Why You Should “Listen Local” to Huntsville Songwriters
If you’re going to visit Huntsville, you’re going to want to enjoy the local flavors, and music is no exception. One great way to do that is with Listen Local Huntsville, a showcase for area songwriters.
You can find information about upcoming shows at the Listen Local Huntsville website or on their Facebook page ; the next show, on February 16, will feature Grammy Award winner Gary Nichols, Russell Mefford and Tim Tucker.
Below, host Alan Little answered some questions about the origins and goals of Listen Local Huntsville.
iHeartHsv: How’d this get started? What made you want to do this?
Little: Initially, I just wanted to have a singular songwriter’s event with friends of mine that were good songwriters in Huntsville. I started with the ones I looked up to most since I started playing music in town at 15 years old: Jim Cavender, Microwave Dave and Charlie Howell. The idea for me was very personal for me as first and I saw this first show as almost a pilot and something that would force me to start focusing on songwriting again.
From an organizational sense, Evan Billiter, who was also a co-founder (and original host of Listen Local Huntsville before going full time as president of the Microwave Dave Musical Education Foundation), John and I knew we had something. John ran with the business side and operationalized and legitimized our vision of growth. He took us from being an event to becoming a movement. Driving us at our core was the original music that fueled our perspective youths and love for this town. And in that passion, we formalized our vision to support, promote and showcase the phenomenal musical talent of North Alabama. With so many talented local singer-songwriters locally, Listen Local Huntsville was born to do its part to ensure that a rich musical culture is sewn into the fabric of Huntsville’s growth in the coming years.
iHeartHsv: As you started making it a reality, what was the “Hey, this is going to work” moment?
Little: Well, we really knew we had something when we sold out our third show in 9 days. We couldn’t believe it, but we delivered an awesome show over at Tangled String with Daniel Bayer, Mike Roberts and Gus Hergert.
We also had great ticket sales at the second show as well featuring Dave Anderson, Rob Aldridge and Rob Malone. The momentum and support has only continued to swell, with local businesses reaching out to sponsor and so many individuals offering their time, energy and passions as well.
iHeartHsv: What’s the biggest thing you want Listen Local Huntsville to accomplish?
Little: Right now we are focused on singer-songwriters but what we want to accomplish is embedded in our vision statement to support, promote and showcase the phenomenal musical talent of North Alabama. That leaves us a lot of exciting room for growth and we have a lot of ideas with plenty of work to do. The great news is that the sky is the limit in a town like ours.
iHeartHsv: What’s the biggest misconception about the Huntsville music scene? What would you want visitors to the city to know?
Little: There is a misconception on both sides of the table. First, for our artists, is that people around here aren’t passionate about music and able to support a healthy musical culture. And second, for our community, is that you have to go out of town to find unbelievable musical talent or wait for a concert at the concert hall or arena.
Both are completely incorrect, but to be fair there have not been enough venues and opportunities on a scale that is equal to either the supply or the demand in order to bring them together … We plan on doing our part to change that with our long term goals for the project.
Simply, Huntsville is a special place and you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere with as much passion, intelligence, warmth, or talent. And we’re glad to have you.
Tickets to Listen Local Huntsville can be purchased here.
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David Hitt is a native of Huntsville who enjoys telling the stories of his hometown. He works in strategic communications for NASA’s Space Launch System, the rocket that will send astronauts to Mars and prove once again that nobody builds ‘em like the Rocket City. David tells Huntsville history stories at the Huntsville Ghost Walk, Constitution Village’s downtown trolley tour, and the Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll. He’s the author of two books on space history, “Homesteading Space” and “Bold They Rise” and is the director of the Comic Science Improv comedy troupe.