Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sing. Pray. Go Home.

A Message on Zephaniah 3:14-20
December 16, 2012—3rd Sunday of Advent
First Christian Church—Palestine, IL
Rev. Dennis A. Steckley
* * * * *
There’s an old gospel hymn that reminds us, “You may have the joybells ringing in your heart.” That’s a good thought for today because the third Sunday of Advent carries the special theme of joy. Traditionally, it’s called Gaudete Sunday. If you remember your high school Latin, you’ll recognize gaudete as an imperative. The word means “joy,” and so gaudete is “you will have joy.” I’m reminded of what is said to be an old drinking song, Gaudeamus Igitur, which says, in English:
Let us rejoice, therefore,
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troubling old age
The earth will have us.
Now, I’m not recommending that you find your joy in drinking! It may work for the short term, but in the long run, that will not give you a lasting joy at all. Potentially it may give you something completely other!
Indeed, though Advent is meant to lean more toward the serious side as we prepare for the Second Coming of Christ, this third Sunday is a bit of an exception to the rule. We focus on the joy that we have through our relationship with God—and I’m going to approach that by looking at four Rs we find in the text—not the three Rs—readin’, ritin’, and ‘rithmetic, but four Rs.

Our first R is rejoice. If ever there were a Biblical theme, it would be rejoice. Over and over throughout the Bible we are told to rejoice. The apostle Paul even says, “Rejoice in the Lord always”—and then to be sure the hearers get it he adds, “And again I say rejoice [Philippians 4:4]. Now, I recognize that sometimes we go through times of great sorrow and we won’t be jumping for joy then, but the general principle still holds. We rejoice not because of external circumstances at any given moment, but because we have faith in what God is doing. We believe that God is taking all the sorrows and problems of this old world and somehow making them into a beautiful new world that is yet to be revealed. Indeed, the process won’t be complete and the new world won’t be revealed until the Second Advent we are remembering and looking forward to.

This we accept on faith because we have found our God to be trustworthy. Our God makes promises and our God keeps promises. As theologian Jurgen Moltmann aptly points out, “Biblical thought always understands hope as the expectation of a good future which rests on God’s promise.” You see, the joy that comes from hope in God’s promise rests on two legs: first, the promise itself, and second, the ability to fulfill that promise without exception.

Now all of us can make promises, but we can’t always keep them even with the best of intentions. I could stand here this morning and promise to buy you all lunch at Llama’s after church. Please notice the operative word there—I said “could,” not “would!”

But even had I sincerely said I would take you all to lunch at Llama’s, I can’t guarantee that it would happen, no matter how sincere my promise. I might, for example, trip going down the steps, God forbid, and break my leg—like the doctor that fell in an old cistern and broke his leg. It just goes to show that doctors should tend the sick and leave the well alone. But if I fell on the steps and broke my leg, in that case, I wouldn’t be taking you to Llama’s; instead, I’d probably be taking a ride in an ambulance. I would have broken my promise even though I sincerely intended to keep it.

All of us have that situation with any promise we make—our hearts may be in the right place and we may be 100% sincere—but because of human limitations, we can never absolutely guarantee we’ll be able to keep a promise!

God doesn’t have that problem. Because God is God, God can guarantee God’s promises. If God says something will be done, it will be done! You can count on it. It’s money in the bank. So we can rejoice because of the promises God has made; because of the promises God will keep!

Second—and, yes, I’m pushing a bit to get four Rs out of this, but the second one is resonate. By resonate, I mean God echoes and shares our joy. Look at verse 17—it’s always been a favorite of mine: He will sing and be joyful over you.

Perhaps you’ve seen that video clip on YouTube of the late Mr. Rogers receiving an award at the TV Hall of Fame in 1999. One of the surprises the planners of that event had in mind was to bring out Jeff Erlanger, a young man in a wheelchair whom Mr. Rogers had interviewed eighteen years ago when this young man with a lifelong disability was a child. When that young man came out and Fred Rogers realized who it was, you could just see the excitement in his face, in his body language. He was thrilled beyond words at this expression of love that came back to him out of a lifetime of giving love, compassion, and understanding.

You know, you can laugh at Mr. Rogers all you like. You can make fun of his simplistic message if you wish. But for me, Mr. Rogers with his calm demeanor, his love, his kindness, his compassion, his acceptance of all people, makes him a Christ figure and a wonderful role model. He was a committed Christian, you know. In fact, he was an ordained Presbyterian clergyman! Mr. Rogers helps me understand what God is like simply by being able to watch him.

