From the primordial hearth to state-of-the-art studios, the strange power of storytelling through music heals, sustains and connects us. In celebration of that foundational urge—to share experiences, inspire empathy and illicit pure emotion—comes Songs, Stories and Gas Money, the latest enterprise of local artist, activist and musician Stilson Greene and acclaimed songwriter and guitarist Don Chapman. Poised for its inaugural show Saturday, Nov. 14, the event will provide a platform for accomplished musicians to showcase their best songs and share the tales that served as their inspiration.
A Simple Plan
“[We want] to have a venue and an audience that respects the artist as an artist,” Greene said of the series. “This will be a listening-room concert—there will be no talking during the show… So many people love the winery setting with live music and that’s a wonderful thing and an economic shot, not only to the venue, but also to the county and importantly to the musicians. But, some listeners become frustrated due to the natural social nature of the venue. [Songs, Stories and Gas Money] is about the songs and the person behind the songs, showcased in a beautiful, hushed setting.”
It’s difficult to think of a better musician to christen this intimate environment than Todd Wright. The Ashburn-based singer-songwriter and father is known to pepper all his sets with witty banter and endearing stories, as anyone who has caught one of his many Acoustic on the Green gigs or the annual Jingle Jam can attest. Certainly the pensive atmosphere of Songs, Stories and Gas Money will only enhance Wright’s charisma and, one can hope, coax yet more details about his creative process.
“I can’t speak for the other artists but I’m sure I’ll talk about my dogs and my child a lot,” Wright confessed. “Most of the songs I write are with other writers and artists and usually in some far-off place, so it’s always fun to get to tell people where these things come from.”
The concert series also plays well into Wright’s relatively new talent incubator, HalfKing Publishing, located in the heart of downtown Leesburg. In partnership with Music Planet Radio’s Cerphe Colwell, HalfKing offers support, guidance and infrastructure for burgeoning musicians to hone their craft.
“Part of what we are doing at HalfKing is creating a [Nashville] Music Row-type vibe off the beaten path,” Wright said. “Our space is set up for writers to come in from all over the world and spend some time in Leesburg taking in the history and getting to know its ghosts and then, hopefully, pouring all that into a song. So, to have a singer-songwriter series that gives touring writers a great place to play on top of all that seems magical to me.”
Greene and Chapman are taking it slow, this being their second foray into managing a music series and venue.
“We did a similar series at Shoe’s [Cup and Cork in downtown Leesburg] last year but it wasn’t feasible to go back,” Greene said. “The Barns [at Hamilton Station] is a stunning venue both visually and acoustically, and they’ve bought into our concept.”
To start, Songs, Stories and Gas Money is slated for five dates, beginning with Wright’s set this weekend and continuing next in 2016—Greene says those specific dates should be announced within the next week.
“We hope this concept finds an audience in Loudoun—the listening room vibe and smaller venue is one of the few ways to attract some elite singer-songwriters here,” Greene said. “The Tally Ho has been a game changer as far as bringing great music to a large venue in Loudoun, and we can only hope to follow up on that success with the acoustic singer-songwriter genre. The future of Songs, Stories and Gas Money clearly lies in the public’s hand.”
Stay tuned for additional show dates and, in the meantime, join Wright’s musical circle of sharing beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at The Barns at Hamilton Station. Tickets are set at $15 per person with light fare and wine available for purchase. For additional venue details, go to thebarnsathamiltonstation.com.
Contact Samantha Bartram at firstname.lastname@example.org.