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Local music & more for the holidays

Local Music

Tis the season. The season for family, big meals, presents and celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas. Children are wide eyed and anticipating the arrival of Ole St Nick. College students are home for two weeks. Streets are lighted and bands are marching in parades and choirs are singing concerts. It’s a busy time.

Especially, it's a time for music.

Old music, like what a group of local musicians recorded a few years ago on our little corner of the earth. Thirteen Christmas songs, thirteen artists. It was a very successful album project entitled A Brookhaven Christmas. It was a fun project that actually sold out, a rarity. Songs were provided by songwriters who had a connection to Brookhaven. The project was spear-headed by Don Jacobs and Tyler Bridge. There are some great songs on it. Look for it on your streaming services.

Our friend Blake Scafidel also offers music on an old album that he offers as a cure for the Christmas chaos. Look for it, too.

There's new music for the holidays, too.

Local singer/songwriter Montana Wise Beeson is as clever as she is talented and sometimes has a quirky look at things, asking “Why are there no songs for Thanksgiving? Every other holiday has songs.” Answering that question, she went to work writing a song for Thanksgiving, and with the help of her producer Tyler Bridge, recorded it. It is great. There’s a touch of patsy Cline with a Montana twist. This is not her first recording project having recorded two previous albums -- Finding Me followed by Finding My Way. Check out Montana Beeson on all streaming services.

Beeson is a multi-instrumentalist who plays piano in church and occasionally guitar, a mother and wife, which limits her time. Beeson she also finds time to paint, mainly on pieces of wood from her husband’s scraps. “I’ve been painting for two years, mostly representing the seasons,” she says.

Rona Barrett Herring, another local, also has new music coming out too -- a new album, The Old Church House, an album of Christian music, all original. Her current album, Lost John Road, has sold out with more albums order. “That was a shock,” she says.. Herring teaches violin at Downtown Music Academy. “And fiddle," she adds.

Herring plays live more than just about any person I know. Over the last two years she has developed relationships with rooms in Natchez, Hattiesburg and the newest venue in our area-- River Bend House of Brews in Monticello. “I’ve been pretty busy," she says. "It’s good. I like it. Sometimes my husband goes with me, and that's nice.” Look for Rona Barrett Herring on streaming services.

JF Oakes’ soundtrack from his movie The Band Forgettable will drop as soon as the movie releases. It’s special, if you like good ole southern rock.

Beyond the musicians, it looks like our friends in Natchez have hit a couple home runs with the Hollywood film industry. Hallmark filmed one of their new Christmas movies there -- Every Time a Bell Rings, and another film is in the works there right now. Every Time a Bell Rings is streaming now. Don’t forget the live Nativity Scene at New Sight Baptist Church.

Until next time, support the arts. Merry Christmas.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Shaw Furlow is a local composer, musician and arts promoter. He produces an internet-based video show -- From the Shadyside -- that spotlights area musical talent and is a consultant to school bands in the region.

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