Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Local label showcases talent


Six local artists are set to perform at the downtown Mellow Mushroom for the second-annual Hackberry Records fall showcase Friday at 10 p.m.

Tuscaloosa-based label Hackberry Records consists of second-time performers Callooh! Callay!, Sparrow + the Ghost and Joshua Folmar, as well as The Motions, Elias Patriot and The Brooms, who will all be making their first showcase appearance.

“[Last year’s showcase at the Bama Theatre] went really well,” said Adam Morrow, the guitarist for Callooh! Callay!. “It was a lot different dynamic than Mellow Mushroom will be this year, due to the Bama being an acoustic showcase and this will be all bands, full instrumentation, loud.”

The 2009 showcase at the Bama Theatre featured acoustic sets by Hackberry Records members to benefit the Good Samaritan Clinic, a local charity that provides healthcare to those without the means to get it otherwise.

“With the whole healthcare debate going on, we felt really strongly about [the clinic], and still do,” said Reed Watson, owner and founder of Hackberry Records. “But this year, we decided to take away the cover charge altogether and make it a free event … so that we can give anybody and everybody that’s interested a chance to come hear what we’re up to and trying to do. What I hope that it does is not only gets people interested in the art that these artists are making, but I hope that it engages and inspires people to do what they do, and do it well.”

Though all the artists share the same label, their music styles include folk-rock and blues-rock, among other styles.

The artists have also garnered national attention with The Motions and Sparrow + the Ghost performing at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, and other Hackberry artists performing all over the country.

“All of our artists have played extensively in Tuscaloosa,” Watson said. “We’re really committed to this town. We want to see the arts prevail in this town. We also take our bands all over the country. We play all kinds of festivals; we do all kind of tours with various bands. … We’ve probably covered a pretty good chunk of the United States because of live shows everywhere from South by Southwest, New York, Florida to Chicago. We’ve played all kinds of different places.”

The artists said they’re excited to play, but some of them are just as eager to hear their fellow Hackberry members.

“I’m excited to see some of the newer acts we’ve signed,” Morrow said. “The Brooms are going to be fantastic. I think they’ll blow people’s minds. They’re young guys who are extremely talented.”

The Brooms, a blues-rock trio from Tuscaloosa, has attracted the attention not only of fellow Hackberry members, but also of well-established musicians like the late blues legend Willie King. Watson described the group as being “kids only in age, because their talent is far beyond their years.”

“One thing we’re definitely serious about is that this is music we believe is viable anywhere, not just this town,” Watson said. “We believe it stands up against anything and we are committed not only to getting it to a critical mass in this town, but to a critical mass around the world, and that’s something we’re very serious about.

“We don’t act small time because we don’t want to be. The art deserves that kind of effort to me, because I think it’s that good. That is why we do showcases like this in Tuscaloosa, and that’s why in October we’ll have bands out on tour and stuff like that. That’s what we do.”

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