Wire & Wood brings top musical artists to Alpharetta Oct. 7-8

Photo by Jeremy Cowart
Emily Saliers

The Wire & Wood Songwriters Festival returns to downtown Alpharetta the weekend of Oct. 7-8, with a slate of artists ranging from nationally recognized musicians to local songsmiths quickly making a musical name for themselves.

The event kicks off on Friday night with a free concert on the plaza at Avalon where the audience can get a sampling of the talent on stage for the weekend.

The main event moves to downtown Alpharetta on Saturday afternoon, where more than 20 artists will perform well into the evening on various stages and venues throughout the area.

This year’s featured performer is John Oates, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 along with musical partner Daryl Hall. Other prominent artists set to perform this year include Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, Kristian Bush of Sugarland, and Ken Block and Drew Copeland, two-fifths of Sister Hazel.

For two Atlanta-based artists set to perform at the Wire & Wood Songwriters Festival, the event provides the opportunity to perform in an intimate, outdoor setting and to reach a new audience with their music.

Emily Saliers –
Best known for being one half of the Grammy Award-winning folk rock music duo Indigo Girls, Emily Saliers is going it alone at the Wire & Wood Festival, and treating the audience to a preview of her upcoming solo album.

“Yes, I probably will play at least a couple of new songs,” said Saliers, who along with Amy Ray sold more than 15 million albums with the Indigo Girls. “The [solo songs] are still in the ‘trying out’ stage, since I won’t make the record until December. But the more I play them, the more settled in they become.”

But Indigo Girls fans need not worry, she promises to mix in a few fan favorite songs like “Galileo” or “Closer to Fine.”

As she works on her first solo album, Saliers said the Indigo Girls “foundation” is still there, but influenced more heavily with rhythm and blues.

Audiences at the Wire & Wood Festival will be treated to an acoustic concert that Saliers says will sound very “folk rooted.” She is a multi-talented artist, playing lead guitar, banjo, piano, mandolin and ukulele.

The downtown Alpharetta setting is likely a bit more intimate than the venues she generally performs in, but the close connection to the audience and the chance to break her mold is intriguing.

“I really like that it’s small, off the beaten path and local!” laughs Saliers, who lives in Atlanta. “I’m just beginning to play solo gigs, which I really enjoy, and this was a great opportunity to do something I haven’t done before as Indigo Girls.”

She also looks forward to being part of a musical lineup composed of musicians she knows and respects.

“I also love [many] of the artists who are playing like Shawn Mullins, Kristian Bush, and the guys from Sister Hazel, to name a few,” said Saliers. “October is a beautiful month to have an outdoor festival. I’m looking forward to it wholeheartedly.”

Adron –
Since being named “Best Songwriter of 2012” by Creative Loafing magazine, Adron has quickly attracted a fan base drawn to her unique mix of Brazilian samba, bossa nova, classical and other musical elements.

While writers struggle to define her musical “style,” Adron sums it up simply as “tropical pop and soul.” At least for now.

“I usually don’t think about labels when I’m making my music, only when I’m trying to promote it,” says the Atlanta artist, who is currently gathering new material for an album to be released this year.

Adron, whose given name is Adrienne McCann, is a fixture in the Atlanta music and art scene, where she has lived and performed for several years since moving here from the Midwest.

She is looking forward to expanding her reach to the suburbs in the Wire & Wood Festival in Alpharetta.

“I’m excited to play to a different kind of audience than I’m used to,” said Adron, who has been performing since she was 14. “I›ve been working the east Atlanta urban countercultural scene for a few years now, and a lot of the folks turning up to shows already know all my little ‘parlor tricks’ and maybe they›re getting used to it.”

By ‘tricks’ she is referring to the bird calls, vocal improvisations, whistling and other embellishments that are a unique part of her performance, as well as singing verses in any of three languages she speaks.

“I love striking out for new territory and playing to audiences that see a female with a non-electric guitar and immediately think, ‘Okay, folksy Americana songstress’…and then they get something pretty wildly different than that,” she laughs, adding it’s great to be the “sore thumb element” in the festival that gets a conversation going. ■


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