Three Years of Listening!

May 6, 2018

Celebrating the 3 year anniversary of The Listening Room


I recently saw a report which stated “Attending  live music shows will improve your health and extend your life”. I sure hope that is accurate. Its also possible the report was done by a group of hungry musicians who needed a boost in attendance at their shows…who knows. Either way I love live music.


Saturday May 5th marked three years since the doors swung open at The Listening Room of Mobile. Like any new business, it struggled.


Three years of honoring musicians by listening to them is quite an accomplishment.   The celebration was scheduled to start at 8pm and we counted down the time in anticipation. The Line up of talent for the evening was an unusual combination of a young pop singer, A gritty voiced Bob Dylan type singer and a jazz trumpet player who sings and plays harmonica. How could you go wrong with that line-up?


Madison Grace, Abe Partridge, Chip Herrington and Bryan Chisholm were there to share their amazing talent and their story.


First in the line-up was Madison Grace. She lives up to her name, Grace (“simple elegance”). She has been compared to such artists as Lady Gaga and Norah Jones and sure seems to be headed in an upward path with her music. It certainly does not hurt that she is drop dead gorgeous as well. Madison played some songs from her CD “Equilibrium of Contradiction”. She played  “Glory Days” which includes these lyrics “I can’t live without you, breathe without you, see without our love”… she went on to play Fragile  and many more. She declared that she was most proud of a new song about her boyfriend who also is her best friend and her roady…the song is called “Safe”. Immediately that song title had my attention. It is a good guy who makes a woman feel safe.


It is quite clear that Madison Grace is going places in the music world and we wish her great success. When she finished her part of the show, Madison thanked us all for coming and for listening to her message through her songs. Everyone gave her a resounding round of applause as she left the stage area and joined the audience for the rest of the show.


Next up was Abe Partridge. Abe is fairly new to the stage but quickly has managed to board a rocket headed straight upward. He has a unique sound; he also has songs that tell a story steeped in emotion. The pain, sadness, desperation and loneliness filling his lyrics permeate your soul and freezes you in your tracks. Music is supposed to touch us. It can do so joyfully, painfully and in a thought-provoking way. Abe seems to have tapped into the ability to take us into his world. This man has lived through an emotional hell. He was a Baptist minister in Kentucky, he was a soldier in the battlefields of Southeast Asia, wondering how he got there. For him there was “no difference between a prison and this war”. His line “the good guys and the bad guys ain’t so easily defined!” shook me the first time I heard it and shakes me again and again each time he sings that song. His letter to God seeking help fills me with deep introspection of my own as he is emotionally in the darkness and seeks to find “love in the dark”. Abe’s young daughter joined him in his song about the IRS as it refers to Willie Nelson and his tax troubles (Abe also had some problems in that regard).. She bravely joined in with her sweet voice on the chorus “They can take your money, but they can’t take your soul!” She is a precious, talented young lady.


Abe ended his part of the show with a gospel song in honor of his grandmother who passed away this week (his mother’s mother). He referred to her as Mamaw. 

“Lead Me On”…was felt by all who were in that room. Chip accompanied Abe on the trumpet as he tearfully sang. You could not find a dry eye in the room.


The show was closed out by Chip Herrington(trumpet, vocals) and Bryan Chisolm (on keyboard). They are two parts of the jazz ensemble called Chip Herrington Jazz Quintet.  In addition to playing Work Song by Nat Adderly, and other great jazz numbers, Chip surprised many in the crowd by playing and singing a country song made famous by Glen Campbell. “Wichita Lineman” (written by Jimmy Webb). For me this song feels lonesome if you just read the lyrics but when Chip sings them… brings goosebumps.

These lyrics  help to place you with that lineman as he is far away from home… “And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time…”  The way Chip sings it with his smooth voice is gripping.  I hope he does that song every time he performs. He went on to play the rousing New Orleans sound of “When the Saints go marching in” which had everyone tapping their feet and moving to the music. It was a great choice to end the show.


A night of live music, in a listening room should make a person feel happy and satisfied. Your soul should feel stuffed like your stomach does after Thanksgiving dinner. 


They left us full and satisfied. We got what we came for and then some.


Another night in the books for The Listening Room.

Thank you so much to Madison Grace, Abe Partridge, Chip Herrington and Bryan Chisolm.


SPECIAL THANKS to Jim Pennington, without you none of this could have happened.

Juanita Smith

Music Mom





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