Back to verse 17, God looks at us and starts singing! God is that happy with God’s followers. God has given us joy, and God is so pleased at that that God also has great joy—joy expressed in singing, in taking “delight in you,” in giving you “new life.” God is filled with visible excitement and overwhelming joy. Now I think that’s pretty nifty—God is so happy to see us that his own emotions spill out. God resonates with us!

So, we have rejoice, resonate, and now, rescue. Look at verse 19: The time is coming! I will punish your oppressors; I will rescue all the lame and bring the exiles home. This is, of course, the logical culmination of our own rejoicing and God’s resonance with that rejoicing—because those are pointing forward to what God is doing. And God is rescuing us, not from a foreign oppressor, but from our own sins, from the Evil One who strives always to lead us away from God and move us in the wrong direction. We are being rescued.

When I was in high school, I decided to read the book, The Catcher in the Rye. I confess that the primary reason I wanted to read the book was its reputation as a “dirty book.” You want a kid to read something, tell him it’s dirty and he shouldn’t read it! Works every time.

Now, I’m not necessarily recommending it for young people; there is certainly some immorality in the book, but I think it’s a great book. It would probably make my own “top ten list” of the books that have influenced me the most. Indeed, much of my philosophy of ministry is found in the paragraph where Holden Caulfield describes what he’d like to be. It’s the section from which the book gains its title:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.

Now, I suspect ministry ought to be a little more proactive than just trying to stop people from falling off the cliff. It would probably be a good idea to help build a fence at the edge of the cliff, for example! But I want to be a “catcher in the rye!” And God wants to keep us from plunging headlong off the cliff into the valley of despair and destruction. Our God is a rescuing God. Our God reached out to us in that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us [Romans 5:8b].” Our God is a rescuing God. Our God is a “catcher in the rye.”

And finally we come to restore. Verse 20 reminds us, The time is coming! I will bring your scattered exiles home. We’re not home, you see. We look forward to that eternal home which is yet to come for all who are here today. I quote hymns—often two or three in a single message because they so aptly describe things we’re talking about. Remember this one:
This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through.
If heaven’s not my home,
Then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.

There are certainly days when I feel like that—but there are also days when I feel more like the man who said, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” After all, when God made this world, God proclaimed it good—and despite the presence of sin and all the evils that surround us, there is still much good in which to rejoice. There are still many people who are kind and compassionate. A few months ago when I hit that deer down south of Heathsville, it was about 11:00 at night. There weren’t many people out at that time of night, but as I was waiting for the sheriff, the tow truck, and my brother-in-law, three cars came along—and every one of them stopped and asked if I needed help. I didn’t, but I was very grateful for their willingness to help—and I thanked them all profusely for their kindness even as I explained that I was okay and help was on the way.

Especially at Christmas we like to tell those stories of the kindness of strangers and the friendly words spoken to and heard from folks we don’t know. It can, indeed, be a magical time of year, but all those kindnesses are but small hints of the world that is to come—a time when there will be no harsh words, no backstabbing, no thefts, no murders, no horrific mass shootings; it will be a world where as the apostle John tells us in the book of Revelation [21:3-4]:

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

This world is not our home, but it can be a good place along the journey. Supposedly, Jesus said: This world is a bridge. Pass over it. But build not your dwelling there. I say supposedly because that saying is not found in the Bible, but on an ancient gateway in India. But it may be authentic and I think it’s something Jesus would say.

Friends, for all the wonderful things about it, this world is not our home and in God’s own time, we will be restored and dwell in the house of the Lord forever. So may your hearts be filled with deep abiding joy as we await the coming of the Christ—both the tiny baby whose birth we celebrate and the coming king who will return in power and glory. Amen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Randy Duck's Annual Memorial Show at The Coffee Tree Books & Brew

Show Postponed Due To ILLNESS

Watch for reschedule!

Friday, December 14th 7:00PM 

The Coffee Tree Books & Brew

Randy Duck

Randy, a retired Huntsville Police Officer, will also be doing a memorial show for Eric Freeman, a fallen police officer. Click on Eric's name and read his story. This is an annual show for Randy, as he honors those who have served our country and community.

He also honors the memory of family and friends, so if there is someone you want memorialized, please just write the name and a little something about the person on a note card and give Randy when you arrive Friday night!

