The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
When listening to a song, one might wonder how the song was created. Could the story this song tells be true? Is that love song about a real person or just a bunch of made-up lyrics? What is the story behind my favorite song?
These musical quandaries are the inspiration behind a monthly concert series held at The 567 Center for Renewal, fittingly titled “Stories and Songs.” The concept and the format are simple. Music lovers long to hear the stories behind their favorite songs, so throw a few singer/songwriters on stage and have them play songs and tell the stories behind them.
“We’ve had a couple of writers in the shows before that The Blue Indian did, and we just wanted to take that idea further... and hear the inspiration behind it and let people get to know the songwriters,” explained Melissa Macker, executive director at The 567.
Saturday, August 18, the center hosted its fourth concert of the series with three singer/songwriters performing. Angel Collins, a local writer, hosted the event and asked questions of the performers. Her first question inquired about the earliest song each artist had written.
Megg Serrano told the story of a song she had written and performed for her little brother when their parents were going through a divorce. The family lived on a ranch at the time and after her parents’ announcement she and her brother sat together looking out the window at the stars. He was in her lap when he looked up at her and asked her to play a song for him. In that moment, she wrote a song, probably for herself as much as for her brother, about being thankful to God even during times of struggle.
“This was my first time doing this, and I actually really liked it,” explained Serrano, after the show. “At first I was really nervous because I wasn’t really quite sure what she was going to ask, and I actually didn’t play the songs I was expecting to play because she brought up other ones and old ones. I definitely liked hearing the stories from other people and getting to know why they write.”
Baxter James, who performs with the Macon band Gringo Grande, and Lucas Woodgeard, a local songwriter, youth pastor and music producer, also performed. Throughout the night all three musicians told stories. Some were funny, some emotional.
James talked about a friend who had passed away in a drunk driving accident and performed a song he had written for that friend. He also told stories about songs written out of frustration and about songwriters he admires.
Woodgeard played several songs reflective of his spirituality. He told stories about how his life had been changed by his faith. He even took the bold move to write and perform a song on the spot. Quite an impressive feat for even the most seasoned of musicians.
“For me as a writer, I love hearing stories about things, and I especially love understanding where a song comes from,” said Collins, who has hosted three of the concerts. “It’s really nice to hear the story behind it, and I think the audience gets the same feeling.”
Melissa Macker summed up the evening saying, “I love Stories and Songs because you never know what to expect. It’s something different every time and it’s really inspiring to get to know the hearts of the songwriters.”
The next concert in the series will be September 15 featuring Lauren LaPointe, Savannah Cameron and Timothy Walker.
The 567 Center for Renewal: 533 Cherry St., Macon; 478-238-6051; www.the567.org