Electric Arcadia an Elastic Labor of Love
Thursday, November 17, 2016
by Kevin Cummings,Messenger Staff Writer
On Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m., the American Legion Hall in Sewanee will house “An Evening of Folk, Soul and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” presented by Electric Arcadia, an artist-driven venture designed to encourage collaboration and creativity.
The concert is a melding of varied talents, said Linda Heck, musician and founder of Electric Arcadia.
“The concept of Electric Arcadia is emergent and elastic, and could grow into a non-profit musical making space with room for demonstrations and performances,” she said. “…I thought that (Sewanee) students especially might be interested in such a musical making space, where people can come together to learn about, experience and create electric, experimental or any kind of music. I love all kinds of music, and most especially the blurring together of genres — or obliterating the idea of genre entirely.”
Proceeds from the show will help produce an EP by “Wet Bar,” which consists of Heck on guitar, Thomas Macfie on vocals and guitar, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee student Alex Lipscomb on bass, seminarian Tom Adamson on cello, and Lahna Deering on vocals and percussions.
The group’s members will also perform solo sets in addition to other collaborations. Macfie, a poet and journalist when he’s not making music, said Wet Bar carries a spirit of experimentation, mutual support and therapy.
“I’ve always been I think secretly interested in writing more Americana influenced music, some way to explore myself as a Southerner. But I really needed Linda’s help,” he said. “…And as others became involved, the project really manifested, really became a free and open space for mutual creativity and help. I feel truly blessed by these four people; there is a real familial feel, a real sense of love.”
People who listen to the EP may hear the influences of groups such as Silver Jews and Uncle Tupelo, Macfie said, adding that he’s also heavily influenced by musician friends around the country. Wet Bar recorded the music for “Promise” in Sewanee and Memphis, where Deering lives and performs with her regular band, Deering and Down.
Deering, who is making her second trek to Sewanee, describes her sound as “sexy music.”
“It’s more for a joke, but not really,” she said. “It’s kind of a groove. It’s gonna be a magical evening, I know it. I’m just looking forward to seeing all the beautiful people there.”
Deering praised Heck’s efforts to increase musical opportunities. If Electric Arcadia does expand to include a music-making space, Heck said the program could include “episodic rock camps,” similar to Youth Empowerment Through Arts and Humanities, Inc., which hosts rock band camps in Nashville and Murfreesboro.
“I’m most interested in combining or juxtaposing existing energies, and have been networking here and in Memphis, Nashville and Murfreesboro,” Heck said. “‘Rock On the Rock’ is one hypothetical program sharing the art of rock, and would give folks tools to collaborate, play and explore, whether they consider themselves musicians or not —whether for stress relief and just plain fun, or as a way for people to connect, maybe even as a team-building exercise.”
Macfie, who grew up in Sewanee, said he would like to see Heck’s vision come to fruition.
“It’s a tough place to grow up in and be interested in rock and roll—there’s just no one to play with—but an all-ages space could unite that energy, stoke people’s creative passions. I believe that would have so many social and therapeutic benefits to the community,” Macfie said. “It’s helped me; I would love to share that ministry.”
Admission is $5 at the door and advance tickets can be purchased at <Eventbrite.com> by searching “Electric Arcadia.” Concert goers are asked to bring their own beverages.