And, I hear, there may be a visit from Bubba Elvis! He doesn't visit often and he's a real treat, so don't miss this opportunity to see him!

So, come on out to 7900 Bailey Cove Road SE, Huntsville, Alabama to show your support for Randy and his guests! 

Come early to get your special table and order a delicious sandwich/salad, your favorite coffee and, of course, one of Miss Kitty's famous desserts! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Songwriter's Round at Emma's!

The first Songwriter's Round at Emma's last Friday night was a success. Everyone had a great time and made new friends. We were, however, disappointed that Matt Morrow was struck by a bad cold and did not make it. He made a Herculean effort to get there!

This is sort of neat. Click on details and see who you missed so you can watch for their next appearance. Then, check out December 14th. What a line up of great songwriters. The plan is three songwriters per round with three songs each and three rounds. Great variety. So if you are a songwriter and want a round with a couple of friends or would like to get in a round just:


and send a message. Hey, while you're there click FAN and LIKE Facebook. Tweet the news!
I'm sure all of the singers would love for you to become fans on their ReverbNation Profiles and LIKE their Facebook Music/Band Pages! Support your local songwriters! Stay in touch with Emma's RN page to see whose up next!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Huntsville Songwriter's Round!!

Join us to kick off the first Huntsville Songwriter's Round!
 Alabama's own talented songwriters entertaining you with
~Pop ~ Christian ~ Country ~ Americana ~

Friday ~ December 7th ~ 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Emma's Tea Room

Featuring Homegrown Songwriters 

Doors Open at 5:45

401 Pratt Avenue NE
Huntsville, AL 35801

Food ~ Beverages ~ Desserts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Huntsville Songwriter's Round

Come on out! 
All Homegrown Songwriters from Our Sweet Home Alabama!!!
New venue especially for songwriter's rounds!

Friday Nights ~ 6:00pm - 8:00pm
401 Pratt Avenue NE
Huntsville, AL 34801

Rebekah Klein

Most of Huntsville has had lunch, an elegant "tea" party or other special occasions at Emma's Tea Room ... had jewelry making lessons, cupcake lessons or shopped the upstairs gift shop. But, Rebekah has gone and done it! This forward thinking lady has now added an evening of cozy "listening" pleasure by opening up Emma's Tea Room especially for our talented songwriters. 

Friday, December 7th, the first event will begin at 6:00. 
Door opens at 5:45.

Message Rebekah on Facebook at Huntsville Songwriter's Round to get on the schedule. There will be three or four rounds of three singers each, so get a couple of songwriter friends and put together a round.

And, if you need to "chat" to catch up with that long lost friend,  to plan an event  or get an overwhelming inspiration to do a co-write while that pesky little lyric is fresh, there is a nice room with table and chairs just for that purpose! 

How much sweeter can it get?  
Ohhh, yes! There will be some awesome food!

To schedule contact:

Note: Rebekah has already booked a songwriter all the way from Gulf Shores, Alabama! 
Get your round booked!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day 2012

"The annual Veterans Day Parade kicks off Monday at 11 a.m. This year's theme is "Courage, Sacrifice and Duty" and special events are also planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

This year's Grand Marshal is Gen. Dennis Via, commander, Army Materiel Command. Reviewing officer is Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

The parade will include floats, bands, ROTC and JROTC cadets, National Guard units and displays from the Veterans Memorial Museum." - Leada Gore | 

This past week in Huntsville, Alabama, has been "Hero's Week" in honor of our Wounded Warriors 

People gathered all day at the Huntsville International Airport to welcome our Wounded Warriors to Huntsville for a week of events honoring them and their service to our country. The sacrifices they and their families made  for us.

Veterans from Vet's Motorcycle Clubs all wearing vests with their campaign buttons and ribbons!

See them, cheer them, thank them all in the parade!

Look at this little guy who came out to welcome them!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Madd Talent Music Contest - The Rutledge

Our own Homegrown Songwriter, MaryJustice Lucas, is performing during the Madd Talent Music Contest on Sunday, November 4th. The Saturday contest slots are filled, but there are still slots available for Sunday. Deadline for Sunday has been extended to Midnight Central Time, Saturday, November 3rd. Don't forget the time change! Registration information is at this Madd Talent Management link. 

