The Power of the Song

Singer-songwriters at Opera House

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 4/22/18

Vicki and Jay Parnell believe that music is powerful. They've been making music together and with others for years, and lately they've been expanding their exploration of the strength of songs performed by their writers. On Saturday, April 28, …

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The Power of the Song

Singer-songwriters at Opera House

Posted

Vicki and Jay Parnell believe that music is powerful. They've been making music together and with others for years, and lately they've been expanding their exploration of the strength of songs performed by their writers. On Saturday, April 28, they'll host what Vicki calls "Sumter's first singer-songwriter's night at the Sumter Opera House."

"The Power of the Song - A Storytelling Evening with Singers and Songwriters" will bring together several singer-songwriters to talk about the inspiration and process behind the writing of their often very personal music.

The impetus for the concert, Vicki said, was "writing with Nashville's Rick Tiger," a well-known singer-songwriter who often plays at that city's famed Bluebird Caf . Saturday's concert at the Sumter Opera House is loosely based on the format and philosophy of Bluebird Caf . The small club, a Nashville icon, features performers playing all acoustic music only, as the Opera House concert will.

Tiger, Front Porch Junkies, Floyd Callen, and Kassie Jordan and Troy Brooks, who perform as Blue Honey, will be on stage to share their music "and the stories behind the songs," she said.

The Parnells and Eddie Rogers are the Front Porch Junkies.

"This is something new for Sumter," Vicki said. She and husband, Jay, previously had the popular variety band Virtually Unshockable, which played mostly rock and pop.

During a trip to Nashville to record the Junkies' first CD, Vicki and Rick Tiger, a noted singer-songwriter there, came up with the idea for the Opera House concert. All of the songs will be original to the performers - no covers - and most are classified country or Americana. The singer-songwriters will talk to the audience about their experiences making music - or as Vicki said, "how a song is born."

Floyd Callen, formerly of Sumter and now living in Texas, is returning to town to take part in the concert. On his website, floydcallen.com, he states that he started writing music and lyrics in 1982, finally finding "what I love to do." Samples of his recordings can be heard on the site.

The husband-and-wife duo that is Blue Honey comprises Kassie Jordan and Troy Brooks, who sing, write music and play acoustic and lead guitar respectively. They are based in Nashville, where each had a solo career before they formed Blue Honey.

On their website, www.bluehoney.com, Brooks describes their music:

"My guitar playing is really grounded in the blues, but I really enjoy singing and working in a country scene. Kassie has strong musical influences from Michael Jackson to Patsy Cline. So, when we get together to pop songs out of our heads, they fall somewhere among Americana, blues and country."

Rogers and Jay and Vicki Parnell all sing, write music and play guitar, concentrating on country music as the Front Porch Junkies.

"I think country songs tell a story," Vicki said. "Country music is more uplifting. It's very popular in Sumter, and the South is known for good country music. Like they say, 'a really good country song is three chords and the truth.' That's kind of what Rick Tiger has taught me.

"The lyrics and music are equally important - maybe the lyrics have a little bit of an edge because everyone wants to know the story."

Front Porch Junkies will perform all five songs on their new CD titled "Howlin' in the Wind," she said.

"Jay wrote the last song," Vicki said. "It's called 'If Not for You.' Jay wrote it in about 15 minutes right after the funeral for Cody and Jessi (their young sons who died in a car wreck). He says God gave him the song, It's beautiful."

Immediately following the 7:30-to-10 p.m. concert at the Sumter Opera House, the musicians invite the audience to an after party at La Piazza for more music - not all country songs and some covers of songs by other writers. Admission will be free, and beverages and food will be available for purchase.

CDs by the performers will be available for purchase at the Opera House.

Sponsors for the event are MWS Construction, Hamptons and Sturkie Law, LLC.

Tickets for "The Power of the Song - A Storytelling Evening with Singers and Songwriters" are $25 and are available at the Sumter Opera House, 21 N. Main St.; (803) 436-2500; or on the Facebook page "The Power of the Song." There are also links at the Angel Boys Productions website.