By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
The Oxford Songwriters Association supports all up-and-coming songwriters, and now they’re putting that support into action.
The association, as a part of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, is hosting an open mic night for songwriters to catch a break at Soulshine Pizza Factory. Audience members vote, at the end of each evening, for their favorites, and the singer-songwriter with the highest number of votes wins.
Prizes include a paid gig at Soulshine, membership into the Oxford Songwriters Association, a guitar and more.
The contest began Oct. 5, and with two dates left in November, there’s plenty of time for any area musicians to get in on the action.
“We’re giving these musicians a place to come together and show their talents,” said Caroline Hourin, project coordinator with the arts council.
Established singer-songwriters, like Patrick McClary and Kevin Guyer, also perform at the events. Soulshine has regular open mic nights, said Wayne Andrews, director of the arts council, but these are special nights to boost one singer-songwriter’s career.
“You’re helping a musician get employed. We’re a small town with a lot of music,” he said. “If artists can’t survive, you really don’t have artists.”
The Oxford Songwriters Association is a support group for musicians, where they can play together, trade, sell or swap equipment and more.
Soulshine’s Chris Sartin said he hopes the competition will help bring more fans back to a folkier kind of sound.
“Acoustic singer-songwriter is really a dying breed,” he said. “People want to hear what you have to say, and here you don’t have to yell over a bunch of drunk people. They approached us, and we already have an acoustic open mic night. It’s a great combination, and it helps the arts in Mississippi grow.”
Hear and Vote
What: Songwriters night and open mic
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 2 and 16
Where: Soulshine Pizza Factory, Oxford
Info: (662) 236-6429