Red Clay Theatre to host music series

Sunday summer evenings in Gwinnett will get even hotter with an exciting lineup of local music groups playing a concert this Sunday. JEM Entertainment presents "Sounds of Summer 2009" at the Red Clay Theatre on eight Sunday evenings through August 30th.

The shows start at 7 p.m., and the cost is $10 per ticket. Entertainers are either Atlanta- or Gwinnett-based, and the music runs the gamut from classic rock to country, folk and more.

Kicking off the series on Sunday is Leading Edge, a '60s and '70s rock band that also blends today's music with catchy pop elements.

Also on the bill is Johnny Rockbridge and the High Chairs. This Atlanta-based rock group plays rock, soul and pop. Their music is described as "piano-driven, guitar coloring, bass thumping and heart-beating percussive arrangements" of your favorites.

July 19 features Rachel Farley and Liz Lee. Rachel is a passionate country singer/songwriter from Lawrenceville. She recently teamed up with Shawn Mullins to record the song "All Our Heroes" to benefit the American Cancer Society. Liz Lee is a folk rock singer/songwriter with songs ranging from upbeat alternate country, to bluesy tunes, to slow, contemplative ballads.

On July 26, Jessica Cayne Urick and Sundown are the performers. Jessica is a country rock singer/songwriter from Grayson. She has been seen in many local venues like Wild Bill's, Eddie's Attic, Smith's Old Bar, and the famous Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tenn. Sundown is a popular Atlanta band formerly known as Sun Sets East, and they are veterans of Atlanta's most popular venues.

The August lineup features five exciting concerts which include the new singing sensation, "Stephen Norwood and the Twisted Solutions" on August 16.

The series is the result of JEM Entertainment founder Jayne Madigan's knowledge of the music scene, admiration for the Red Clay Theatre venue and the desire to bring to the public events that are family friendly and affordable.

"Mary Conti of Red Clay Theatre approached me for show ideas for the summer," Madigan said. "Since I own an entertainment company, I immediately suggested a music series that would support local artists. There are not many venues in Gwinnett where all ages can enjoy a top quality concert at an affordable price. I chose Sunday nights so families could start off the week on a positive note by coming out to see a concert together."

The Red Clay Theatre is a real jewel of a performing space, Madigan said. "It houses an incredible state-of-the-art sound system with an intimate 266-seat theater and professional stage and great acoustics."

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.