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Step up to the Mic

Folk and blues singer REBEKAH TODD (above) may be fairly new to the Port City, but she’s already settled well into Wilmington’s active live music scene.

Following the release of her first full-length album Roots Bury Deep and subsequent tour, the Benson native moved to the area last fall. In the few months since, the transitioning artist rapidly found a new band – and they’ve embarked on their first summer tour. 

While shifting from one band to another isn’t a seemingly simple feat, Todd discovered some local resources to aid in the success. She credits one local open mic night, in particular, with helping her to find her footing. 

“When I moved to Wilmington, I was just a solo artist in a transition period from my old band and looking for a new band in my new hometown of Wilmington,” Todd explains. “Once I found a guitar player, Tom Shaw, it was at the Goat & Compass (open mic) that we were able to work out new tunes in front of a constructive audience of musicians and listeners.”

The weekly event, she says, offers a supportive environment for musicians, regardless of experience level. From artists with countless performances under their belt to first-timers to the stage, all will have material in their repertoire to tryout or tweak.

“It just goes to show that we are all on an equal playing field regardless of how long we’ve been in the game,” Todd says. “We all have new songs, and we all need a comfortable scenario to share those songs for the first time.”

What’s more, the open mic – hosted by local L Shape Lot band member Eric Miller – like others, enables artists to catch performances by one another. Since many musicians perform on the same nights around town, they can’t be in two places at once and attend other’s shows.

Referred to by some as “the musicians” open mic, Todd says she’s attended Miller’s open mic regularly since moving to Wilmington. Whether playing a new tune or working on an unfinished one, she sees the weekly event as a valuable tool, especially with a second full-length album on the horizon.

 “A lot of us work all the time and rarely get to go out and support each other, so this has become a good night to get together with some like-minded folks,” Miller explains. “I really enjoy seeing all the musicians hanging out and supporting each other.”

Todd – whose influences run the gamut from Lauryn Hill to Susan Tedeschi – and her band The Odyssey are currently touring throughout the Southeast, including local shows. Amidst that, she’s writing new material and looking forward to returning to the studio by winter to record that next album.

 

To view more of photographer Erik Maasch’s work, go to websta.me/n/emaasch

 

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