When San Antone Café & Concerts closed its doors in March, a hole opened up for a good chunk of the local and touring Americana/folk singer-songwriter scene. So Melissa Ludwig — a singer-songwriter of some renown herself (Current readers selected the Melissa Ludwig Band and their recent release Now That You’re Here as local bests in the 2010 Rammy Awards) — decided to do something about it.
“I wanted to [help] fill the void and also bring another venue up to the level of [San Antone Café & Concerts],” she said, sitting at a table at the Olmos Bharmacy, the site of a new music series she will launch on September 3. “I felt like the Bharmacy was a great location because it’s in the historic district, right in the heart of the city. It is also a good, intimate, acoustic venue with great acoustics.”
The acoustic twice-a-month series will run September through December, matching local or regional artists with national acts carefully selected by Ludwig. For every scheduled date, quality is the common factor. The opening Saturday, for instance, matches Austin’s Susan Gibson (who wrote the Dixie Chicks’ hit “Wide Open Spaces” and is the former lead singer of alternative country band the Groobees) with San Antonio’s Laura Marie, winner of ourstage.com’s Lilith Local Talent Search Competition in 2010, which earned Marie a spot on the stage at the 2010 revival of the Lilith Fair tour (unfortunately for her, the tour’s Texas dates were canceled).
The Acoustic Medicine Music Series is free, and each show will be broadcast live on the internet by Radio Free Texas (radiofreetexas.org). But don’t expect any performances or jams by Ludwig — her involvement will be behind-the-scenes only.
“I’m doing this to highlight and to showcase other artists that I think are great,” she said. “We will continue to perform as a band as we always do, but we’re just not going to perform at this series.”
If you look at the full series schedule, you’ll notice that most of the performers are women, though she wasn’t necessarily planning it that way. “I don’t think that I consciously brought in a lot of women, but as a female singer-songwriter I’m kind of drawn to the female voice and I’ve seen some women singer-songwriters that I think are absolutely amazing,” she said.
“I feel like the genre is expanding a little bit too, because in order to be considered folk or Americana you don’t have to sound old timey nor bluegrassy. You can use a mandolin or fiddle if you want to, but you don’t have to.” •
Acoustic Medicine Music Series feat. Susan Gibson and Laura Marie
8pm Sat, Sep. 3
The next shows
Sept. 17 – Jess Klein/Rachel Laven
Oct. 15 – Lincoln Durham/Nicolette Good
Oct. 29 – Charlie Faye/Little Brave
Nov. 5 – Elizabeth Wills/K. Phillips
Nov. 19 – Rebecca Loebe/The Kinfolk
Dec. 3 – Noelle Hampton/Chris Taylor
Dec. 17 – Matt Harlan/Art & Lisa