Both shows will be live streamed at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

B.A.T.L.E. AIDS - Teenagers Only

Our own Homegrown Songwriter, MaryJustice Lucas, is invited to perform in this show for a worthy cause. Read details below:

Sponsored by Teen Council (SMASH)*, B.A.T.L.E. AIDS (Bands, Awareness, Teens & Live Entertainment) is a benefit concert for high school students from across the Tennessee Valley. The purpose is to increase teen awareness about HIV/AIDS. 

Donations are accepted. 

High School students only through age 19.
The B.A.T.L.E. will be held on Saturday, November 3rd 

The Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, in Huntsville.
Gates open at 7:00 p.m. 
Bands start playing at 7:30 p.m.


7:30-8:00 Boats Against Current 
8:00-8:30 Saints Don't Grieve 
8:30-9:00 Kids Full of Cars
9:00-9:30 Izzy Miller & Smokin' Joe Gambrell 
9:30-10:00 The Ledges 
10:00-10:30 MaryJustice Lucas 
10:30-11:00 GMT 6

 Security will be provided.

Light Snacks

*AIDS Action Coalition Teen Council (SMASH) is comprised of up to 21 local high school students who are passionate about educating their peers on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness throughout the community. AIDS Action Coalition Teen Council strives to reduce ignorance, promote acceptance, and stress the importance of communication between teens and the important people in their lives. After attending training session(s) during the fall semester, members present the information they learn to local schools and community groups. AIDS Action Coalition Teen Council members also participate in community events throughout the year such as this event.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another Really Big Show!

Our own "Homegrown Songwriter" from "Our Sweet Home Alabama," MaryJustice Lucas, opened for our own, "Homegrown Songwriter" Jim Parker's Songwriters Series at the VBC Playhouse, Huntsville, Alabama, on September 7, 2012. MaryJustice has some beautifully mastered cover songs and videos on ReverbNation, a Facebook Music Page, and MaryJustice Official Channel on YouTube. I'm sure she would appreciate viewing her videos and  clicking the Like box on Facebook! Read her blog, Live, Laugh, Love, to keep up with what she's doing! She one busy "Homegrown Songwriter"! 

What a line up of pro-writers!
Click their links and visit their websites. They also have fan pages on Facebook and I know would appreciate a click on the Like box. You'll enjoy reading about the big hits written by these writers!


I highly recommend going to the VBC Playhouse for Jim's shows. There's one every month. The schedule is on Jim's website. The best entertainment in Huntsville, Alabama, for just twenty bucks! And, the opportunity to sit back in cozy comfort and enjoy a show with waitresses silently moving through the audience taking orders, and delivering awesome food and beverages. This Webmaster knows!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Meet MaryJustice Lucas

Friday, September 7th - 6:00PM 
 VBC Playhouse Huntsville, AL

MaryJustice Lucas

“Music is what I love. Some people enjoy the melody but don’t pay attention to the lyrics and that’s okay, but my favorite part of a song is its lyrics. As for me, I find it impossible to NOT listen to what is being said. I love listening to the story being told in the song, just as much as I enjoy sharing stories in the songs I write. I write from my heart. Inspiration is all around me. I write about what I see and feel about the joys and disappointments of relationships. Songwriting and singing are like therapy.” MaryJustice Lucas

Seventeen year old MaryJustice Lucas has a passion for songwriting and entertaining. Whether considered Pop, Rock or New Country, her songs appeal to teens as well as older music lovers. She is a multi-award winning singer and songwriter from Huntsville, Alabama, who entered and won her first songwriting competition at age 13. She takes her singing and songwriting seriously, as this is her chosen career path.

MaryJustice’s most recent awards include the TCGMA 2011 Video of the Year,  2011 Songwriter of the Year, 2011 CD of the Year, and 2011 Most Promising Entertainer of the Year. These awards took her on to the international competitions. In March 2012, at the North America Country Music Association, Int’l (NACMAI) Music Awards  in Pigeon Forge, TN, MaryJustice brought home the 2012 Female Entertainer of the Year for her performance of  her "new country" rendition of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" and for her original song, "So Much More". She was also awarded the 2012 Songwriter of the Year for her song "Rewind," and the 2012 Rising Star CD of the Year Music Awards.

MaryJustice sings in writers rounds  and benefits all over North Alabama. In addition to hosting her own showcases, she is a frequent guest of fellow songwriters. MaryJustice  is currently working with a Nashville management company, recording songs and music videos. She performs at the Commodore, the Nashville Palace, and the Hard Rock CafĂ©. Most recently, MaryJustice enjoyed an awesome set  at The Rutledge, and joined a writer's round at the Hotel Indigo in Nashville, TN.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Meet Mike Loudermilk!

