The Illuminating Autism FUNraiser at Pirate’s Cove is an annual event that attracts hundreds of people to this waterside establishment. Those in attendance not only get to help raise money for the non-profit High Hopes 4 Autism, but they also get to enjoy a variety of musical acts.

On Saturday, singer/songwriter/guitarist Guthrie Trapp will return home to perform with a number of bands scheduled to appear. A Lillian native, Trapp is one of the busiest musicians in Nashville.

His hard work has paid off in the form of a sponsorship from D’Addario Strings and a spotlight in Rolling Stone magazine. Trapp gave Lagniappe a little insight into the Nashville scene as well as his current goals.

Music Feature Guthrie Trapp

SC: Rolling Stone is such an iconic musical institution. How does it to get the coverage that you have?
GT: I think it was awesome! I was completely thrilled when I got that news. D’Addario had a lot to do with that. They helped me get in touch with those guys, and they wanted to do this thing called “Young Guns,” where they profile a different person each month. So, I was the first one that they did, and I was thrilled. I was completely flattered and blown away that I would have a chance to do something like that.

SC: With this great coverage, have any opportunities come to light?
GT: It’s just the obvious. It’s great exposure. Every little thing like that helps for building your résumé and press. It’s things that people like to look at and say, “Oh, this guy has done this and that.” It’s something great to add to the list of great things that have happened in your life. I don’t believe in a lot of the hype of the press, but it certainly helps to add to that list of things. It’s also great to have the validation as a musician. It’s worth a lot. I don’t have a college diploma that says, “Hey, my name is Guthrie, and I play guitar.” It doesn’t work like that in the music industry. D’Addario thought enough of me to say, “Hey, call Guthrie, and let’s do something with him. He’s a younger guy and actually doing some songs.” I was honored and thrilled to be a part of that and work with all the companies that I have worked with.

SC: What made you choose Nashville? What was it about that town that led you there?
GT: The thing that did it was the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival that was going on strong when I was in my teenage years on the Gulf Coast. I was going out to the Flora-Bama and sitting in a lot. Then, Frank Brown Festival would come around, and I would sit in with different players. I played with Gove Scrivenor a lot back then and Nick Branch & the Filthy Rich. So, I got to know and meet all those songwriters and did all the late night guitar sessions at the beach house until seven in the morning. I had a direct vein to Nashville. All of that was instilled into me when I was a kid. When I was in my early 20s, the obvious choice was to move to Nashville. I knew some people here already and some guys that were doing really great here like Carl Jackson. Some guys who were really big producers up here at the time told me that I should think about moving to Nashville, and I did.
I’ve been up here about 11 or 12 years, and everything has been going great. I’ve been playing on a lot of records. I’ve spent enough time here to where I know everybody in town. I play with a bunch of different artists here. I’ve got the reputation as the go-to guy for roots music and more soulful pop music like John Oates, Ashley Monroe and Shawn Camp. I’ve got my band 18 South and my trio is T.A.R. (Trapp, Abbott & Rhodes), which is myself, Pete Abbott and Michael Rhodes. We do a lot of stuff for D’Addario and Fender. We’re working on record and did the Key West Songwriters Festival, where we were the house band. I did some stuff with Jason White, who is this great songwriter in Nashville, and a new and up-and-coming band called The Muddy Magnolias.
I’ve done stuff for BMI, and all kinds of random stuff. I try to keep a lot of different irons in the fire and keep my record sales going online. I did a signature overdrive pedal with Rockett Pedals. I do some Skype lessons for people all over the world and teach guitars at Carter Vintage Guitars. I’m working on another record that I plan on getting out this year, and I want to do a live DVD with T.A.R.

SC: I don’t know about everywhere else, but Mobile has been inundated by Nashville bands over the past few years. Before that, it was Austin. As someone in the midst of the Nashville scene, why do you think there has been such a flux of bands out of Nashville these days?
GT: There’s just so many damn people living here now. Everybody and their brother is moving here, from Robert Plant to Jack White. Actors are buying houses here. I think Jack Nicholson has a condo downtown. Everybody is finding out about Nashville. It’s on the top five of the fastest growing cities in America. The best musicians in the world are living here and recording here every day. People are realizing that they can move here and buy a house three times the size of a house in California and still put a couple of hundred grand in the bank. People are realizing that it’s a great place for music and to raise a family. Traffic isn’t that bad. The word is out about Nashville. There are good musicians moving here from all over the world. There’s a huge indie rock scene here that’s bigger than Brooklyn, NY. There’s just so many more people here, and there are kids here playing their asses off.

SC: I was listening to “Pick Peace” the other day. It’s such a great collection of songs. You touch on so many genres, and there is still cohesion there, which is hard to do. For you, what makes a good song?
GT: Two things right off the bat would be a really good groove and a really good melody. You might be able to get away with a good groove if you don’t have a good melody. You could be experimenting and jamming with jazz or something like that, and as long as you have a good groove, people are going to start tapping their foot to it and start moving around. There are a few things on my record that have a weird time signature, but it still has a groove. It has to have a good groove and accessible to the public, without being too acid jazz oriented. When I hear music, I want to hear a really good groove or a good melody or one of the two. Those are the two most important things.

SC: What’s it like coming back to places like Pirate’s Cove?
GT: I love going to Pirate’s Cove. It’s maintained its charm, but it’s grown, too. Thing grow, and I get it. I love getting down there, and I wish I could get down there more often. I miss the slower pace down there.

Illuminating Autism FUNraiser
Date: June 6-8
Venue: Pirate’s Cove, 6600 Hwy. 95 in Elberta,
Tickets: $10 daily admission