For years, I've always known that people are reticent to support music that they don't know. They'll shell out $5 on a beer or $10 on a movie, but when it comes to going to a concert, they hesitate to spend the money. In 2008, I decided to try my best to help the local music scene and get more people to become aware of the music being created around them in Charlotte. Instead of just writing about it, I wanted to get music into the hands of more people ... and the Homebrew CD series was born.
That first disc, Jeff Hahne's Homebrew Winter Harvest 2008, featured 12 bands and artists from the Charlotte area, such as Gigi Dover, Bayou Butch Lucas, The New Familiars, S.O. Stereo, and Transmission Fields. A release party was held for roughly 100 people at The Evening Muse and, thanks to Creative Loafing, the CD was given away for free to all those in attendance.
The success of that project led to a second album, Jeff Hahne's Homebrew Summer Stash 2008, which was sponsored by the Double Door at Lake Norman. Again, 12 bands were featured, including Contagious Blues Band, The Lights, Fluorescent, Eyes of the Elders, Sugar Glyder, Tropic Culture, Simplified and Paleface. Over the next year, we gave away 1,000 CDs at shows and locations around the city.
In 2009, Jeff Hahne's Homebrew Vol. 3 was released; 18 bands were featured, including Evelynn Rose, The Noises 10, Dylan Gilbert, 2013 Wolves, Andy the Doorbum, Jon Lindsay, Actual Proof and The Alpha Theory. This time, it was released thanks to Highland Brewery, CD Warehouse and the Carolina Live Music Society. During a release party at the Neighborhood Theatre, we gave away more than 400 CDs. Another 600 were given away in the following months.
Now it's time for Volume 4. The 16 bands featured on the new album are: Bubonik Funk, Jeremy Current, Electric Coma, Grown Up Avenger Stuff, Illicitizen, The Isaac Spiveys, Jamie & Steve, Matrimony, Overmountain Men, Panama Ski featuring Ike Turnah, Rekless Youth, Soulganic, Stella Kidd, Mike Strauss Band, Stephen Warwick and Wiggle Wagons.
I try to make the Homebrew CD a collection of music that is diverse — it sounds like a classic mixtape when you listen, with no two songs or bands sounding the same. And the reason that we're able to release the CDs for free is through sponsors — this time around they are Visulite Theatre, Rock University and Common Market — who wish to show their support of the local music scene.
By giving the CDs out for free, we hope that you'll pick one up, give it a listen and hopefully find a few artists that you like. In that case, maybe you'll go out and pick up their entire CD or go see one of their live shows.
There are a lot of incredibly talented and dedicated musicians and artists in the Charlotte area who are doing what they love and just hope for the chance to share their songs with people who will listen. These CDs are just a sample of what's being created around the city on a regular basis.
Come out to the release party on Oct. 15, 8 p.m. at the Neighborhood Theatre (511 E. 36th St., 704-358-9298, www.neighborhoodtheatre.com). While you're there, pick up a copy of the CD, have a drink and check out some of the artists who are set to perform. The event and the CD are both free. Give local music a chance. We're sure that you'll like it.