Last weekend Mart and I were joined by a colleague and friend, Jo Ellyn, at a really cool music venue that I just have to tell you about.
It’s the Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center, just up the alley from Darwin’s on 4th. Now Fogartyville, for those (like me) who never heard of the place, is a not-for-profit community center created by the Peace Education and Action Center, (website provided below.) Fogartyville is a gathering place where art, culture, music and politics intentionally collide to inspire social change. In addition to being a music venue, the PEACenter hosts speakers and conversation on a variety of topics, from Community Coversations on Healthcare, to talks with authors and weekly peace vigils, so there is a socio/political lean to the place, but what brought us to Fogartyville Cafe was the music.
The night we went, the group Hymn for Her, was celebrating a new CD release, and the place was packed! We had originally heard Hymn for Her at The Blue Rooster, so we knew the talent was good, what we didn’t expect was how absolutely cool it was to visit a live music venue where guests actually listen to the music! Seriously! There were a few folks up dancing now and then, but on the whole, everyone was there to enjoy the local music scene. The night started with Beat the Meetles, who opened for Hymn for Her, and then the headliners took the stage — for only a $5 cover charge.
There’s a small cafe counter as you enter that serves food with a focus on organic and/or locally grown, as well as volunteers selling soda, beer and organic wines for $4 each, but — as I’ve said, the focus was on the music. Not knowing we could have grabbed a bite there, we’d already had dinner, so we grabbed a beverage and looked for a table. Not seeing one available, we grabbed a few chairs that had been stacked against the wall, and made room for ourselves near the stage — not blocking anyone else’s view in the process.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy music that is loud enough to make my ear drums ring, nor do want to hear others talking over the music. At Fogartyville, they hit the volume just right, and everyone — both those inside and outside — could hear perfectly. Hymn for Her is popular duo of Wayne Waxing and Lucy Tight, known as the band from anywhere they can park their vintage 1961 Bambi Airstream trailer. (I don’t know if they’re married, but if so, I’m glad Lucy didn’t hyphenate her name. . . just say’n!)
Hymn for Her have been busy touring across the country and abroad over the past few years, injecting juiced-up backwoods country blues with a dose of desert rock psychedelia that has been described as “Hell’s Angels meets the Amish.” and at one point in the evening, they brought up their little girl, Diver, to sing. So cute!
Coming up at Fogartyville are a number of bands known a variety of music, from country soul, to reggae groove, to freak-folk. (Don’t know what that is, but I’m open to it.) But my radar is tuned in on the Very Merry Jerry Day on August 4th, 2013 – WSLR radio’s annual tribute to Jerry Garcia, featuring Kettle of Fish, the Schmitz Brothers, Florida Mountain Boys & Ship of Fools. We’ve heard and absolutely LOVE these local groups. I don’t know what the cover will be, but it’s on my calendar to attend!
If Fogartyville keeps up the quality of music we saw on our first visit, and delivers on their upcoming music calendar, I see the Peace Education and Action Center will look back on this project as a rousing success.