A local musician and business owner is working to offer some entertainment during social distancing, while aiming to give a hand to local musicians who now have no public places to play.
Jacksonville native Jeff Newman, who has been playing music in and around Morgan County for the better part of two decades is starting up the Living Room Concert Series on Thursday.
Newman says the plan to help keep some live entertainment going in the community grew organically, but also pretty quickly.
“Sunday afternoon, after we found out that really our livelihood, between the juice bar and my gigs and stuff like that, was totally going to change. And then we were kind of saying, hey, it would be kind of cool, wouldn’t it be cool if we could just live stream gigs from the house? In our living room or something, and we could maybe try to raise money during those gigs to try and help people out.
Then my friend Cory called, and he said something about it because this Thursday was supposed to be the Third Thursday Show of Stan and Jeff at Barney’s. And he said, is there a way you guys could get together and live stream that, and we will try to get some money raised for you, and I’m like oh my gosh, we just had that idea!”
Newman, who together with his wife, owns the Fresh Press on the downtown square, says that he aims to not only bring a sense of community into area homes, but also to help artists who are also losing income during the shut down of public gathering spaces.
“I was thinking about, you know just the other musicians around town that might be hurting in this and try to do it as a series. So without really knowing what I am dong, I set it up to ask people if they wanted to do it, and I got a great response from musicians and got a full schedule put together that day that I posted it. And now, so the trick is to figure pout between now and Thursday how to exactly do it.”
The Living Room Concert Series, also known already on his Facebook post as Couch-ella and Corona-paloza by friends and fans looking for a silver lining during social distancing, is planned to live stream on Thursday and Saturday evenings in March.
Newman will be performing on the trial run of the live stream concert series tomorrow night at 7:00 pm. He says that even though it will be a solo show, he intends to still split any tips he receives with Stan Robson, who he has performed with for many years around the area as Stan and Jeff. The duo was scheduled to play Barney’s Pub Thursday night.
Newman says that he will be announcing details soon where to find the concert series on Facebook live.
Other local artists scheduled to appear on the live stream thought March are Levi & Jacquline, and Stuart Smith on Saturday. Robert Sampson followed by Isaiah Christian on Thursday the 26th, and then The Peter Sellers and The Portable Beat on Saturday March 28th.
Newman has plans to to have a Venmo/PayPal set up so the audience can contribute virtual tips for the performers.
We will include a link to the Couch Concert Series Page when it becomes available.