← View All Articles

Upstate Musicians Registry aims to create database on local performers

From The Greenville News Article by Donna Isbell Walker; photo by Bart Boatwright

The city of Spartanburg is looking to make a name for itself as a music city.

The Downtown Music Trail offers a look at the singers, songwriters and bands that Spartanburg has spawned over the past several decades, and the Downtown Cultural District was launched last fall as a center for entertainment events, art galleries, music venues and more.

Now, Chapman Cultural Center is putting together a registry of musicians with ties to Spartanburg in particular and the Upstate in general.

“Chapman Cultural Center is the main local arts agency here in Spartanburg, so what we’re trying to do is live up to our mission, which is basically to provide cultural leadership, and that includes music,” said Rachel Williams, director of marketing and communications for Chapman Cultural Center. “So we want to be a resource, not only to community organizations, but also the musicians that we serve, to make sure we are identifying them in the community,”

Since Chapman Cultural Center opened up the application process, around 40 musicians have signed up, “and it’s growing daily,” Williams said.

The registry focuses on musicians and bands based in Spartanburg, but performers from other cities in the Upstate may also submit an application to be considered, she said.

One purpose of the registry is so that organizations or individuals looking for a performer of a certain genre, or a recommendation for a local musician or band, can receive a list of recommendations that fit their request.

“It’s about putting musicians to work. That’s our main goal, our No. 1 reason why we want to create the musicians registry,” Williams said. “And then we are getting ready to launch, at the beginning of August, our Downtown Cultural District programming, which will essentially be 12 different gigs for street musicians Wednesday through Saturday in the cultural district here in Spartanburg. And we’ll be doing our own hiring from that registry. And it just kind of streamlines things for us. We just want to make sure we’re including all types of music, and we’re representing all of the music that’s available here in Spartanburg.”

The Downtown Cultural District was launched in November 2016, and one of its goals has been to make sure that downtown Spartanburg has plenty of entertainment events and options.

“The music programming that we’re getting ready to do … was kind of the the jumping-off point. We needed this for our own personal use, but then we realized this could actually be something greater than that. And so it could be a community resource as well.”

Eventually, the registry may be accessible to the public, but in the beginning, someone who is looking for a local musician can contact Chapman Cultural Center to get the info, Williams said.

For more info, go to www.chapmanculturalcenter.org.

Marshall Chapman comes home to Spartanburg

Marshall Chapman, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter/author who was born and raised in Spartanburg, returns home in June to perform and to be inducted into the Spartanburg Music Trail, the town’s open-air hall of fame. The music trail induction takes place Wednesday, June 5 at 2 p.m., and Chapman performs at the Chapman Cultural Center on Friday, June 7. The concert will be a release celebration of her latest album, Blaze of Glory, and a fundraiser. Concert proceeds will go to the Chapman Cultural Center to promote arts education.The show starts at 7 p.m. This will be Chapman’s second solo concert at the David W. Reid Theatre. Her first in 2010 was a rollicking sold-out affair that people still talk about. Chapman promises more of the same on June 7. “I'll be singing songs from the new album, plus some of the older stuff. I really don't plan that much anymore. I just walk out on stage, sniff the air, and let 'er rip. Each audience is different, but a hometown audience… well, that's extra special. Plus, I'll be performing in a building that bears the name of my family, so that'll be beyond special,” she recently said. “Spartanburg has an incredible musical heritage. I mean, where else can you hear, as I did growing up, Jan Peerce of the Metropolitan Opera at Twitchell Auditorium one night and Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs at the National Guard Armory the next?” Marshall Chapman, Blaze of GloryBlaze of Glory is Chapman's 13th album. Many of the songs written by the 64-year-old rocker are about unrequited love and facing mortality without fear. It is being hailed by critics as her masterpiece. Singer/songwriter Tom Russell says it’s “her best yet,” and Grammy Award-winning musician Rodney Crowell concurs, calling it “the most satisfying record yet from the Goddess of Tall.” Of the 11 songs, Chapman wrote all but two. Chapman attributes time spent in Mexico as the inspiration for many of the songs. “I had myself convinced my muse lived down there,” she said. “To dig deep, you have to live deep. That’s great for songwriting, but it can be hell on a marriage. I had to pull back, which was painful. For a while, all I could see was my own mortality staring me in the face.” For the past 40 years, she's mostly lived in Nashville. To date she has released 13 critically acclaimed albums, and Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker, Irma Thomas and Jimmy Buffett are just a few who’ve recorded her songs. Over the years, she’s toured extensively on her own and opened for everybody from Buffett to John Prine to the Ramones. Chapman is a contributing editor to Garden & Gun and Nashville Arts Magazine. She has also written for The Oxford American, Southern Living, W, Performing Songwriter and The Bob Edwards Show. But “music,” she says, “is my first and last love.” Tickets to the fundraiser concert are $25 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets that include a signed copy of Chapman's new CD are $45 for adults and $30 for students. Buy tickets online at ChapmanCulturalCenter.org or by calling (864) 542-2787. The box office (at 200 East Saint John Street in Spartanburg) is open Monday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Friday, noon to 4 p.m. It is open noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday if a ticketed show is being promoted, and two hours prior to a show’s start. The Chapman Cultural Center is a nonprofit cultural arts venue and home to eight local “partner” organizations that specialize in visual art, local art, folk art, music, song, dance, theatre, science and local history. Via: Chapman Cultural Center

Cast your vote for new Spartanburg Music Trail inductees

The Spartanburg Music Trail is taking votes for the next set of honorees. The trail presents Spartanburg's legacy as a birthplace of musical careers and as of a contributor to American roots music such as blues, jazz, country, gospel and bluegrass. The trail is marked with signs throughout downtown, and a cell phone audio tour is available as well. You can read about the eight nominees and vote for up to two of them in this article in GoUpState.com. Visit the Spartanburg Music Trail website to learn about the first 12 musicians who were inducted. Via: Spartanburg Music Trail, GoUpstate.com [caption id="attachment_1372" align="aligncenter" width="551"] Pink Anderson (1900-1974). Piedmont bluesman who lived most of his life in Spartanburg. The rock group Pink Floyd is partially named after him.[/caption]