At Southern Spines, we promote not just authors of published books or poetry. We also cherish and celebrate the songwriter–the individual who marries words and music together in a way that makes the phrases linger in our memory just a bit longer than if we had scanned them on the page. Atlanta is home to a number of fantastic live music venues. But to really worship at the altar of live music, you must plan a pilgrimage to the Red Clay Theatre–about 25 miles north of Atlanta in Duluth, Georgia–home of Eddie Owen Presents.
Founder Eddie Owen likes to say, “Life is in the song.” For more than twenty years, Owen has been connecting emerging songwriters with their fans, first at Trackside Tavern and then at Eddie’s Attic, the listening room he created in Decatur, Georgia. Many mainstream musical artists, including John Mayer, the Indigo Girls and Sugarland, got their start on an Eddie Owen stage. Owen left the Attic in 2012.
Owen’s platform for identifying and promoting worthy songwriters is part of the draw: everyone wants to be there to witness the next big act before they graduate to the arena circuit. It’s a small part of the reason that my husband and I were in the audience last night for the Songwriters Open Mic Shootout. The bi-annual Shootout is an all night event that pits the winners of six months’ worth of weekly open mic nights against each other for a chance to win a title and precious recording studio time. Twenty-two contestants performed at the beginning of last night’s competition. A panel of music industry judges decided who progressed from round to round based on criteria like songwriting skills, vocal talent and stage presence.
This weekend, Eddie Owen Presents launched a new online live stream of its Friday and Saturday night shows. Thanks to the new Eddie Owen Presents Open Mic Project, viewers with an Internet connection are now able to watch performances live at omplive.com. As a result, a few of last night’s contestants waved or said “hi” to their friends and family who were watching online.
The other reason we were in the audience is because we were rooting for Amy Andrews and The Skipperdees. Alas, they did not make it to the final round. Eliot Bronson was the last songwriter playing. Honestly, I would have paid to see any of the 22 contestants we saw last night. Those who stayed to the end were treated to more than 70 performances from some extremely talented musicians. We left around 10:45, when the final eight were playing to become the final four. Like I said, it’s an all night event.
Maybe you’ll discover the next big singer-songwriter at the Open Mic Night tomorrow–and every Monday night–at Eddie Owen Presents at the Red Clay Theater? To learn more about Eddie Owen Presents, follow them on Twitter @EOPresents or like them on Facebook.