Bringing Back The Music, Live concert slated for The Haven’s stage Friday

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, July 21, 2013

     In the same theater he got his first kiss, Shaw Furlow will celebrate the release of his first CD with a concert Friday night.

     Furlow, the director of bands at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, will perform at The Haven with a band he has informally named the Wonderboys, a name that persists despite getting scathing reviews from Furlow’s son, Cole, a musician in his own right.

     “Cole said, ‘That’s absolutely the worst name for a band I’ve ever heard in my life,’ so it stuck,” Furlow joked.

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     The name is also a misnomer because one of the members, Shelley Smith, who plays the keyboard, is female. The other members of the band include Kyle Hill at drums, Tyler Bridge at bass guitar, Ricky Brown at guitar; and Cole Furlow, also at guitar.

     Shaw Furlow, who wrote all the songs but one, sang the praises of the various band members. Hill is director of bands at Pearl River Community College and holds a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

     Furlow said Bridge is everyone’s favorite local bassist.

     “Without him, I probably wouldn’t be doing this,” he said.

     Smith, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, works with Shaw at Co-Lin as Colette and color guard director.

     “She’s my right-hand ‘man,'” he said. “She’s the most talented piano player.”

     But, above all, he credited his son for the encouragement. He said one night he and his son were sitting around playing songs back and forth, and Cole looked at him and asked just how many songs he had.

     “Well, Dad, it’s time to record,” he told Furlow after hearing his response.

     Furlow identifies his music within the country and singer/songwriter genre, but he points to this band’s main difference from others.

     “You find me another country band with two Ph.D.s,” he said.

     Furlow insists though that Friday night’s event is not really about him or his band. He hopes that the concert will help push forward the steamroller of reviving music in Brookhaven that Don Jacobs’s Brookstock has created.

     Furlow and Jacobs grew up in Brookhaven around the same time, and Furlow remembers music playing such an important role at that time for people his age. There were a couple of places that were geared specifically to teenagers, and area teens would hang out, listen to music and dance.

     He stressed that it gave students in high school a chance to have fun while still being chaperoned.

     These places also gave students a chance to perform. He said in high school, he would play for $1.25 a night because he just wanted to play. He credits the thriving music culture for providing an atmosphere in which, he, Jacobs, Ed Safley and others pushed one another to become better musicians.

     Now, they are all in the music field in one way or another.

     “Without that, we might have been doctors or lawyers, productive members of society,” he joked.

     Furlow said he just wants to see live music back in Brookhaven. He believes Brookstock, which was attended by around 300 people, indicates that Brookhaven has the audience for a music scene.

     Furlow wants to get a big outdoor music festival in downtown Brookhaven. He suggested even something as simple as adding stages to the Ole Brook festival to allow for more variety.

     “We ought to have something on every street corner,” he said.

     He said he hopes his concert will give the Brookhaven Little Theatre an incentive to open its doors during the off-season for open mic nights.

     “The more people that come, the more money the Little Theatre makes and that is the most important thing because I want them to see that this is lucrative,” he said.

     The concert will cost $10 to get in, with 50 percent of all proceeds going to the Brookhaven Little Theatre organization. Furlow said the other half will go to paying the band.

     “I’m the only one not getting paid; I hope I’m the only one not getting paid,” he said.

     Furlow said his CDs will also be on sale for $10. The doors will open at 7 p.m. on Friday, and Greg Smith will open at 8 p.m., followed by the Wonderboys.