Friday, September 7th - 6:00PM 
 VBC Playhouse Huntsville, AL

Mike Loudermilk 

Mike Loudermilk has been making music most of his life. He started his musical career when his first song, an instrumental, was recorded by guitar legend Chet Atkins, who invited him to Nashville to play on the session. Atkins offered then to sponsor him in Nashville, but approved of Mike’s decision to return to Louisiana and finish his education in music theory and guitar. Son of John D. Loudermilk, Mike made his way back to Nashville where he began playing music full time. He has toured, recorded, and/or written songs with artists from John Schneider to Crystal Gayle, and from Tracy Lawrence to Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. As an artist, he has recorded several albums internationally...including a duet record, "Wildwood Flower," with bluegrass fiddle legend Buddy Spicher.

Mike has performed on numerous television shows and specials and has played on world stages from the London Palladium to the Crazy Horse Saloon, and from the casinos of Las Vegas to the White House. Mike worked with Crystal Gayle for many years and co-produced Crystal’s “Midnight In The Desert,” a song they wrote for the international radio talk show “Coast to Coast AM.” The song also won a NAMA (Native American Music Award) for “Song of the Year” in 2002. 

He is now concentrating on songwriting and producing at his studio, Nashville Sound Project House, where he has recorded and arranged songs written by some of Nashville's biggest hit songwriters. Mike has also performed at fund raisers for Aids and Cancer Research, National MS Society, and St. Jude Children Hospital (to name a few) along side of country music's most talented singer/songwriters. 

Mike is currently working on a solo guitar instrumental CD. Endorsements with Taylor guitars, Elixir Guitar Strings, Fishman Transducers, Bill Lawrence, and KJL Amplifiers point to his reputation as a "musician's musician," both onstage and through recording projects.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meet Jill Colucci

Friday, September 7th - 6:00PM 
 VBC Playhouse Huntsville, AL

Jill Colucci: 

Jill’s first exposure to the music business came when most kids are still clutching crayolas - - - at age five. Her musical aptitude was apparent at a young age as she sang along with the family’s Brenda Lee albums. She and her brother had an act where he played the accordian and she sang. By age seven, Jill was a winner of the televised talent competition on the Gene Carroll Show (Cleveland, Ohio), and became a regular entertainer on the program for the following ten years. 

She formed her own band after graduating from high school, touring for two years as drummer and lead vocalist. Jill eventually moved to California where success was quick to follow, as she earned work as a vocalist, and developed her songwriting.

Her slightly raspy singing voice has been a fixture on television. For three years running she sang ABC’s network theme. She sang "Celebrate Me Home" for the Disney Channel’s commercials. She was songwriter and vocalist for the "America’s Funniest Home Videos" show. Other commercial credits include Coors Beer, Glidden Paint, Oldsmobile, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola and Toyota’s "I Love What You Do For Me" campaign plus many more.

Jill has been lead vocalist for numerous feature films including Mystic Pizza, Where The Boys Are, Taps, All The Right Moves and White Water Summer. She wrote the song "Paradise", which was featured in White Water Summer and Little Nikita.

Her vocals have been featured on albums by artists such as Donna Summer, Julio Iglesias, Anne Murray, Laura Branigan and Phoebe SnowJill has also added her vocals to television shows such as "Miami Vice", "Designing Women", "Santa Barbara", "Spencer For Hire" and numerous "Movies Of The Week".

Jill has made her mark on Country Radio with hit songs she has written such as 1993 Billboard Song of the Year "No One Else On Earth" sung by Wynonna Judd: ASCAP #1 Award and CMA #1 Award winning songs "I’m Gonna Be Somebody" and "Anymore" by Travis Tritt. Jill has had cuts on gold albums from Anne Murray and Gloria Loring. Other artists who have recorded her songs include: Lacy J. Dalton, Michelle Wright, Richard Carpenter, Kennedy Rose, Larry Stewart, Mark Beeson, Andy Childs and Akina Nakamori.

