Overbrook Songwriters Festival ‘good for your soul’

Published 4:00 pm Sunday, July 31, 2022

Thirty performers are on the slate for the third annual Overbrook Songwriters Festival, Aug. 5-6.

The festival is the brainchild of Brookhaven musician Shaw Furlow, a songwriter himself.

“I went to and played at a songwriter’s festival in Baton Rouge, and I made a lot of connections down there,” Furlow said. “I met a lot of these songwriters.”

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The festival had multiple venues and artists, but they were allowed only three songs each, and had to pay to play. Furlow returned to Brookhaven with an idea to do something similar.

“We have the venues here. When I went and asked the restaurant owners, every one of them said, ‘Heck, yeah, let’s do this,’” Furlow said. “I’ve got a list of folks who want to do this show. And we pay these performers. Most of these songwriter venues, either you pay to play, or you don’t pay but you don’t get paid, either. We give them 80-minute sets, 2 people on stages at a time, and they get plenty of songs in.”

About half of this year’s lineup consists of musicians who have been part of the festival before, while the rest are new.

“I think we’ve got four states represented, and one guy and his wife who live in a camper and travel the whole country,” said Furlow.

The festival begins Friday night, Aug. 5, with a free show at Recess 101, with a lot of local favorites. Concertgoers at Brookstock were disappointed Brookhaven native Bryan Batson was unable to attend due to a bout with COVID-19, but will be glad to know he is planning to perform at this show.

Performances will continue Saturday beginning at noon. Tortilla Soup and Georgia Blue will host musicians 12-6 p.m. Betty’s Eat Shop will have a short show at 2 p.m., then kick off again at 9 p.m. on the patio.

“That’s going to be a really good show with Cody Dunaway, Gabriel Bass and everybody’s favorite Tony Norton at 9 o’clock.”

Songwriters will start playing at Magnolia Blues at 3 p.m.

The festival will wrap up with the only paid show of the weekend. Headliner Sam Mooney will play at 7 p.m. at Recess 101, with an admission fee of $10.

“Last year we had about 300 people last year and a vast majority of them were from out of town,” Furlow said. “As much as I would like for there to be a local audience, I’m tickled to death to have that many people come from out of town. They love it.”

Many of the artists will have CDs of their original music available, and the local sponsors “have been overwhelmingly supportive,” Furlow said. “And the tourism committee. Without the tourism committee, we’re nothing.”

As a one-man show, the organizer will be busy between venues making sure all is running smoothly. He’s happy about what the festival means to everyone involved.

“We provide a place for songwriters to sing and share their songs, and we provide tourism for the city, and it’s just good for your soul, man.”

This year’s lineup includes: Sam Mooney, Nancy Bryant Roppolo, The Beach Bums, Tommy Ike Hailey, Barry Chauvin, Keith Harelson, John West, Susan Aysen, Gabriel Bass, R.T. Hall, Eric Stracener, Bill Romano, Cody Dunaway, Shelby Martin Anderson, Mary Alice Vanderwaters, Steve Judice, Doc and Katie, Eric Woods, Brown Barnes Band, Tyler Bridge, Charlie and Libby Hewitt, Rick Adams, Bryan Batson, Rona Barrett, Mike Stone, Montana Beeson, Tony Norton, Guy Pucheu and Mike J. Case.