High On Adventure - Featuring Photojournalist Larry Turner

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Music to My Ears

Music to My Ears

The local music scene blossoms

Story by Jared Davidson

Photography by Jerry Clarkson

It's music to my ears. The banter between band members as equipment is set and minutes until show time are counted down. The energy level rising as fans young and old fill the venue with anticipation and excitement. The buzzing of the amps and flicker of the stage lights as the house lights go down. Everything around you leading up to that moment you've been waiting for…the performance.

Whether you find yourself at a theater, amphitheater, festival, venue, bar or back woods party, one thing remains a prominent constant in Southern Oregon—live music.

As the entertainment director of the Medford music venue at Howiee's On Front, I would like to thank you readers for voting Howiee’s on Front as Southern Oregon Magazine’s Best Nightlife 2014. I look forward to bringing you an even better experience in 2015. With my work I have the opportunity to experience many facets of Southern Oregon's rapidly growing music scene. There are so many incredibly talented musicians performing in our area that naming them all could fill a book, but for now we’ll just highlight a few.

As far as local talent is concerned, Southern Oregon has everything from acoustic to electronic music filling the rooms of our favorite establishments. In September of 2014 there debuted a new music and art event called Downtown Art+Sound, which hosted over 80 bands in 12 venues in a matter of two days as well as 12 artists showcasing their work. The event gained award-winning success through collaborations including, but not limited to, the Medford Arts Commission and the Metro Medford Downtown Association. In October we had the Southern Oregon Music Festival (formerly Medford Jazz Festival) in five venues with 16 bands. In November Michael Franti performed acoustically in Ashland at the Armory, and in December the Portland based Grammy nominated band Floater made their way to Medford for the first time at Howiee’s on Front. The Craterian Theater brings musical entertainment with a current schedule from December to May 2015, and Britt has an annual June through October performance schedule. Between the touring artists, the rising stars, and the local talent collaborations and competitions, music of all genres is alive and well in Southern Oregon.

If you’re a blues fan, you’ll find no shortage of regular blues jams every single week. We have the Ashland Blues Society, Downtown Blues Association and a number of blues bands circulating throughout the Rogue Valley. If jazz is your fancy, discover artists who perform regularly from Grants Pass to Ashland.

Whether you like funk, rock, Motown, alternative or indie rock, Celtic rock, reggae, pop, country, dance, or a marching band, there is a place that has what you’re looking for. The trick is always knowing how to find it.

The broad reach of social media has given artists, musicians, and fans of all genres a greater voice to be heard. I find myself on a musical scavenger hunt when diving into the world of regional music to bring into this area. A whirlwind of concerts and events are at your fingertips at a moment’s notice, ready and waiting for you to find them. Gone are the days of canvasing a parking lot or neighborhood with flyers to get people to come to your gig since, and let’s face it, chances are you’ll get better exposure on Instagram or Facebook. No matter what place music takes in your life, you can almost always find out more about it through one social media network or another. Incredible talent comes alive and artistic vision finds an audience, and that is how to stay connected.

We live in a mobile world now, where the touch of a button takes you to another place. Go and find the sensational acts that we have circulating in our area and enjoy the sounds of your favorite local artist, or discover a new artist traveling through waiting to make you a fan. We live in an area that is abundantly rich with talented musicians of all types performing, and all they want is for you to come on out and take a listen. You may just like what you hear.

Southern Oregon has hosted remarkable events for years upon years, bringing more and more musical variety to our doors, and as long as there is the continued support of music lovers out there taking the time to go and check it out, the talent will always come. As long as there is an audience, there will always be someone passionate about giving you the performance of a lifetime. 

Things are happening in Southern Oregon, and like I said earlier, it’s music to my ears.

If you would like to know more about specific venues, performances, artists, bands or topics, write to me and let me know, at:

Jared Davidson

Entertainment Director Howiee’s On Front



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