Sept 15 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Sarah Lee Langford is a Birmingham-based singer/songwriter that combines country, rock and Americana into a spirited blend all her own. She frequently collaborates with Will Stewart as well as members of The Dexateens. Her band's Instagram describes her music as "songs about heartbreak or whooping up on folks who do wrong."

IG @firstcitycountryshow @sarah.lee.langford

 


 

Dogwood

Dogwood in Concert

Wednesday, Aug 07 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Longtime veterans of Birmingham’s rock and blues scene return with newly recorded material.

In 1971, in a dusty little five room farmhouse shack outside Montevallo, Alabama, five young and determined musicians mixed Buffalo Springfield/CSNY harmonies with SanFran jam band instrumental acrobatics, firmly establishing fresh territory in the palette on Southern live music. Built on a core of ringing guitars, honky-tonk piano and slinky pedal steel guitar, the band took the name Dogwood, from the tiny unincorporated town just down the road. Small shows at the nearby college and dances at local high schools soon led to several years of touring, playing clubs, colleges, and the occasional opening slot for national acts, primarily in the Southeast. The group’s five year run spawned a grateful, solid fan base, and a catalog of original tunes that join the best of today’s Americana standards with their genesis in that rich musical epoch.

More than forty years later, those tunes live again in their originators, all working players who went on to further decades’ renown as contributors in Alabama’s subsequent live music heritage. Recent hours in Birmingham’s WorkPlay studios have allowed these now-polished craftsmen to achieve an album of 15 unique tracks, to fuel fevered memories of hay field hippies from across the Nixon-era South– an energetic live set by the founding members of Dogwood at Secret Stages is a new generation’s best bet to experience an authentic (and surprisingly relevant) slice of historic regional counterculture.

 


  

Jammin' on the Plaza

Jammin' on the Plaza

Thursday, July 18 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Join us for an unplugged jam session!

Meet people in the local music industry and jam with us! All abilities welcome – teens and adults.

  


Geni Skendo & Keith Beard

Sunday, July 14 • 2:30pm - 3:30 pm

World music duo featuring flute, shakuhachi and guitar.

Albanian born flutist Geni Skendo, moved to Boston in 2003 in order to study at the Berklee School of Music and New England Conservatory of music to raise the level of his jazz performance. A musical polyglot, Skendo performs jazz, Albanian folk music, world music, Japanese music and more on flute and shakuhachi. He's accompanied by guitarist Keith Beard. 

Geni Skendo

 


Music for the Founding of America

GBMEA Chamber Orchestra

Sunday, June 30 • 2:00pm - 4:00 pm

Music for the Founding of America featuring music by Colonial-era American composers such as Alexander Reinagle, Philip Phile, Francis Hopkinson, James Hewitt, William Billings and others.

Les Fillmer, Conductor

Alabama Youth Symphony

 Facebook @GBMEA

 


Beth McGinnis & Samuel Nordlund

 

Beth McGinnis & Samuel Nordlund

Thursday, June 6 • 7:00pm - 8:30 pm

Samuel Nordlund (cello) and Beth McGinnis (piano) perform an evening of chamber music from Beethoven to Martinu.

Beth McGinnis taught musicology and piano at Samford for fifteen years before joining the full-time faculty in 2016. She is Organist at Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. As an accompanist her performing credits include Carnegie Hall, Santo Spirito in Florence, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Palais Ferstel, and Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Center. She has published articles on music and the extra-musical and biographical articles for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano from Samford University, a Master of Music in Musicology from Texas Christian University, and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Beth is also a certified yoga instructor, and teaches classes at the Vestavia YMCA. She lives in Birmingham with her husband, Scott, and two children, William and Kate.

Samuel Nordlund is cello and chamber music faculty at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, where he is also cellist in the Samford Quartet. He frequently performs with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and has been a member of the Huntsville Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony (MI), and Illinois Philharmonic, among others. Samuel is Immediate Past-President of the Alabama Orchestra Association, and serves on the faculty of STEP Birmingham, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Samford Academy of the Arts, and the Samford Piano and Chamber Music Institute. He earned his DMA from The University of Alabama, a MM from Northwestern University, and has additional studies at summer festivals including the Music Academy of the West, the Meadowmount School of Music, the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, and the Brevard Music Center. Primary teachers were Hans Jørgen Jensen and Carlton McCreery.

