The rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of the audience who braved the storms last Saturday night at attend the open mic at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center.
Those who came enjoyed a wonderful night of fun, music and poetry in spite of the severe weather warnings.
Host Robert Foster started the evening with three of his favorite folk songs. He started with “Knoxville Girl” and “Please Come to Boston” by Kenny Loggins. He followed that with “When I’m Good and Gone” by Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. This poignant song about what the author hopes will happen after his death overwhelmed Foster with emotion as he exclaimed, “We lost a lot of friends and family this week.”
Arts Center president Ron Hackett followed Foster to the stage to perform some instrumental guitar tunes. He began with the beautiful theme from Love Story, a 1970 romantic drama that introduced Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal. He followed that with “Manhã de Carnaval”, a famous bossa nova from a Brazilian film named “Black Orpheus.” Frank Sinatra made the tune famous with the English title, “A Day in the Live of a Fool.” Hackett finished with a country fingerpicked classic by John Loudermilk called “Windy and Warm.”
Thunderbyrd Newman returned to the stage after being absent at the last few shows. Thunderbyrd writes his own songs and bills himself as an avant-garde singer and songwriter. He performed three of his songs that included “Million Dollar Smile” and “Free.”
Dr. Bill Stephens returned for more dramatic reading of “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service. Service wrote extensively about the Yukon during his travels in a collection of poems and tales. Thayer’s poem is a famous tale of overconfidence that caused a prominent hitter to strike out and lose the World Series for a fictional team from Mudville.
Elliott from Petersburg coordinated his usual humorous tunes with Stephens to perform an extended version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The chorus of this 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer has become the unofficial anthem of North American baseball that is usually played during the seventh inning stretch. In addition to the common baseball theme, the song is about a similarly named Katie Casey. Elliott also sang the song “Nice People” before calling Hackett back to the stage to perform “Winter Wonderland” as a duet. Hackett played an instrumental version reminiscent of the late Chet Atkins while Elliott sang the tune.
Songwriter Greg Mitchell arrived just in time for his set that included three of his original songs. He started with “Sunday Morning at the Opry” that tells the story of his visit to the Ryman Auditorium on morning after the Saturday night show when the auditorium seemed more like a church. He followed that with “He Knew Every Word,” a song about one of the greatest hymns, “How Great Thou Art.” In this song, a man returns to his church roots when they play his mother’s favorite song, and he knew every word. Mitchell finished with “One Drink Away,” a song of heartache and loss in a traditional country format.
Since the severe weather caused some of the performers to stay home, there was time for a few encores. Since Hackett was already on stage backing Mitchell, he stayed to perform three more guitar instrumentals. He started with the traditional “Wheels” that Chet Atkins made famous. The rhythm of the song and the name have caused people to speculate that the song is about trains, but the song’s name was an accident. “The song’s original name was “Tell the World,’” said Hackett, “but the labels got reversed when they produced the record.” The song on the B side of the record was supposed to be named “Wheels.”
Foster closed out the show with two more folk favorites. “In Color” is a Jamey Johnson song about living through World War II as seen in the black and white photos of a soldier who is telling his family how they should have seen it in color. He ended with John Prine’s song about people growing old and lonely. They are just waiting for someone to say, “Hello in There, Hello.”
The next show will be Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in the gallery of the Arts Center. The bi-monthly (first and third Saturdays of each month) performing arts show and open mic is free to all Arts Center members. They ask non-members to make a $2 donation to help cover the cost of the facility.
Each act is allowed 15 minutes for their performance. Soloists who would like musical accompaniment for their performance, or anyone who would like to participate in an open jam session, please contact Ron and Taylor before the show. Questions about the show are also welcome. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in our community through the arts and is located at 303 Main Avenue South in Fayetteville. Doors open and sign-ups begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the show begins at 7 p.m. A limited number of advance sign-ups are available on the website. For more information, visit the Art Center at www.flc-artscenter.com/openmic.