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The Upstate’s Music Scene Can’t Grow…

The Upstate isn't lacking musical talent, we’re lacking a culture that supports emerging talent.

…if we default to the movie megaplex on Friday nights. 

My husband and I recently went to see Simpsonville’s Andy Lehman at The Channel, with openers The Tartalans. I can’t say I do that often—take Friday night as an opportunity to check out a new band for a cover of $10 over taking in an anticipated movie or playing mini golf or checking out a sporting event. It was something different. It was refreshing.

I grew up in the Upstate, and many of my friends who have since moved to Atlanta or Charlotte were among the complainers, those who claim we have nothing to do around here. I heartily disagree, but I’m not always one to prove it.

The fact is, when it comes to music, we have some homegrown legends – Edwin McCain, Mac Arnold, and more recently, needtobreathe. We have others you’ve heard of if you actually get out and look for them: The Bent Strings, Andy Lehman, The Advice and Kelly Jo Connect.

We’re not lacking talent, we’re lacking a culture that supports emerging talent. Brown Street Club, The Handlebar, The Channel, Smiley’s and soon MoeJoe Coffee on Main, are essential to changing the culture. They book quality talent, even if you don’t know the names. But they can’t succeed unless we music-lovers decide to forgo another night with Netflix and pizza when a new act has the stage.

Break the routine! Support our artists.

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Rev. Keith Moreland February 18, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Hi Tiffany, I wish I could, but unfortunately, there are not many avenues for music other than the ones that you mentioned. I wish someone would build a true music hall where local acts could be booked on a steady basis to give concerts. Maybe someone with resources would be willing to do such. I have a lot of ideas for it, just not the finances.
Andreia Van Dusen February 19, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Hi there, i loved your article and you are so right, couldn't agree more.. The newest place in Greenville is the Blues Boulevard Jazz Club, I haven't personally went there yet, but I will be going this weekend. I have several friends that have been and loved it, actually they were on FOX Carolina the other morning. Check out their website, they are new to Greenville and now open. http://www.bluesboulevardjazz.com
Tiffany Deluccia February 19, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Andreia, Thanks for the kind words and for sharing the link to Blues Boulevard! It looks like they have some great artists playing this week.
John M. Hoyt February 20, 2013 at 03:25 AM
As a musician myself (I'm a band called Hot As A Pepper which you can find at http://facebook.com/HotAsAPepper), I think this blog post has a lot of great points.... I hate to tell you, but we just lost another music venue too. Yesterday, Brown Street Jazz in Greenville closed their doors. Presumably for remodeling. Dunno for sure. What I do know is that if we don't do something to proactively save live music, we are going to be losing out. I've recently heard musicians tell me they are moving to other areas that have a better scene than here. I wanted to help do something about this and created a facebook group just yesterday, and everyone is welcome... https://www.facebook.com/groups/UpstateEntertainment Please post about bands playing, and if you are venue owner, post your entertainment schedule. There is a FILES section where you can list entertainers, and venues. Feel free to edit them. My longer term goal is to create a website with an interactive interface, allowing you to put in a location and show music around that location (maybe an app eventually), or to check out a venue and see who is there, or find a favorite band and show every where they will be playing. Picture it is a reverbnation, metromix, fete, and others, rolled into one. Thanks for your help!
Tiffany Deluccia February 20, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Hi John, I work very close to The Brown Street Club and just heard the news as well. So disappointing! Hopefully, someone will buy the space and keep it as venue for live music (especially after all the money the city put into the 'piano keys' streetscape!) Thanks so much for sharing your Facebook groups. I'll share the link with my Facebook and Twitter followers. I have also heard local musicians talking lately about how few the opportunities to play are and how low-paying the gigs can be that it makes it hard to stay here if they really want to try to make it.

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