Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Shoals Songwriters Showcase

Saturday, October 26th
7:00 - 10:00 PM
4900 Hatch Blvd, Sheffield, AL 35660

Featured Songwriters

MaryJustice Lucas
MaryJustice has a passion for songwriting, and entertaining. Whether considered Pop,  Indie or Inspirational, her songs appeal to teens as well as older music lovers. She gives God credit for her songwriting and singing gifts and considers herself a "Musicianary."
“Music is what I love. Some people enjoy the melody but don’t pay attention to the lyrics. 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

Quay Cage
Quay has played guitar since third grade when his grandfather blessed him with a beautiful instrument. He told Quay that God had blessed him with the Gift. He took that and made it a part of himself. He started writing songs when he was 11, learning to put voice to his music. He delivers his poetry through his music, with true feeling,  as though painting a beautiful work or art.

Quay, describes himself as a high-class Hipster. He’s all about class and loves vintage style. He is a natural, everyday poetic addict with a dry sense of humor. Quay has a passion for writing music, performing and delivering a good show. Quay says he is blunt and straight forward, likes to meet people, considers the stage his second home. 

"Passion is like a rose. Once it’s awaken the beauty is everlasting, no matter if it withers away the thought and love is still there."  Quay Cage

The Shoals Songwriters Showcase Host

Maxwell D. Russell
Maxwell Russell was born and raised in northwest Alabama. He grew up in the Colbert County area, a region which has had its share of music greats. It is home to Muscle Shoals Sound, Fame and other famous, ground breaking studios. It is also the hometown of Blues legend W.C. Handy. Maxwell has been playing the guitar since he was a youngster but started his journey in the "business" at the age of 26, forming bands along the way and playing his originals at gigs. He writes music ranging from Country ballads and Country rockers to Blues and Jazz numbers and old time Rock ‘n’ Roll. Maxwell has a catalog of over 200 songs, not very many by today’s song writing and music business standards but each song has a personal feeling or story that has taken a lifetime of work in preparation. . His music is influenced by old school Delta music, Slide, Boogie, Shuffles, Swing and old Rock ‘N’ Roll. He plays songs by the likes of Howling Wolf, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins and newer artists like Tony Joe White and Stevie Ray Vaughan to name a few. Max has played mainly throughout the southeast for festivals and clubs. In 2006, he entered and won first place in a Blues band competition in Birmingham, Alabama and was sent to Memphis for the international competition. He has released several solo albums, and with his band, The Shakedown Kings. Max is still hammering away at the clubs with his band, and playing his acoustic Blues at as many venues and festivals as possible.

Maxwell Russell:
Bookings or merchandise - maxwellrussell256@gmail.com.
Bookings for Maxwell Russell and the Shakedown Kings maxwellrussell256@gmail.com
(256) 856-1961

MaryJustice Lucas:
Bookings or merchandise - http://www.maryjusticelucas.com/contact.html

Quay Cage:
Bookings - http://tinyurl.com/ou8j3pd

This will be a showcase you don't want to miss!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Introducing Paul J. Clark

Here is another Homegrown Songwriter that is not from Alabama, but one I think you will enjoy meeting. Say, "Hello!" to Paul J. Clark.

Paul is an unsigned independent artist based out of Lynchburg, VA. His music is a blend of catchy piano Pop, Alternative/Rock, a hint of Dance/Electronic all intertwined with hook laden melodies. Paul plays multiple instruments, specializing in guitar and piano. All his music is written, performed, produced, mixed, and engineered by him (drums are arranged/compiled by him). Read more about this super talented songwriter on Facebook and ReverbNation. I know he would appreciate if you click "LIKE" on FB and "fan" him on RN. Our songwriters appreciate your comments and support!

The Story Behind "Virtuoso" 
Paul J. Clark

Two years ago, I was sitting at my keyboard and playing just for fun.  On my left knee sat my little girl with my arm cradled around her.  One of the greatest loves of my life, she was around a year old at the time.  My right hand rested on the cold keys of my Yamaha keyboard.

I felt a strange mix of emotion as I began to reflect on where I was in my life.  I thought back to decisions I’d intentionally made to choose a lifestyle conducive to raising a family over pursuing a career in music.  I thought about the unspeakable joy in my marriage and the happiness my three kids brought to my life.  I thought about my sweet little girl and how complete she made me feel.  And I thought about music… how the dream has never left me.  Passion for creating and performing music is a part of me and always will be.  It was ultimately this sense of balancing responsibility and a love for music that set the tone for this song.

Then, with my daughter in my left hand and the keyboard under my right, I started to play.  It was a simple melody played by only one hand.  That’s all I could play because I was holding my daughter.  That was the intro to the song.  Then I started to sing, “You make the most of it when you got one hand tied behind your back.  ‘Cause you’re so close to it, there’s no turning back.”  This to me meant pursuing my dream even while balancing the responsibilities of life.  And so came the intro to the song, its emotional theme, and verse one. 

All at once a rush of thoughts and feelings overcame me.  I reflected on my goals and talents as a musician, to be the best I can.  I also thought about how I felt in my professional career and how little time I had to create music.  Up until the past several years, I’d spent years performing and here I was in near solitude, with an audience of one.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was supposed to be doing something more, something with music.  Verse two was born from that, “And though you try hard, the feeling doesn’t go away.  Like something’s missing… love’s a protégée.”

Those same thoughts and feelings led me to the chorus and I started to sing, “Virtuoso, close but far away.  Virtuoso, she pulls away…”  “Virtuoso” to me represented my dream to play music full-time, to continue to be the best I possibly could.  “She pulls away,” was about how I felt like life was going by and that dream was drifting out of reach.  

Of note, I later changed the second phrase from “Virtuoso” to “Virtue, oh so.”  I wish I could tell you of some deep meaning behind that change but the truth is, I thought it was cool that those two phrases sounded exactly alike.  I thought it would be fun to put that into the song so that only people who had read the lyrics would be in on the secret.  There is meaning to the word, “Virtue” and I now sing it as representative of chasing your God-given purpose.

And that was it, I had the core of my song written.

The demo I recorded sat untouched for nearly two years.  As I began work on my album, I picked it up again and wrote the bridge, “Don’t let her get away…” This was about not giving up on finding the dream, seeking God's purpose for my life, no matter what obstacles were in the way.

I finished the song early this year and released it as part of my full length album.  It has become the most popular song on the album.

I hope you find inspiration from my story.  Do what you love as often as you can, follow your heart.