On Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 at 7pm, we will be sat in the Grand Opera House in Macon, Georgia witnessing the culmination of a lot of hard work on behalf of the City of Macon. In June of 2010, a group of creative people began the first steps in their efforts to put Macon, Georgia on the map - and in a good way. It started with a song and music video called A Little More Soul. It quickly blossomed into three contests: Macon Shorts, Macon Music, and Macon Mogul. On this Tuesday, Gateway Macon will be announcing the winner of the Macon Shorts competition as well as showcasing the work of talented Maconites in the creation of the 10,000 Hours EP by Floco Torres and giving a live performance of A Little More Soul with all of the original musicians present and accounted for. That’s right, Chuck Leavell, Bobby McDuffie, and Sonny Spoon will be there, as well as the writer and singer of the song, Tony Reyes and producer Steve Moretti - who worked with Floco Torres on the EP. Streetline Drumline will be in attendance and who knows what other surprises await those who come out this Tuesday night.
We waded through more than 70 songs to put together our group of 5 finalists. While we understood the disadvantage outside musicians would have coming up with a Macon song that would accurately capture the feeling that is Macon in some or all of its parts, we were also interested in finding outstanding musicians. Our biggest disappointment was with the small number of entries locally, but our biggest joy was the quality of musicians, singers, and songwriters who let us hear the rough cuts of their songs.
Breaking the over 70 songs down into a smaller group of musicians was hard. What was even harder was choosing the 10 musicians that went to our final judges. Not only did we have to pick from some really great musicians, but we also had to choose a song that was appropriately catchy, a universal tune that would appeal to many, across genre and across generations.
Our 5 finalists were a great group of musicians with an impressive list of accomplishments and many things to recommend them.
Project 51, a jazzy neo-soul group out of Boston, MA was another great offering. We immediately fell in love with lead singer’s Sentirenla Lucia voice as well as the easy going, groovy vibe from the band. This mature effort from the relatively young band stood out against a backdrop of singer/songwriters and rock musicians.
Eric Jennings had a soulful tone that reminded many of us of Counting Crows. His relaxed musical style and strong voice instantly pulls you into his music.
Alexis Vear’s voice was strong and she sings with a passion you believed. Soft and whimsical, there is a fairytale like quality to her songwriting and we enjoyed the rough cut offerings she submitted.
Shari Clarke voice bounded from her tracks, grabbing you from the get go. Her voice was so big, we were very surprised to connect it to the petite singer we met at the Otis Redding Celebration. Her voice stuck with us, even after our jurors picked their winner.
The winner of the Macon Music Competition was Floco Torres. He won because his Macon song, Cherry Street, was so infectious. It had a sound and feel that made us proud of the city we call home. However, because we couldn’t get Shari’s voice out of our heads, we did stick our finger in the stew and set it up so that Shari Clarke provided guest vocals on Floco Torres’ EP.
As the winner, Floco was able to record a 3 song EP at Star Motel Studio, complete with CD design and digital copy setup done by Burt & Burt. Bright Blue Sky filmed the music video for Floco’s Macon song, Cherry Street. If you come for the Nov. 15th event, Rock & Reel, you will get to see the full performance of the EP as well as the music video.
If Gateway Macon does another Macon Music competition, I hope that the performance and the quality of work for the EP and music video encourages more local talent, as well as musicians from around the world, to enter. We hope you can join us for the fun on November 15, 2011 at the Grand Opera House. Doors open at 6 for last minute ticket sales and will call, show is at 7:30.