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WEEK OF JANUARY 8-15

Arts & Entertainment art, film, music, stage, books and other signs of civilization...

RadioLive Returns by Jennifer Leigh

Jim McCormick / press photo

Not all radio shows are exciting live onstage. But WUWF’s long-running music program, RadioLive is not like all radio shows. Bringing singer-songwriters from all over to Pensacola’s Historic Village, RadioLive is bringing in the New Year with some new tunes. The first show of the year will feature four New Orleans-based performing songwriters. Separately, each of the musicians have longstanding careers working with some of the most well-known performers in the country. Together they call themselves the Write Brothers with their 2014 album “First Flight.” “The Write Brothers are a great bunch of guys,” said Jim McCormick, one of the musicians that make up the Write Brothers. “They're pals whose work I love, and I wanted to hang out with them more, so we put this thing together.” McCormick’s own musical resume includes recordings by country performers such as Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Trisha Yearwood. On top of performing and writing, he is an adjunct professor in music business for both Belmont University in Nashville and Loyola University in New Orleans. But when you ask him what profession he steers toward most, it is writing. January 8, 2015

Spencer Bohren photo by Brenda Ladd

“I consider myself both [a performer and songwriter] of course, but the lion’s share of my focus is on writing for others these days,” he said. Like others, McCormick began writing songs at an early age. Poetry was his form of writing before he started putting music to his words. “I guess the first songs I wrote were really just me making things up as a child, not writing them down, but imagining them as my own creations,” he said. “I got into it in high school when I joined a band as the singer and we started wanting to play our own originals, alongside all the Cream and Steve Miller we were doing. They'd be about almost anything—crushes on girls, a creek in Mississippi where we used to go camp and lots of nonsense stuff. “But honestly, I just love a great song, and more often than not the greatest songs are the simplest.” Another Write Brother, Spencer Bohren, has 50 years of songwriting under his belt. He wrote his first song at the age of 15. “I was raised in one of those gospel families,” he said. “It was like living in a musical, except the only subject was God.” As Bohren grew up, he looked for different music and came across some folk

“We gathered when we could around my kitchen table and would write a new song in an hour,” Bohren said. “It was like making a pot of stew or a special musical gumbo. When we had enough, we went to the studio and made a record.” Each of the four songwriters brought their unique perspective to “First Flight,” which yielded some interesting results. “There’s a wide variety of subject matter—there’s enough to include just about everybody’s likes and influences,” Bohren said. “It's really pretty amazing what happens when you try something you've never done before—all kinds of little joys and brilliant moments start cropping up in your writing and in your life,” McCormick said. At this month’s RadioLive, you can see some of those songs come to life as the Write Brothers perform while each brother sprinkles in each of original songs through the set list. But there is no telling exactly what you will get to listen to. “I never really think about it,” Bohren said. “I walk on stage without a set list. I have thousands of songs in my head. I usually just take it easy and this kind of magic happens.” Although songwriters usually exist behind the scenes of hit records, they do enjoy the limelight every once in a while, which is why Bohren and McCormick regularly tour. “I love the fact that there’s this conduit that opens up between the audience and me,” he said. “I open my heart and they do the same thing. I love the audience—they give me what it takes, they make it happen.” {in}

“I love the fact that there’s this conduit that opens up between the audience and me. I open my heart and they do the same thing.” Spencer Bohren

music on the radio. He began listening to artists such as Buell Kazee, Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell. “There was an endless list of musicians,” Bohren said of discovering the folk scene. “When you start studying, you find they all meet somewhere.” Although it wasn’t a stretch from his upbringing, Bohren started his musical career and doesn’t see an end in sight. “I don’t think it is something you choose,” he said. “The trouble WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8 starts when you try something else. WHERE: Museum of Commerce, 205 E. ZarThere’s never been any question— ragossa St. I’m still fascinated with it.” COST: Free with canned food donation to That fascination is what led Manna Food Pantries of NW Florida Bohren, McCormick and two other DETAILS: wuwf.org songwriters—Paul Sanchez and Alex McMurray—together.

RADIOLIVE

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Jan 8 2015 issue  
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