Looking for an intimate spot to dine, converse, and enjoy live music? The Red Sky Tapas & Bar on Johnson Ferry Road may be exactly the place you’re seeking.
And local musicians are featured prominently, especially on a Monday night showcase, performing brief sets of cover and original songs in an intimate listening room amidst walls darned in red sky décor.
Artists must be invited to perform at the Red Sky, said Terry Kirby, co-owner of Red Sky, so the quality of the music is always strong and the competition steep.
"It's like a private mini-concert in our community," Kirby said.
The musicians are vetted by Kirby or by Thomas Woolwine, manager for Daven MCCoy and the Coming Attractions, a local band that tours the East Coast and recently sold the most CDs, estimated at more than 20,000, at the FloydFest Festival in Virginia, according to Woolwine.
A Walton High School graduate, Woolwine is deemed "The Godfather" of the showcase by musician and co-host Brian Perry.
Woolwine said he started the showcase because he couldn’t find quality live music anywhere when he’d return home from touring, wanting to relax with friends and fellow musicians.
“I said to myself, live music is dying.”
Woolwine and Red Sky now bring local and touring artists to East Cobb each week.
Red Sky is also a great spot for local musicians to network and practice performing, said Mark Michelson, the first performer of the night.
Michelson who regularly performs around East Cobb, has played Red Sky eight times since the showcase began this January.
He played the songs, “Brain Damage,” by Pink Floyd, and “Day in the Life,” by the Beatles along with a few original songs.
“It’s very collaborative here for musicians,” Michelson said as he sat in the audience with his five-year old daughter and friends, enjoying the music and tapas after his performance.
Next up was Hannah DeLane, who said she has been performing for just over a year.
DeLane, who recently graduated from Georgia Highlands College, delivered her set with accompaniment from Perry on acoustic guitar.
DeLane and Perry have been performing together for just a few months, but together pleased the crowd with several bluesy tunes. (See the accompanying video for an example of their performance.)
Also a Walton graduate, Perry has toured as a musician nationally since 1996.
Perry began his solo performance by complimenting Red Sky for their great wait staff and tapas before playing his thoughtful original songs and a few lively covers, including Christina Aguilara’s “Genie in the Bottle.”
The final artist of the night, Joe Garner, is a regular performer at locations all over Marietta, including the Johnnie MacCracken's Celtic Pub on the Square, entertained the crowd with his rich originals and a medley of songs which blended crowd-pleasing hits such as “Creep” and “Blister in the Sun.”
Audience members are invited to vote for their favorite performer at the end of the evening each Monday.
DeLane’s sultry voice gave her the win this Monday.
Along with friends and family, she cheered as Perry announced her victory.
“I know I want to be making music and it doesn’t matter to me if I’m a huge star.” DeLane said.
She was a bright start this night.
The winner of the showcase receives a $100 prize and an opportunity to return the following Tuesday night for a solo two-hour performance, said Kirby.
After performing, DeLane mingled with the crowd, introducing herself and receiving high praise from patrons.
“I just want to be eating, sleeping, and living music, doing what I love.” DeLane said, “And this is it.”
Woolwine maintains a Facebook page full of photos from the Monday Singer Songwriter performances and said he hopes to create a YouTube channel for fans to follow in the near future.