The Macon County Times Relay For Life team is proud to bring you a special concert on Saturday, March 15 at the Macon County Jr. High.
Winter Blues features headlining Nashville artist Sophie Shear. Opening for her are local performers Jason Gammon and Jessie Liz Clement. Doors open at 6 pm and the show begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $5 at the door (children 12 and under get in free).
There will also be a short public word, before Shear goes on at 8 pm, acknowledging those in the community who have been affected by cancer. Concertgoers should come prepared to stand and remember loved ones, or to stand and acknowledge friends and family who are survivors.
“These three artists each bring an element of the blues to their varied styles,” said Times Editor Tilly Dillehay, who is organizing the event. “My husband and I have been watching Jason Gammon locally for about a year now. He does alternative rock, and we think there is something really moody about his music—seems like it has the same effect on people as the old dirty blues did.
“Then Jessie Liz has developed quite a bit since she was featured on the cover of the Times in 2012. Her new music seems to bring more bluesy elements, the older and more mature she gets. Her voice, too, seems to be growing into a really raw, mournful, strong tone. We like what she’s doing and we wanted her to be a part of the Blues-themed evening.”
Headliner Sophie Shear has never played a show this far outside of Nashville. Shear has been a vocal coach on Music Row (the famed area of Nashville where a high percentage of studios and publishing houses are located) for five years and is currently working on her first album of original music. Not only does she bring this original music to the Jr. High stage on March 15—she brings the sparkling personality that has earned a strange nickname.
“Sophie is like a walking bottle of champagne,” someone once said after a party that Shear attended, and the name stuck. This descriptor did not, apparently, have anything to do with Shear’s drinking habits, but with the energy she brings into a room.
The first single from Shear’s record is set to release a few weeks after the concert, but a sneak peek of the song will be playing on local radio station WLCT/WEEN during the next few weeks, so keep your ears peeled.
Shear gave the Times a short Q&A interview in anticipation of the show:
How did you get into music?
Ha! I fell into it. I grew up in it, so it was all I ever knew. My dad was a Christian artist, and when he got his first record deal we moved to Nashville, so I grew up in the studio from an early age. Then I became a vocal coach and opened a studio in 2009, so music is now my profession.
Who do you teach?
I’ve taught hundreds of students in the last seven years. They’ve come from fourteen states and seven countries. And every kind of musical background, too… rock, country, pop, R&B, bluegrass, Asian pop…
So why did you decide to record?
Well, I just started really writing in the last two years. And I got to where I was tired of telling students how to perform, how to record, how to go out there and cross those hurtles—I realized I needed to be able to point them to my own experiences. So this is not about me becoming an ‘artist’ full time; it’s about me exploring some things I’ve always wanted to do so that I am a better teacher.
So I am currently in the studio recording a full length album. It probably won’t be ready for another year. I’m trying to take my time and do it right and enjoy every step of the process.
What kind of music is it?
It’s bluesy, gospelly, with just a little pop thrown in.
Who are some of your influences?
The earliest influence that I can think of… I have this very vivid memory of sitting on the floor in my dad’s studio. I was very young. And I was listening to Mariah Carey’s debut album. And I just sang with her, and I tried to get my voice to match her exactly. I remember backing it up and playing it over and over again and trying to make myself sound exactly like her.
What kind of things do you write about?
Well… that’s a good question. I’m kind of frustrated about that right now, actually, because it seems like I keep going back to the same subjects, and I need to branch out. I’m finding myself getting stuck in… the subject I enjoy writing about most is kind of a classic Blues subject, which is loss, or failing relationships. That last one is ironic because I’ve been happily married to the same man for seven years! But it just seems like a topic that easily flows through for me.
For information on Sophie Shear Vocal Studios, visit www.sophieshear.com.