Hello, my name is Steve Centanni, and I am the music editor for this wonderfully funky periodical. As we move into a new year, I am compelled to step into first-person and write my fellow Mobilians some thoughts and reflections which are usually associated with this time of year. You see, the holiday season is typically a very hit-or-miss time for new music. In the past, I have dreaded compiling this section for the last and first issues of the year. Why?
It’s simple. Mobile tends to go through periods of feast and famine. The turn of each year usually means we’re in a famine period. The music industry likes to take a vacation just as much as we do. In the past, I have been forced to look to our neighbors on the Gulf Coast for events, because there is usually not too much going on in Mobile this time of year.
As we moved into December, my paranoia over the holiday issues was strengthened by the fact that during 2014, Lagniappe had increased production to a weekly. Basically, I was faced with the possibility that one (if not both) of the issues would be filled with musical events outside of the Mobile/Baldwin County area.
But as I began to make choices for these issues, I noticed something wonderful had happened. For the first time ever, I was able to fill these traditionally difficult issues with nothing but local events. As I reveled in the ease of the situation, I began to think about how far the local music scene has come over the past decade or so. You and I have witnessed the growth and constant evolution of the local music scene, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
When I began writing for Lagniappe, the stigma of the Mobile Municipal Auditorium’s (aka Mobile Civic Center) past kept touring artists away from the local scene. Now, there are an abundance of diverse national acts regularly touring through Mobile. We have watched venues such as Soul Kitchen, the Saenger Theater and Callaghan’s grow. In my early days with Lagniappe, there was a seemingly endless need for venues featuring local, original acts. Since, more venues have opened their stages to original acts.
BayFest used to be the only major music festival in town. Now, we now have the ever-growing SouthSounds Music Festival and the world class Hangout Music Festival. The brand new AeroFest is on the way in March.
Another change in the industry has been access to recording. As I have written about in several recent issues, Mobile is now home to several impressive recording studios. Finally, the number of local bands touring nationally and internationally has definitely made a difference. They are the reason more eyes are beginning to focus on the Azalea City.
As we welcome 2015, I would simply say thank you to the musicians, bands, songwriters, venue owners, promoters and studio engineers that have made me a happy fan. More than that, I would like to thank all the local music fans out there who have helped nurture the scene over the years. This growth would’ve never taken place without you. I would like to end with just one more suggestion, and it is directed to local musicians. My best piece of advice for 2015 is to start a band. Mobile could always use more bands, and I could always use more new bands to cover. With that, I would like to say good luck and Godspeed in 2015 to all my fellow music junkies in this beautiful city.