Spartanburg’s Sunday Songwriters has become a must stop for aspiring artists
Editor’s Note: Sunday Songwriters is no longer held at Brickhouse Pizzeria, which closed last fall. Stay up to date on news from Sunday Songwriters on their Facebook page.
Jamison Smith started Sunday Songwriters for a practical reason – he and his wife needed extra cash to pay for day care for their newborn son. Now, more than 12 years later, the weekly gathering at Brickhouse Pizzeria & Grill in Spartanburg has become a must stop for local and not-so-local songwriters.
There’s no charge for aspiring performers who want to take the stage – just show up and sign up. Check in begins at 7 p.m., with open mic starting at 7:30. The evening includes a featured artist from 8:30 – 10 p.m. Featured artists have included the likes of David Ezell, Angela Easterling, Howl in the Valley, Dave Desmelik, Abbey Elmore and Fayssoux McLean, a former backup singer for Emmylou Harris.
“The idea is to get aspiring singer songwriters out and to get them comfortable performing in front of an audience,” Smith said. “A lot of people who come here for the first time have never been on stage and now a lot of them have gone on to play at other venues. Its part of their progression and growth as an artist and it’s really cool to watch.”
The Converse College performing arts program has even gotten in on the act, sending its students to Sunday Songwriters to get more comfortable with live performances.
For Brickhouse Pizzeria owner David Black, Sunday Songwriters is about being a part of the community, and, of course, serving up local craft beers and the restaurant’s legendary wings.
“We’re proud to be a part of the local music scene,” Black said. “If you’re interested in performing or listening to original music, this is the place to be on Sunday night.”
And the listening plays as big of a role as the performing, according to Smith.
“Our audiences are genuinely interested in original music and they love it when an artist tries out a new song for the first time. They clap louder,” he said.
For Smith, Sunday Songwriters is a way to fuel his passion for playing guitar and pass along his love of music to his son, Jacks. As for that newborn who was the motivation for Sunday Songwriters? He’s now playing trumpet in the middle school band and sometimes sings with his Dad on the Sunday night stage.
For monthly lineups and information on featured artists, follow Sunday Songwriters on Facebook at @BrickhouseSundaySongwriters