Sunday, September 25, 2011

Songwriter's Recipe: songs and stories from euphoria unplugged #euphoriagreenville

Yes folks, wine and food were involved.  (and I was introduced to Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon...oh boy!)  The concept behind euphoria Greenville is to showcase local talent, a blending of food, wine and music.  Of course, it helps to have some international talent be from the area too.

Edwin McCain -  what, you don't recognize his face?  You will recognize his voice.  euphoria lists him as "The Voice that has launched 1,000 marriages" - you know the song, 1998's "I'll Be":
I'll be your cryin' shoulder
I'll be love suicide
I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life... 

Edwin is home grown Greenville, SC. As a boy, he sang in the church choir, then he grew up, made it big (he says that his latest album Mercy Bound is "set to go cardboard next week" but I smell gold), and came home to raise a family (when he's not touring).   This romantic soul who wrote the lyrics above is a great voice, a terrific musician, a natural, charismatic, storytelling family man and one of the driving forces behind euphoria.  Lucky for us, he invited some talented friends to join him to perform "unplugged" at the warehouse theatre on Augusta Street for the night..

The Songwriter's Recipe was more than a concert -  it was reception sponsored by J. Lohr and Firefly Vodka (reviews to come) with great food from Chef Daryl L. Shular (I loved the duck appetizer and the shrimp on a stick...), and a fun, memorable and intimate evening with Edwin McCain, Maia Sharp and Will Hoge.

With the stage softly lit and the oriental carpets draping the floors, it was like hanging out with amazingly talented friends in your chic, urban loft. All three went round robin with songs and stories.  They played together and sometimes alone, and every song was perfect for the occasion. I am still singing "Red Dress" in my head, days later. (The image of Will walking out on stage in a sequined red dress as Maia and Edwin sang is burned into my psyche).

They were having fun, and when the people on the stage are having a blast, the audience is in on it too.  Of course, my glass of  J. Lohr Chardonnay and two Firefly Bourbon Sweet Teas helped to lubricate my Yankee reserve. Chef Shular made sure that we had delicious, satisfying food - we were sated on all levels.  

Stories with punch lines like: "Tour Bus Stories aren't Dinner Party Stories."; or "My six year old told his teacher his favorite song was Johnny Cash's Cocaine Blues"; and "Whenever I sing this song, usually a glass of wine appears. (TWO glasses appeared that night!)

If you see Edwin out on tour, ask him about the teenagers in his neighborhood - he may just sigh and hang his head. It is wonderful to listen to stories told by a man who one day was surprised to find out that he is a grown up (albeit with the spirit of a child).   We've all had those moments, when we are reminded that we are the grownups now, and when we see that our rock stars have those moments too... well, it just seems like we're still cool on some level. The novelty and freshness of their banter made their soulful, resonating music even more special.

Will Hoge rocked the house when he pulled out a harmonica, and Maia Sharp reminded us that the real talent behind our top 40 singers is usually the songwriter.  Maia is an an amazing singer/musician, but she is also a busy and well respected producer and songwriter who is behind many familiar hits. It was great to see her on stage, playing her own songs.  It is also great to know that even though she lives in LA, her favorite restaurant is Greenville's own The Lazy Goat. (Take that Spago!).

The concert was great, the food was amazing.  The Rock & Rollers headed to the afterparty, and I hopped the free trolly back to the Hyatt.  A good time was had by all.

a slideshow of the night:

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