 

Samford Music Department

Samford String Quartet

 


The Clay States  

The Clay States

Sunday, May 5 • 1:30pm - 2:30 pm

It's not uncommon for first-time audiences of The Clay States to glance around the venue a song or two into a set, as if to reassure themselves that they're still in the same place - or the same era - as they were just minutes before. The Alabama-based duo's stories come from the past straight and undiluted.

Occasionally there's a vibe of the sheer vocal intensity of Buckingham Nicks, or a glimpse into the rural-gothic fantasies of Gillian Welch, but the music of The Clay States is far from derivative. Lyrics are often sparse, laborious, fraught. Instrumentation alternates between cello, banjo, ukulele and traditional guitar to create layers of anachronism.

Their typical haunts for performance take place in buildings rich with turn-of-the-century industrial history--from the engine room of a steel mill to the antique pumping station of a former waterworks. "The idea is to get our sound to interact with the crumbling post-industrial South," songwriter Stephen Collins says. "The old brick, rusted pipe, and stairwells seem to sing back."

 

The Clay States

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Janet Simpson  

Janet Simpson

Wednesday, April 24 • 7:00pm - 8:00 pm

Janet Simpson has been a part of the Birmingham music scene since transplanting from Atlanta to Alabama in 1999. Janet fronted and wrote the songs for the Fairport Convention-esque indie-folk band Delicate Cutters from 2002-2015, touring the Southeast and East Coast with albums Some Creatures and Ring (Skybucket.)

Her participation as a collaborator in bands such as the pop/psych-punk outfit Teen Getaway and dream-folk duo Timber demonstrate Janet’s flexibility as a songwriter and performer, while her contributions as a recording and touring member (keys,vocals and bass) of the band backing the legendary freak-folker, Wooden Wand (Briarwood, Blood Oaths of the New Blues, WWIV) gave Janet a channel to exploit her love for jazz and blues. Janet has lent her vocal and instrumental touches to numerous albums over the past several years (Will Stewart, Jason Slatton, Broken Letters) as well as scored original instrumental pieces for film and television.

Now, Janet is set to record and release her first solo album in more than 20 years, featuring some of her most straight-forward, bare-bones songwriting to date. Featuring tinges of country recalling early Lucinda Williams and Iris Dement, but with stranger, darker swagger.

 

Connect with Janet on Facebook

 


 

Hiroya Tsukamoto

 

 

Hiroya Tsukamoto

Wednesday, March 27 • 7:00pm - 8:00 pm

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a one-of-a-kind composer, guitarist and singer-songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing the five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after.

In 2000, Hiroya received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the United States. He formed his own group in Boston "INTEROCEANICO (inter-oceanic)" which consists of unique musicians from different continents including Latin Grammy Colombian singer Marta Gomez. The group released three acclaimed records ("The Other Side of the World", "Confluencia" and "Where the River Shines"). Hiroya released two solo albums ("Heartland" and "Places") from Japanese record label 333 discs.

Hiroya has been performing concerts at renowned venues internationally including several appearances at Blue Note in New York City with his group and Japanese National Television(NHK). Hiroya has performed, recorded and shared stage with Esperanza Spalding, The Kennedys, Joe Jencks (Brother Sun), Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Brooks Williams and Jim Kweskin.

 

More at hiroyatsukamoto.com

 


Will Stewart

 

Will Stewart

Sunday, February 3 • 2:30pm - 3:30 pm

Will Stewart is a Birmingham-based singer/songwriter touring in support of his newly released album, County Seat. His new album has received praise from national publications like Rolling Stone, Patch, American Songwriter and more.

In March 2016, Will Stewart headed back home to Alabama.

He'd been away for years, living in Nashville while earning his stripes as a songwriter, frontman, and lead guitarist. His fans reached as far away as London, where The Guardian — one of the U.K.'s most widely-reached papers — hailed his work.

Still, something kept drawing him down South. He'd grown up there, surrounded by the twang of classic country music and the stomp of rootsy rock & roll. Alabama was a complicated place, its history filled with dark characters and cultural clashes, but it was oddly compelling, too. It was home. Unable to resist the pull, Stewart returned to Birmingham. There, after a decade away, he rediscovered his muse: the Modern South, whose characters, complexities, open spaces, and strange beauty are all channeled into Stewart's full-length solo debut, County Seat.

