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Music all over Brook with Overbrook Songwriters Festival

The Overbrook Songwriters Festival is just around the corner and organizer Shaw Furlow hopes this inaugural offering will become an annual event.

The festival focuses on songwriters performing their own creations “all over Brookhaven,” Furlow said — hence the name Overbrook.

The Aug. 3 festival will feature 14 songwriters including Charlie Hewitt, Sophie Smith, Betsy Berryhill, Clayton Lee Rayborn, Gabriel Bass, Tommy Ike Hailey, JP Dove and Daniel Houze. The featured songwriter is Tricia Walker, who recently was director of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industries Studies program, until she left this spring to dive deeper into her songwriting and performing.

Walker’s songs have been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless, Kathy Troccoli and Allison Krauss, who won a Grammy for her version of the song, “Looking in the Eyes of Love,” co-written by Walker.

Walker worked as a vocalist and instrumentalist with award-winning artists Shania Twain and Paul Overstreet, along with Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith.

She founded Women in the Round, a writer’s show featuring award-winning singer/songwriters Ashley Cleveland, Karen Staley, Pam Tillis and Walker at the legendary Nashville nightspot, Bluebird Café.

Furlow said songwriter festivals are gaining in popularity and are starting to “pop up all over the world,” he said.

Three shows are free to the public, while Walker’s set at Recess 101 will have an admission charge of $5.

The festival includes a songwriters’ jam from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Downtown Music Academy. An invitation is issued to all songwriters, whether they are in the festival or not, Furlow said.

“Bring a guitar and join in,” he said.

Walker performs from 7 until 8:30 p.m. at Recess 101 and other artists will perform throughout the afternoon and evening at Betty’s Eat Shop, Magnolia Blues and GB Bakery.

Furlow invited songwriters he’s either played with or knew by reputation.

“They’re all serious songwriters,” he said.

He wanted to put the festival together because the artists who create the music and write the lyrics don’t always get the attention he feels they deserve.

“As Tricia Walker will tell you, it all begins with a song,” he said. “If you don’t have the song, you’ve got nothing. We’re celebrating the people who write the songs.”

Furlow said the only negative feedback he’s had is some concern about overlapping shows.

“I hate that people are going to have to make a choice as to where to be,” he said, but the festival is modeled after others where “There’s something going on all the time everywhere.”

Furlow is hoping that in years to come, more venues will open up and more shows will be played — many of them overlapping, as well.

Furlow wants to make sure local musicians understand the 5 p.m. songwriters jam is not limited to scheduled performers — it’s for everyone.

“It’s for everyone who wants to bring a guitar or ukulele and sing one of their own songs. We may end up with the biggest crowd of the whole day there. That’ll be fun,” he said. “If you want to get your song sung in front of some really good songwriters that’d be a good opportunity.”


Festival performance schedule

Noon at Georgia Blue Bakery: Betsy Berryhill and Sophie Smith.

2-4 p.m. at Betty’s Eat Shop: Clayton Lee Rayborn, Tommy Ike Hailey and Gabriel Bass.

2:30-4:30 p.m. at Magnolia Blues: John Paul Dove, Daniel Houze and Charlie Hewitt.

5-6:30 p.m. at Downtown Music Academy: Songwriters Jam.

7-8:30 p.m. at Recess 101: Tricia Walker.

9-11 p.m. at Betty’s Eat Shop: Cole Furlow, Jesse Coppenbarger, Reed Smith, Spencer Thomas and Cody Rogers.