Music Ambassadors October 2013 Preview: Bombadil
Macon’s new Music Ambassadors program starts its fall season on Monday, October 14, when the Durham, N.C.-based band Bombadil will play a free show at noon in Mercer Village and a ticketed show at 6:30 p.m. at a historic home in College Hill. The house show will also feature the art of Carol Dodd Porter. Tickets for the house show go on sale on Friday, October 4 at musicambassadors.org. Future dates will be announced at the show.
Bombadil describes their music as “quirky, sophisticated chamber folk combined with sunny pop music.” On hiatus since 2009 due to severe nerve damage suffered by bassist Daniel Michalak, the trio returned to the road this year and released its fourth album, Metrics of Affection, in July to acclaim in The New York Times, Paste magazine and NPR’s “Weekend Edition.”
“We are excited to host Bombadil,” said Tim Regan-Porter, creator of Music Ambassadors. “This talented band features an eclecticism that has long defined music in Macon. They will appeal to fans of The Avett Brothers, The Decemberists or Simon & Garfunkel. ”
Carol Dodd Porter lives and works out of a home studio in rural Montrose, Georgia. She regularly exhibits work at Macon Arts Alliance and is a board member of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon and past president of the Georgia Citizens for the Arts. She believes that art should reflect the time in which it is made, and that in the age of text messaging and Twitter, her text-filled paintings are simply a reflection of the world today.
“Carol has been invited to show her paintings in conjunction with the Bombadil house concert because her work is so text driven. Bombadil’s music is driven by lyrics. They are central to every song by the band,” explained Jonathan Dye, director of communications at Macon Arts Alliance. “Lyrics and quotes are also a central part of Carol’s work. Her style and approach to art making will add to the experience while showcasing the vibrant art scene in Macon. We want musicians and artists to know that Macon embraces creativity.”
Music Ambassadors brings musicians from around the world to Macon to play intimate shows and to experience all that the city has to offer. Musicians in the program receive the VIP treatment: four-diamond accommodations, meals at Macon’s best restaurants, all-expenses-paid travel and private tours of the city. The community is treated to unique concerts in various historic homes in College Hill. House shows also feature visual artists from the region, with drinks and refreshments provided by the Moonhanger Group.
Regan-Porter explains, “The goals of the program are multifaceted: to showcase the vitality and historic beauty of College Hill for the musicians and the community, to acquaint artists with Macon’s place in music history, to provide unique experiences with world-class musicians for residents, to raise money for select charities and to help rebuild Macon’s legendary music scene.”
“Rebuilding that music scene is vital to our sense of identity and to economic development,” Regan-Porter continued. “Macon is so much more than home to a few famous musicians from the past. Macon is home to architects of multiple new forms of music. Little Richard invented rock ‘n’ roll; Otis Redding defined the Stax sound; James Brown fashioned funk/soul, and the Allman Brothers created Southern rock. More recently, half of REM began playing in Macon and came to represent college/alternative rock, Lucinda Williams was inspired to create a sound that helped define “alt.country,” and Robert McDuffie and the musicians at the McDuffie Center for Strings are not only creating a renowned conservatory-quality school, they are also shaping innovative, entrepreneurial musicians.
“This is the fertile ground that inspired The Washington Post in 2007 to compare Macon to Renaissance Florence. I want to see Macon claim its place alongside (if not above) historic music cities such as Memphis, Nashville, Muscle Shoals and New York City, and join the ranks of cities with vibrant and economically vital music scenes such as Austin, Texas and Athens, Ga. Music Ambassadors seeks to both celebrate that past and help build a present scene that continues the tradition. We want musicians, and their fans, talking about all that Macon offers and ultimately considering Macon as a place to play, record and live.”
Music Ambassadors held a preview event in June, with Sophia Bastian playing Mercer Village, Second Sunday and a historic home. Regan-Porter says that event is emblematic of what the program hopes to achieve. The concerts resulted in media coverage for both the artist and the city in local, national, and international press. “Local press in all forms of media were very supportive, which is critical for this program” Regan-Porter said. “National coverage came via Paste magazine, which debuted a new song that Bastian and Belle Brigade guitarist Ben Cassorla co-wrote and recorded at Macon’s Star Motel Recording Studio (the studio donates recording time for Music Ambassadors). Bastian also paid a visit to the Otis Redding Foundation, and thanks to an extended shout-out and invitation to Macon from Karla Redding-Andrews, the BBC radio program ‘The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show’ spent a significant chunk of their show talking about Bastian, Otis and Macon. What really excited me, though, was Bastian saying the trip felt like a wonderful vacation, despite playing three shows. We have a great new ambassador for Macon, and we hope to produce many more.”