By the sound of applause, the Red Light Music Series received a green light during its fifth performance Jan. 15 at Dickie Doo Bar-B-Que.
Founder James Bryant, of Sedalia, combined emerging talent with veteran musicians to create an entertaining, versatile evening of music.
“What we focus on is original music, not cover songs,” Bryant said. “And what’s cool about this, starting in December, I started to get more and more (entertainers) by word of mouth.”
And true to form, the first performer, Larry Young, of Warsaw, who performs as Vagabond, sang and played four original pieces, such as “Caverns,” “Dimensions” and “Without You.” Singing with an acoustic guitar and with a smooth, easy voice, Vagabond’s poetic lyrics caught the listeners’ attention with words such as “Watching the rain pour down without you, I think I’m losing my mind,” from “Without You,” to “We will always try to make fire from the ashes we spill,” from “Dimensions.”
After performing Young discussed his musical influences.
“Well, I’m influenced by so many different artists,” 24-year-old Young said. “It’s so hard to put a finger on it, on what I am, you know. I want to go for just something very soothing. I’m influenced by The Beatles, James Taylor, and some more modern artists Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Death Cab for Cutie, all kinds of artists, Nora Jones. I actually almost did a Nora Jones cover at the end, “Sunrise,” I almost did that one.
“I’ve been trying to do this for years and getting past myself, the second song in the set, “Dimensions,” talks about we hold for a greater vision that waits inside of us, but we have to get past our self. This is my first time getting out and doing my originals, but I’ve actually been writing songs since I was 15-years-old and I’ve been wanting to do this project really bad for a long time. And I’m just now getting out to do it.”
Bryant said he was impressed with Young and plans to have him return for future venues.
“I’d like to have him back for a much longer set,” he added.
Taking the stage after Vagabond were Luehrman, Shaffer and Check, composed of Mick Luehrman, Tony Shaffer and John Check, all of Warrensburg and instructors at the University of Central Missouri. The trio has been together for years and plays an assortment of instruments.
Shaffer often plays the electric guitar plus Dobro, harmonica, mandolin, banjo and ukulele. He also plays the pedal steel guitar and guitar for Leroy Van Dyke’s group, “The Auctioneers.” Check plays the electric upright bass, sousaphone, trombone and clarinet, while Luehrman sings and plays acoustic guitar, slide guitar, mandolin and cornet.
Their style ranges from blues and country, to jazz and Americana. Their original pieces are also quite entertaining, such as “It’s a Garden.” With lyrics about a serial killer, with some tongue and cheek, (no pun intended) it’s somewhat like a Stephen king novel — dark and evil, but bringing a twisted smile to your face.
“There’s a garden out back of the barn, don’t dig there or you could come to great harm, you might find a leg or an arm…”
The songs ends with, “There’s a stranger who lives in my mirror…”
They also played the bluesy “Sins of the Father,” beginning with Cain and Able and running to modern day father/son parallels — “Oh, my Lord, what have I done, the sins of the father are gonna follow the son…”
The last act for the evening was Bluestem, a group hailing from Windsor, that performs with a country-rock flavor. The group sings both original and cover songs, Bryant said. They are influenced by Alan Jackson, ACDC and All Time Low.
Bryant said the Red Light Music Series will perform once a month on Wednesdays. Although the date may change, it will always be toward the first part of the month and will always be at Dickie Doo. And, it is his hope to eventually have nationally recognized entertainers perform during Red Light.
“The Red Light Music Series is a nonprofit organization,” Bryant said in a recent email to the Democrat. “It’s my hope that others will step forward and help support what we’re doing here in Sedalia. I would love to start bringing in nationally recognized acts to perform at the Red Light Music Series out at Dickie Doo. We’re also looking for a videographer to fill in for Bob Milner when he isn’t available to film the event.”
Bryant also added that Leland Anderson, formerly of the late 1990s band Phidget, of Warrensburg, recently donated funds to have Red Light Music Series T-shirts made that will be ready in time for the February event.
For additional information on the series, contact James Bryant at 553-4572 or visit the website, oicstudios.com.