Acoustic Night to feature indpendent artistsBy Abbey Crain | 06/20/2012 12:32am
The Bama Theatre’s Acoustic Night will feature performances by Walter Parks and the Swamp Cabbage and Sparrow and the Ghost tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Tuscaloosa’s Arts Council hosts Acoustic Nights throughout the year, highlighting singers and songwriters from all over the country. For $5, the Tuscaloosa community can enjoy original music in the Greensboro Room of the Bama Theatre, complete with a full-service bar.
Many students believe these types of music events are integral to the student community and the city of Tuscaloosa as a whole.
“It is definitely important that Tuscaloosa be the host of such events,” Jonathan Byham, a senior majoring in geography, said. “Events like this bring diversity to the community, which is important in developing an open-minded society. Yes, this city is the host of a major university that has great academics and a successful athletic department, but it could be a more well-rounded city if it had more small-scale artistic events, such as this one.”
Walter Parks, a Jacksonville, Fla. native and lead singer of Walter Parks and the Swamp Cabbage, loves to play in Tuscaloosa and said he is convinced it is the independent musicians and small businesses that define America.
“It encourages bravery and inquisitiveness to check out a band that might not be famous,” Parks said. “[Students] will find there is a bounty to be had if you put aside the paradigm that something has to be widely marketed in order for it to be widely good. It puts people back in time with American ingenuity.”
Classically trained in the viola in elementary school, Parks was soon pressured into picking up the electric guitar by his high school friends. Moving to New York to further his career, Parks discovered he could not shake his Southern musical flare. This quirky combination of influences has led him all over the world playing his swampy Southern music.
“Our main agenda is, we hope people will have a good time,” Parks said. “In the South, Southerners just let themselves go and have a good time from the hips down. We’re a hips down kind of group.”
It was Parks’ previous concert with Woodstock legend Richie Havens at the Bama Theatre that encouraged the Arts Council to invite him back with his new and revamped band Swamp Cabbage. Swamp Cabbage has just recently released their fourth album, “Drum Roll Please,” featuring ‘70s music rereleased and originally adapted to their blues/folk/rock style.
“It’s really important to have an event that’s not a major name brand name,” Parks said. “These days, everything from clothes and cars are a mass market. We are doing what we do for the spirit of the music.”
Daniel Johnson, a junior majoring in civil engineering, has been to multiple events put on by the Arts Council and believes other students should frequent the smaller venues Tuscaloosa has to offer.
“I think that events like this are great for student life,” Johnson said. “You get to get out and meet new folks and hear and see new bands/performers.”