Chances are if you’ve spent more than five minutes in Columbia, you know about the Darius Rucker and Hootie and the Blowfish ties to the city.
If you’re a South Carolina music fan, you’re probably aware of Edwin McCain and Patrick Davis’ ties to the Palmetto State.
But did you know that Angie Aparo got much of his start on Hilton Head Island? And that the Zac Brown Band hit, “Chicken Fried,” was written by a South Carolinian?
Patrick Davis says South Carolina “has long been home to a number of incredibly talented singer-songwriters” and he wants folks to know it.
Davis, “a Tennessee born, South Carolina bred, Nashville based singer, songwriter and artist” has had nearly 70 of his songs recorded by artists including Jimmy Buffett, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and Jewel. He has released four full length albums with his eleven-piece band, Patrick Davis & His Midnight Choir.
And Davis is hosting a Songwriters Series at The White Mule Music Pub and Eatery in Columbia each week in April. Presented by Whiskey Jam Whiskey, shows will feature all South Carolina-based musicians in an intimate, bluebird café style setting where songwriters will perform together swapping songs and stories.
Davis is a co-founder of Whiskey Jam Whiskey with South Carolina’s world-renowned Firefly Distillery, as well as founder of “Songwriters In Paradise,” a uniquely crafted singer-songwriter festival designed to bring together the world’s top songwriting and performing talent.
Davis wants to highlight the South Carolina talent with his songwriters series in Columbia. He took some time to explain why.
Q. Why did you decide to do this Songwriter Series in Columbia?
A. South Carolina has long been home to a number of incredibly talented singer-songwriters. Of course, most of us know about Darius or Hootie, Edwin McCain, Shovels & Rope, Need to Breathe, or Band of Horses, but there is a large contingent of South Carolina songwriting talent that has flown mostly under the radar and that is something I would love to see change.
Additionally, The White Mule’s owner, Trae Judy, has been a friend of mine for a long time. When he opened the White Mule and we discussed this songwriter series, I immediately thought it was a great opportunity to bring people to the White Mule to see what it’s all about as well as showcase some of the area’s best songwriting talent. Shows are presented by my whiskey brand, Whiskey Jam Whiskey, which is a partnership with Firefly Distillery, so attendees will also have the opportunity to try this exclusive whiskey that’s only available in Nashville and South Carolina.
Q. What do you hope the series accomplishes?
A. I have been extremely fortunate to make a living, and at least a small name for myself, as a singer-songwriter for many years in Nashville. I also recognize that many of my musical friends in South Carolina, who are endlessly more talented than me, have for whatever reason, not yet caught that same wave or break. My goal is to try to get folks here in the Columbia area to take a little more notice of the songwriting talent that is right in their backyard. Perhaps events like this series will help get it started. My hope is that, schedules permitting, this becomes a yearly event that continues to unite music lovers and songwriters in Columbia.
Q. Why do you think folks will enjoy attending this series?
A. I believe that folks will really enjoy each of these shows not only because of the talent, but because The White Mule is a type of venue that Columbia has not yet seen. The White Mule is the perfect setting for stripped down acoustic shows so I’m very excited by the setting and the venue and I think attendees will be too.
At each show, guests get a behind-the-scenes look at the craft of writing a song by being up close and personal with songwriters — listening to them perform and tell stories — in an intimate setting. In terms of performers, the line-up is filled with some of my favorite singer-songwriters.
Q. Have you ever done anything else like this?
A. For the past seven years, I’ve been hosting a songwriters festival called Songwriters in Paradise (SIP) in Hope Town, Bahamas; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Napa Valley, Calif., and the format for those shows is a bluebird café style setting with multiple songwriters performing alongside one another and telling the stories behind why and how songs were written. This songwriters series at The White Mule follows that same format. Each night, I introduce the songwriters and then we all perform on stage together swapping songs and stories for a couple of hours. Shows are capped at 75 tickets, which is about half the normal capacity of The White Mule, to make absolutely sure each night has that listening room feel.
Q. How do you think this will promote music in Columbia?
A. I’ve been around long enough to know that four shows are not going to change the musical landscape of an area, but my hope is to get that conversation going. Once again, I’m lucky to have connections to many songwriters and performers in the South Carolina area that I am able to make shows like this happen. The ultimate goal for these events is that attendees will begin to take notice of the various songwriters, follow them to other shows and be anxious for them to perform again and as a result, these types of events happen more frequently.
Q. Is it something even those whose musical talent is restricted to listening will enjoy?
A. Absolutely! Anyone that loves music as well as the art and craft of songwriting will enjoy these shows.
Q. What have been your most memorable experiences in Columbia?
A. Columbia and the entire state of South Carolina has been so good to me for so long. I graduated from the University of South Carolina and have been fortunate to play a number of shows in this city with both Darius and Hootie and the Blowfish. However, I have to say the annual Toys for Tots Thanksgiving Friday night show I do at The Senate in the Vista with my Midnight Choir is always a highlight of my year. It’s wonderful to be home for the holidays and to be able to play a show for such an important cause.
If you go
When: 8 p.m. April 18 and April 24. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: The White Mule Music Pub and Eatery, 711 Saluda Ave.
Cost: $20 per show
Remaining schedule: Danielle Howle, Joal Rush, Josh McCaa and Lewis Brice on April 18. Josh Roberts, Hannah Miller, Jessie Rice, Yesterday’s Wine with Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey on April 24
For more information: For more information on Patrick Davis’ songwriter events, go to patrickdavismusic.com, songwritersinparadise.com and follow @WhiskeyJamWhiskey on Instagram.