Stories & Songs: A Songwriter’s Series from Nashville
September 23 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm CDT$20.00
Cover: $20 Artist Donation
The Listening Room is proud to present “Stories & Songs: a Songwriter’s Series from Nashville.”
The night of storytelling through music will feature the music of Melissa Summersell, Shelley King, and Robert Cline, Jr.
Melissa Summersell performed her originals in front of an audience for the first time at the age of 18 at the world famous Flora-Bama in Perdido Key, Alabama. The crowd loved it and she was hooked.
In the years that followed, she earned her degree in music, performed for countless audiences with large bands made up of some of Mobile, Alabama’s finest musicians and continued to build her business career off stage. It was a time for working and entertaining, not a time for creating so cover tunes and big stages were the tools of the day.
Being part of the first version of Hank Becker’s Boogie Chillin’ provided a rare opportunity for creativity between one-nighter gigs and helped energize her to continue to deliver for large audiences in closed venues helping them celebrate big events in their lives.
After 20 years of performing every weekend, it was time for a break. During her hiatus, Melissa has found her creative voice again and so has come full circle. Her evolution from singer to artist is just beginning and it promises to be exciting to watch.
Some people enter a room and blend right in. Not Shelley King. She sweeps in, carrying herself with the strength and assurance of a woman who knows how to step up and get it done, whether “it” is leading her band, running her own record label or co-producing her new album, Building A Fire.
“I have a lot of lyrics in my songs that border on innuendo,” King notes. “But I do have a spirituality that gets in, too.” Laughing, she calls the title tune “a juxtaposition, if you will.” She also notes that both are major aspects of the human condition, while remaining mysterious —even taboo.
The stage for that duality was set early; born in Arkansas, King began singing as a toddler. Her parents split, her mom remarried and King moved to Houston, then Amarillo, where she landed front and center in the children’s choir at her grandmother’s church. After another stint in Houston, her mother divorced again, and King wound up with her other grandmother in Arkansas. She found salvation — literally — in a one-room country church, where she built a social life, gained solace from familial turmoil and soloed weekly. Sometimes her uncles accompanied her on guitar. That’s when she also started writing songs, inspired by her beloved Caddo River and a teenager’s hopes and dreams.
King returned to Texas for college, which she financed by running her first business. Her plans included law school. But after working for a lawyer and starting her own band, she realized law was not her passion. Music was. After gigging around Houston for a couple of years, she moved to Austin in 1992. By day, she worked as a sales rep; the rest of the time, she lived and breathed music. One day she realized she didn’t care about sales and would forever regret it if she didn’t at least try to follow her heart.
“I went in and quit my job and all the way home, I’m like, ‘Ohmygod, I must be crazy.’ But I got on the phone and called everybody I knew and told them what I had done, and I booked 11 gigs that day,” King recalls proudly.
She also formed her own label, Lemonade Records. “I always liked that saying, ‘If life hands you lemons, make lemonade,’” King says. “And I felt like my corporate gig was a lemon and I split and I made lemonade.”
Now and then, we all have moments that somehow feel cosmically connected; King admits she’s experienced several in Woodstock, where she recently recorded backing vocals on a Marcia Ball song with soul sisters Carolyn Wonderland and Amy Helm, Levon’s daughter.
King actually was heading to Woodstock for one of Levon’s famed midnight rambles when she learned of his passing. When she arrived, she sat on the tin-roofed porch of a B&B and taught herself a song she loved that he had done during one of her previous visits: the spiritual, “When I Go Away,” written by Helm’s band director, Larry Campbell. As she played, a heavy rain began falling. Listening to its watery rhythms, she realized it was ramble time and wondered if she was hearing Levon trying out his new drumkit.
“That song has meant a lot to me,” she says. “I started doing it then and haven’t stopped.” It gets an almost jubilant treatment on Building A Fire. Another track, “Things You Do,” was co-written years ago with Floramay Holliday. The fan favorite appears on in her live Rockin’ the Dancehall album, but had never been recorded in a studio.
In addition to Fort Collins, parts of Building A Fire were tracked in Austin and Muscle Shoals. It features King on vocals and guitar; Amedee on drums, percussion, mandolin and support vocals; Magnie on vocals, accordion and keyboards; Marvin Dykhuis on vocals, guitars, dobro and mandolin; and Sarah Brown on bass. Guests include Wonderland on electric guitar, Cindy Cashdollar on lap steel, Warren Hood on fiddle and Tim Cook on vocals.
“They’re just unique talents, and very expressive,” King says of her musical friends. Her co-producers, of course, offer special inspiration. “They really care about doing what’s right for the song,” she says. “I like that. When I work with them, when we’re done, I feel like I really found myself.”
She’s also found out how build quite a fire — one so strong, it’s gonna burn for a long, long time.
To learn more about Shelley King, visit: http://www.shelleyking.com
Robert Cline, Jr. began his music career as a collaboration with members of The Subdudes, both in the studio and on stage. John Magnie, produced Cline’s debut album _All The Right Reasons_, which was released in March 2012.
While writing and producing _American Mojo_, Cline was baptized in the roots of “Americana” music by collaborating with songwriters such as Peanutt Montgomery, James Leblanc & musicians such as Spooner Olham and Will McFarland. Recorded in an area known as “The Shoals”, with legendary studio musicians including members of the “Swampers,” Cline discovers his voice and shares the story of his journey.
To learn more about Robert Cline, Jr., visit: http://www.robertclinejr.com