Music seen at Stone Mountain Arts Center, February 8
The directions to Stone Mountain Arts Center are an entertainment in themselves, reading “Some of these roads may have signs, some may not.” Located on the way-back roads of Brownfield, SMAC is a destination worth getting lost to find. Owners Jeff and Carol Noonan have converted an old timber-frame barn into a cozy, 200-seat venue deep in the woods. Exposed beams, salt-filled Mason jars with votives on each table, and hand-painted signs add plentiful character, but the real eye-catcher is the stage, backed by windows and tree motifs reaching nearly to the top of the thirty-foot cathedral ceiling.
After an excellent pre-show dinner, returning artist and Iowa native Susan Werner (and backup player Trina Hammond) owned the stage and its impeccable acoustics. With the humor of a folk Peaches, the stylings of an Indigo Girl, and the presence and vocal strength of Melissa Etheridge, Werner presented her endearing “hymns for the spiritually ambivalent.” She sang improvisational songs about converting vintage cars to hybrids, and turned familiar show tunes into pro-Obama ditties, transitioning between piano and guitar, and gospel vibrato and standard folk styles with control.
I did wonder if her in-your-face, agnostic liberal stance might be too much for the mostly over-40 crowd that was there more for the venue than for Werner, but we couldn’t help enjoying ourselves, given the effort to get there on a snowy February evening.
Also, look for a review of the February 25 Black Mountain/Bon Iver concert at SPACE Gallery at thePhoenix.com/AboutTown
: Live Reviews
, Culture and Lifestyle, Cars and Car Design, Carol Noonan, More