The Crimson White

Bama Theatre holds acoustic night

Jamie Lyons

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The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa is hosting an Acoustic Night in the Bama Theatre’s Greensboro Room, tonight at 7 p.m. The event will feature Judd and Maggie, as well as Sparrow and the Ghost. There will be a $5 cover charge collected at the door, and all proceeds will go directly to the artists.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, siblings Judd and Maggie Bolger come from a musically talented family. Starting on piano at a young age, the duo forayed into other instruments and also songwriting as they got older.

“We always played a lot of music growing up, at church or at parties,” Judd Bolger said.

Their father, a songwriter, encouraged them to pursue a music career together. That career jumpstarted with the release of their first album, Concentrate, in 2003.

Maggie Bolger described the Judd and Maggie sound as “heavy guy girl harmonies, indie-folk-rock.” She said the two have frequently been compared to Fleetwood Mac.

The siblings write all of their own songs, whether separately or collaboratively. They find their inspiration in literature and stories, as well as real-life situations, Maggie Bolger said.

“And you can always write a yearning love song and people will relate to it,” Maggie Bolger added.

Now living in Nashville and working independently on their fourth full-length album, to be released late spring, the duo has nothing but good things to say about life as musicians.

The brother-sister pair values working together and Judd Bolger described the importance of the bond that they share as siblings.

“As brother and sister, we have a stronger bond,” Judd Bolger said. “We have been working together a long time, and the bond provides support. She complements me well.”

Maggie Bolger said there is a level of comfort in working with someone she knows so well.

“We just get up on stage and do our thing,” Maggie Bolger said. “The good part is that we know how the other person is going to act before they do.”

Judd and Maggie Bolger have toured nationally to promote their previous albums, and both enjoy meeting new people on the road.

“People tend to see us as vagrant artists, and so they reach out to you. They are interested and supportive,” Maggie Bolger said. “I like sharing everything I have worked for… lyrics, music and message.”

Judd Bolger said the duo tried to think of a name for themselves, but their simple, first-names-only title “just happened.”

Sparrow and The Ghost is a Tuscaloosa band featuring Rachel Roberts, Stuart Bond and Reed Watson. Bond said he heard Roberts sing at an open-mic night and “had to have her sing with me.”

Bond and Roberts have been working together as Sparrow and The Ghost for four months, and the group added drummer Watson just two weeks ago. Watson was previously their manager on Hackberry Records.

According to its MySpace page, the band adds “their own unique spin on the classic sounds of folk, country and the blues.” It does not explain the band’s name, though, and Bond said he wouldn’t either.

“We like to keep the mystery about it,” Roberts said. “We want people to wonder.”

The Sparrow and The Ghost sound is similarly mysterious, because it changes each time they play.

“We’ll do a song in a set, and it will sound like Jimi Hendrix one night and Johnny Cash the next,” Bond said.

Equipped with an old typewriter and a piano, Bond is the songwriter for the group, but Roberts is frequently a part of the process as well.

“It is almost like songs are just floating up in the air and you just have to reach out and grab it,” Bond said.

“He comes up with the melody and the song, and I add the harmony,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the Bama Theatre is her “favorite place in town to perform because everyone really listens, and there is a great connection with the audience.”

Sparrow and The Ghost’s demo will be available for free on hackberryrecords.com this Friday, and will be given to anyone attending the show who has not seen the group play before.

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Bama Theatre holds acoustic night