Released in 2018, County Seat is a guitar-fueled Americana record, caught somewhere between the worlds of country and electrified rock. The songs are roomy and lush,  the result of an inspired — led by Stewart, who handles singing and guitar-playing duties — whose members recorded all nine tracks in two short days. There are swirls of swooning pedal steel, layers of vocal harmony, and the pastoral punch of a songwriter looking to turn the landscape of his home state into music. Close your eyes while playing songs like "Brush Arbor," whose title references Dennis Covington's Salvation on Sand Mountain, and you'll hear Stewart's Alabama home.

County Seat is also a record about time. On the album's title track, Stewart sings about a lonely man in his twilight years, hoping to find some sort of transcendence from an otherwise mundane, day-to-day life. During the nostalgic "Sipsey," Stewart longs for the wonder and innocence of young adulthood. And with "Heaven Knows Why," he takes a look at his own vices, realizing the hour has come to leave some of those habits behind. Like Stewart's own move back to Birmingham, County Seat finds its narrator in constant motion, hoping to weather the mysteries and murkiness of the 21st century South by holding on to a shred of hope.

Co-produced with Les Nuby (who also engineered and mixed the album) and recorded in a series of live takes, County Seat nods to a number of songwriters who sing about the beauty of their homeland without glossing over its imperfections. There are electrified moments influenced by Neil Young, guitar arpeggios suited for R.E.M., turns-of-phrase worthy of Bob Dylan, and the modern-day folksy charm of Hiss Golden Messenger. On an album that evokes some heavy starpower, though, Will Stewart shines the brightest. This is his first full-length release as a solo artist: a rallying cry from a Son of the South who, having returned home after a long trip, looks at his birthplace with renewed eyes.

 

More at willstewartmusic.com

 


 

Jammin' on the Plaza

Jammin' on the Plaza

Monday, January 28 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Meet people in the local music industry and join us for an unplugged jam session! 

All abilities welcome - teen and adults.


Sean Gaskell

 


Sean Gaskell

Thursday, January 3 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Sean Gaskell features traditional songs on the kora, a 21 string harp that he learned how to play throughout the course of multiple visits to its homeland in Gambia, West Africa. The music is traditionally played by oral and musical historians known as Griots (Gree-ohs). The kora is a very melodic and seemingly peaceful instrument, which is contrary to its musical repertoire. Many songs tell ancient stories of war and hardship, while others praise people of high political status and those who helped expand the Mande empire. While the kora is only 300 years old, some commonly played songs can be traced back 800 years to the founding of the Mande empire.

Gaskell has studied extensively under the instruction of Malamini Jobarteh and Moriba Kuyateh, both of Brikama, Gambia. He was first inspired to play by Kane Mathis, a Kora player formerly based in Seattle who has lead “The Kora Band” and “The Sahel Band”. Gaskell relocated from Seattle to Asheville, North Carolina in 2014. He has been featured at a number of music festivals in the US, Gambia, and Senegal.

 

More at SeanGaskell.com

 

 

2018 PERFORMERS

 

 

Joe Carnaggio

 

Joe Carnaggio • November 1, 2018

NEW Solo Instrumental Jazz CD "Memories Painted"

 Joe Carnaggio

 


The Onlys

The Onlys • October 25, 2018

FB @theonlysal @theonlysal

 


Craig Hultgren (cello)

 

Birmingham New Music Festival • October 19, 2018

 

Birmingham Art Music Alliance

 


Jammin' on the Plaza

 

Jammin' on the Plaza • Sept 12, 2018

Meet people in the local music industry and jam with us! 

All abilities welcome - teen and adults.

 

 


Sofia Talvik

 

Sofia Talvik • September 9, 2018

LISTEN & WATCH

 


Sally Barris & the Birmingham Boys

Sally Barris & the Birmingham Boys • August 23, 2018


 



Mark Schantz

 

Mark Schantz  • July 15, 2018


 


George Griffin & The Firebirds

 

George Griffin & The Firebirds • June 14, 2018

 


 

Philos Moore

Philos Moore • May 20, 2018