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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Home By Dark brings songwriter's in-the-round to Gwinett Arena

Billy Montana
  • Courtesy Home By Dark
  • Billy Montana
The life of a songwriter who has written major hits for marquee names, often in the country genre, can be an anonymous one. So, whenever the chance presents itself to see these musicians perform the songs they composed, as well as chat about how and why they wrote them in a casual environment, it's an experience that shouldn't be missed.

Georgia based singer/songwriter James Casto has been organizing events to spotlight these often unseen artists in a series he calls Home by Dark for about eight years. He has produced and been the driving force for songwriter shows throughout the southeast and as far north as Canada.

The concert on Friday, September 13, at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center looks to be one of the best, and certainly biggest, of the lot. It features songwriters Billy Montana (composer of four no. one songs and others hits for Garth Brooks, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, and Lee Brice) and Nicole Witt (George Strait, Rodney Adkins, Diamond Rio, Point of Grace). Typically, part of the appeal is that it's a stripped down, acoustic performance. But, to further sweeten the event for this special gig, veteran NYC saxophone player Matt Blanchard and B3/accordion player/pianist Jim Hettinger will be sitting in and backing the trio, all of whom perform in the round.

Better still, a portion of the proceeds go to benefit Right to Hike Inc., a charity formed to honor the life of Meredith Hope Emerson who was abducted and killed in 2008 while hiking in the North Georgia Mountains.

This video hosted by Casto provides some background, but for those interested in seeing and hearing from the people behind the curtain to the stars, the show is a window into a world most don't get to see.

Home By Dark at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. $20-$50, Fri., Sep 13. 8:00 p.m.

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