Band: The Blueberry Sessions presents Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer
Date: Thursday, Nov. 2, with gates at 5 p.m.
Venue: Weeks Bay Plantation, 12562 Mary Ann Beach Road (Fairhope), www.weeksbayplantation.com
Tickets: $30 general admission/$65 VIP, available through Ticket Stripe
Many are lamenting predictions of a warmer-than-usual winter, but considering the Gulf Coast’s subtropical climate, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The possibly cool, sometimes warm nights could provide a perfect opportunity to visit Weeks Bay Plantation for the next installment of the Blueberry Sessions.
While organic blueberry farming takes precedence, Weeks Bay Plantation also enjoys filling its acres with live music and people who love it. Out-of-town parties have attempted to hold similar musical events, but now locals who know the area best are creating a series of live events that take a more casual and intimate approach in an expansive natural environment.
Blueberry Sessions organizer/creator Heather Hudson hopes the public will see this concert series as a chance to experience artists who rarely visit the area in a beautiful natural environment. She also wants the Blueberry Sessions to establish a reputation for showing the crowd a good time, even if the show features a lesser-known artist that meets Hudson’s criteria. Following the first Blueberry Session, which featured singer-songwriter Charlie Mars, Hudson has a positive outlook for the future of this concert series and its aural formula.
“Everyone that comes says it’s just a magical environment out there,” Hudson said. “One of the things we have to offer is a very casual atmosphere, but it’s also very Eastern Shore because it’s a friendly group of people who love music and getting out in the outdoors and supporting this venture. The location is really magical. We have this old reclaimed barn and string lights, and it has really good energy.”
Hudson says the Blueberry Sessions will also feature amenities to make the events more than just concerts, and hopes the public will make an evening out of it. The Blueberry Sessions will feature food trucks and a full-service bar. The series will also feature a VIP option that includes preferred parking and seating as well as a private bar and lounge. Hudson hopes to package all this under the night sky, which has also been considered.
“Last time, we were lucky enough to have a full moon. The ways these are timed, there should always be a good moon.”
Hudson says these first Blueberry Sessions will serve as a litmus test for future installments. If the first round of shows is well received, they will return in the spring, she says. Hudson hopes the sessions will evolve into a series of live music experiences that culminate with a larger event that coincides with blueberry season at Weeks Bay Plantation. However, Hudson is not quite ready to commit to future events until the current round of sessions are complete.
“It’s been so far, so good,” she said. “As far as artists, we have some in mind but haven’t made any decisions. If things keep going the way it’s going, I don’t see why we won’t be announcing some dates and names in the near future.”
The session scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2 will feature South Alabama divas/sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer. These Monroeville natives respectively celebrate extensive careers and catalogs in alt. country, and now are combining their talents and sisterly chemistry for a very special musical collaboration.
The pair has been touring in support of “Not Dark Yet,” their first studio album together. Considering the ethereal harmonies and unique arrangements that highlight this album, one might wonder why Lynne and Moorer waited so long to record their combined talents. Moorer says it was just a matter of finding the time
“We both obviously have had a lot of activity in our careers over the years, and it’s something that we both wanted to do,” Moorer explained. “We’re both big believers in timing. Finally the time was right. That’s all I can say. We made room for it, and we both felt like we were in a place to do it. So, it happened.”
Timing also played a part in the musical concept for this album. Their heavy respective schedules did not allow time to write an entire album’s worth of original material. Instead, Moorer says she and Lynne decided there were plenty of songs out there already written that they “could do justice to.” With this in mind, “Not Dark Yet” is dominated by covers with one original in the mix. Even so, Moorer says the selected songs were personal.
“We wanted to make a record with a beginning, a middle and an end and tell a story,” Moorer said. “We wanted to give a representation of who we are and where we are.”
The duo selected favorites such as “Every Time You Leave” (The Louvin Brothers) and “Silver Wings” (Merle Haggard), songs they sang together growing up in Monroeville. Their relatively eclectic Americana treatments of more modern songs such as “Lithium” (Nirvana) and “Into My Arms” (Nick Cave) represent the present. “Is It Too Much” represents the present and future of this project. This song began as one of Lynne’s that she had been “kicking around.” She brought it to Moorer, who added a bridge and completed the song.
For those thinking this album might be the only collaborative effort between these talented sisters, Moorer says she and her sister are not ready to “do it once and hang it up.” Moorer says they have been busy writing songs for an original follow-up to “Not Dark Yet.” She says their desire to continue forward is not based solely upon the music. Their sisterly bond also plays a major role in their persistence to work together.
“We’re having so much fun just being together and doing dates together,” Moorer said. “It gives a chance to be together as sisters. I think, for both of us, there’s no place else more comfortable on stage than with each other. We’ve been singing together all our lives. So, we are definitely going to keep it going.”