Sally Barris & The Birmingham Boys come to Bama Theatre for Acoustic NightBy Aaron Bonner | 06/23/2016 9:52am
The lights at the bar dim and the strumming of an acoustic guitar rings out. While it may not be the biggest stage, the Greensboro Room at the Bama Theatre offers musicians a chance to show Tuscaloosa their skills.
The Bama Theatre will host Sally Barris & The Birmingham Boys this Friday night as part of their Acoustic Night series. Sally Barris is a singer-songwriter from Nashville. Along with writing music, Barris is a touring artist, promoting her newest album, “The Road In Me.” Her songs have been recorded and performed by artists such as Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack.
“I came to Nashville when Hal Ketchum and Lyle Lovett were there and then I kind of watched the pendulum swing,” Barris said. "It got more country and then it got more pop. I’ve seen a lot of changes.”
Growing up in Minnesota, Barris took inspiration from her surroundings and the music she listened to as a child. She said that her music blends bluegrass and Celtic influences into an Americana sound.
Mixing acoustic guitars, mandolins and harmonizing lyrics, she makes each song and the story behind it flow together. Barris grew up listening to artists such as James Taylor and Jackson Brown, which influenced her work.
“What I love about those songs is the stories,” Barris said. "They're real life stories that people were going through and that’s what I love about country music too is that there are stories in the songs. That’s just always driven me as a writer is to tell stories, whether it’s to tell my own story or someone else’s story.”
Acoustic Night is a recurring event in the Greensboro Room, with Barris’ appearance being the second this month. The unplugged shows have been going on for more than ten years. Started by Alyson Greenfield, who is now a touring musician, the Greensboro Room has seen both local and international artists come through for performances.
“[Greenfield] was in a creative writing program about 10 years ago and she came to me one night and asked if we ever had music in the bar and I said “well, we’ve done it before” and she asked ‘could I try it?’ and I said sure,” said David Allgood, manager of the Bama Theatre.
Allgood said that Acoustic Nights, while varying in length, are intimate experiences in a listening room featuring a bar where the bands are put on display.
“People love coming,” Allgood said. “The artists like it because it’s not a bar where they’re playing and people are ignoring them.”
Allgood said that Sally Barris & The Birmingham Boys would be “something a little different” in the Acoustic Night series, which hasn’t recently seen a bluegrass act perform.
“I tour solo a lot but then I also tour sometimes with Jason Bailey and Chas Williams and it’s just a really lovely night of acoustic music and harmonies,” Barris said. “If people like Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek, they will love this show.”
She and The Birmingham Boys will be at the Bama Theatre on June 24th at 7:30 p.m. There is a $10 cover charge.
The previous version of this article listed Sally Barris and The Birmingham Boys coming in July instead of June. The Crimson White regrets the error.