When it comes to the history of American popular music, all roads lead Down South. From the birth of the blues in Mississippi…to the birth of jazz in New Orleans…country music in Virginia…the funk of Georgia…and the Southern rock of Florida…it all comes back to The South. Gwen & The Native Land Band put your favorite hit records in an exhilarating jazz setting that will make you dance and sing along.
In between songs, Gwen leads the audience on a freewheeling & fun history lesson of why The South is such a breeding ground for iconic recording artists. Why is it that Elvis, Tina Turner, Johnny Mercer, Hank Williams, Louis Armstrong – plus dozens of other legends – come out of a primarily rural, agricultural region? All regions of the USA have great music, but no region has racked up quite as many gold records from so many diverse genres as The South.
All shows will feature audience song requests and participation. It’s all about the audience and what these songs mean to them.
Along with artists like Elvis and Johnny Mercer, the band reinvents songs by Jimmy Buffett, Outkast, Hootie & The Blowfish…James Taylor……Bruce Hornsby…Al Green…and the list goes on and on. We would like to show, in our showcase, how Gwen Hughes immediately engages the audience and makes them the star of the show. Band sizes can be anywhere from a trio to an eight piece band, depending on a theatre’s budget and size.
GRITS HITS grows out of my continuous effort to bring jazz to audiences that might normally avoid it. My band & I delight in taking songs everyone already knows and putting them in fresh musical settings, where the audience hears new things in the melodies and the lyrics…plus they get to experience the freewheeling invention and chops of the musicians. In this way, we give them a great jazz concert and a fun, energetic concert experience, too.
I have a big heart for music education, so all my shows will invite participation by students & music teachers. The South has a tumultuous history, but as a proud Southerner, part of what I want GRITS HITS to show is how our region’s music has been the bridge to healing and progress. My hope is that other parts of the USA might learn a little history from the show…and perhaps examine their own region’s history & music in in contrast to The American South.