Jill, who has been a singer/songwriter all of her life, has now released an album of her own songs. The CD, "No Regrets", features her hit compositions "No One Else On Earth", "Anymore" and "He Would Be Sixteen". It is available for sale here on her website  Online Store.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet Alan Rhody

Friday, September 7th - 6:00PM 
 VBC Playhouse Huntsville, AL

Alan Rhody
To date, Rhody has released nine independent solo albums. His latest, "Led by Love" (2012) is a living breathing testimony to his own life's lessons and to his story-telling in song, sometimes dark or melancholy observations of the world we live in but also sometimes extremely humorous. Rhody is at his poetic and energetic best on the new record, whether dealing with petty crime or real love ("Somebody To Care") for which there is a new video out, or war through the eyes of a young boy ("Arrowhead") or the sad absence of honesty and trust in today's politics and some of the out of control media ("They Call Me The Truth"), as well as his more vunerable personal side ("Old D-28"). The new record also includes guest spots from Sam Bush on mandolin and fiddle and slide guitar from Mike Henderson along with the very "in the pocket" and expressive tracks and lead parts by Guthrie Trapp (guitars/mondolin), Rick Lonow (drums/percussion) and Mike Bub (bass).

After moving to Nashville, Tennessee in fall, 1977, he soon found himself with a fast moving hit on his hands by a gospel quartet making their first ventures into country music. Rhody would later included the song on his own first full length album, "Stop The Rain" (1981). The song was his haunting ballad, "I'll Be True To You" and the former gospel group was The Oak Ridge Boys. Now over four million in sales and having become a "Country Classic" on radio worldwide, "I'll Be True To You" first hit #1 on all three country charts and crossed over into the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1978.

Alan's Songs Covered By:
His songs have been covered by a long list of major artists in country, folk and bluegrass and include several other top hits. Some of those artists are: 

Del McCoury; Maine's David Mallett; Canada's Murray McLauchlan, The Good Brothers and Ron Hynes; The Atlanta Rhythm Section; Suzy Boggus; Michael Martin Murphey; Kevin Welch; Kieran Kane; The Oak Ridge Boys; Lorrie Morgan; George Jones; Toby Keith; Lee Greenwood; John Schneider; Lynn Anderson; Ricky Van Shelton and Tanya Tucker.

Press Releases:
"A singer-songwriter of uncommon clarity and intelligence " - Peter Cooper, The Tennessean

"He has earned a level of respect and recognition that places him in the vanguard of pioneers of the contemporary roots music movement." - Greg Quill, Toronto Star

"If you've never seen this Nashville singer-songwriter perform, you're missing out on one of our most entertaining and amusing acoustic troubadours." - Robert K. Oermann, Music Journalist, Author, Historian

"You can at once laugh out loud and a few seconds later, be put in the most somber of moods."
- American Songwriter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jim Parker's Songwriter Series

Follow Me On Twitter @JimEParker

Friday, September 7, 2012

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Meet Our Homegrown Songwriters

This blog started sometime in April, 2009 to highlight Our Homegrown Songwriters, who usually show up every Wednesday night at the Coffee Tree Books & Brew on Bailey Cove Road in Huntsville, Alabama. They all have one thing in common ...the love of writing and sharing their songs. There were a few seasoned songwriters around like B.D. Chase, George Wells, Karen Newsum, Susan and Donny Grace, Jim Parker and Cristina Lynn, ready to lean a helping hand, to encourage, but by large, most were novices to the craft. 

It's amazing at the progress so many have made! Many have come and gone and new ones keep coming. The Coffee Tree is just the place for songwriters to gather, develop friendships, collaborate on co-writing and in general just to have a great time. They have joined forces to raise money for worthy causes and to support one another. It is always nice when someone is doing a show out of town and looks out to see familiar faces in the crowd. That's support, love and true friendship. Like family!

Watch this blog over the next several days or weeks to see who may be featured. Who knows? It could be you.

So meet the place ...  of course!
 The Coffee Tree Books & Brew 7900 Bailey Cove RD SE, Huntsville, AL 35802

In addition to hosting the Songwriters Open Mic on Wednesdays, Friday nights are reserved for 2 hour shows booked by the songwriters. Then, there's fun for everyone on Saturday Night Open Mic and whomever wants  to step up to the the microphone and sing. Something original or a cover, it doesn't matter as long as it's family friendly.
"The Tree," as we affectionately call it, is more than for songwriters, groups of all types meet there on a regular basis and Kitty and her staff offer up the best food and service one could hope for. When we first started going to "The Tree" another familiar face on the staff was Tom Crain who is no longer there full time but drops down from Missouri when he gets a chance. Tom is certainly one who is missed and we are always happy when he visits. 

That's all for now. Drop by again, soon, for reviews, featues and updates on what's happening with Our Homegrown Songwriters From Our Sweet Home Alabama

Thursday, July 26, 2012

MaryJustice Featured on Ben E*Factor

ARTIST: MaryJustice Lucas
Posted by BENJAM on July 22, 2012

MaryJustice Lucas is a wonderfully gifted young lady. Coming from Huntsville, Alabama, she’s a talented songwriter with a sensational voice, who plays the guitar, & continues to sing her way into more people’s hearts everywhere she goes. Her music falls within the Country Genre with a sweet folk sound, sometimes altercating to Pop, or Rock as well. The songs she tends to perform are meaningful and heartfelt. They deal with life, love, and living. With a warm heart & a deep love for God, she’s a blessing.

Often teaming up with her long time friend Matt Morrow, she’s both great alone, or with him as a team. Together they’ve been compared to “The Civil Wars”. Having won an onslaught of awards, talent competitions, sold out shows, acquired representation & a growing fan base, she’s easy to brag on. You can find out more about our friend MaryJustice Lucas at: ““.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Singing "In-The-Round"

If you missed their last show at the Coffee Tree Books & Brew, you have another chance to  enjoy live music from our very own Homegrown Songwriters.

MaryJustice Lucas

Award-winning singer/songwriter

Matt Morrow.

Award-winning singer/songwriter

Joining them is 13 year old, Just Hannah of Nashville, one of the top YouTube Artists.

These three young, talented artists recently appeared in concert at the Hard Rock Cafe-Nashville. Also, joining them is Guitarist, Jeff Sturms, formerly with George Strait, and Percussionist, Brandon Brannan.

As usual, Coffee Tree shows  by our Homegrown Songwriters are laid back and full of fun, especially when performers are singing "in-the-round," sharing the stories behind their lyrics or why they like a particular cover song. You have to be there to get the full effect! So, come join us!

Friday ~ July 20th ~ 6:00PM 'til 9:00PM
Coffee Tree Books & Brew
7900 Bailey Cove Road, SE
Huntsville, Alabama 35802

Monday, July 2, 2012

Last Friday's Show Was Awesome!

You missed an awesome show last Friday night at the Coffee Tree Books & Brew in Huntsville, Alabama, brought to you by Madd Talent Management  of Nashville, Music City, Tennessee. Regardless of your age or your favorite genre, the show was a hit with everyone.
Multi-award winning singers and songwriters, Matt Morrow and MaryJustice Lucas, Madd Talent Artist, sang some of their favorite originals and treated us with yet another "Civil Wars" cover. If you missed it, you'll have to wait for the next performance or for a video release! Check out their video of "Safe and Sound" ... 

Huntsville was introduced to Just Hannah of Nashville who is famous for her YouTube videos.

Madd Talent artist, Hannah, age 13, was new to the "round type concert" but jumped right in with this format like a pro. In songwriter rounds, it's so nice to hear the songwriter  tell the story behind the inspiration for their songs or why they chose a particular cover ... and there is a lot of fun chatter among the performers. Makes for a fun night of entertainment!

So, if you missed this show you have another opportunity to see them at the Coffee Tree Books & Brew on Friday, July 20th.... AND in the Madd Talent Concert at the Hard Rock Cafe-Nashville, Sunday, July 8th. Get your tickets here.  MaryJustice, Matt and Hannah are all on Facebook, Twitter and ReverbNation and YouTube.

It was so nice to look around and see some of our favorite songwriters in the audience, Earl Watts of "My Brother William Jones" fame, Jerry Mungle ... watch for the upcoming   video release of his hit song "Diarrhea Blues" ... coming soon. I understand there will be a "red carpet" event for this at the Coffee Tree. We don't have a date but will certainly let everyone know about it. Brandon Hunt who plays a mean Dulcimer was in the audience. Sorry if I missed anyone. Once the show started I stayed put!

The Coffee Tree Books & Brew on Bailey Cove Road plays a big role Huntsville's  "music scene" and will be hosting another Birthday Party and Memorial  for the late B.D. Chase on Songwriters Wednesday Night Open Mic on July 11. That is a show you will not want to miss. Songwriters from everywhere will join us to pay tribute, sing and tell their stories and memories of B.D. who was not only a great songwriter, and singer, but an artist with paint and canvas, pen and ink. 

So, there's always something good happening with our Homegrown Songwriters from Our Sweet Home Alabama. Drop in often.