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Feb 09, 2016

Amy Cook to Kick Off St. Matt’s Unique Concert Series

Amy Cook. Photo by Alexandra Valenti

Noted singer-songwriter Amy Cook will kickoff St. Matthew’s intimate artist showcase series on Valentine’s Day in Austin. The 2016 Soul of a Musician Series is a partnership between the church, nationally recognized musicians and a local restaurant, which is celebrating its fourth year this spring. Each concert features music and a personal one-on-one with St. Matt’s rector, the Rev. Merrill Wade, talking about the inspiration and spirituality behind the songs.


The kickoff concert will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14 at Iron Cactus North, located at 10001 Stonelake Blvd., Austin, Texas 78759 in the Agave Room. The show is free and open to the public.


Wade launched the series as an outlet for Austin musicians to play music in a loving, receptive environment in order to explore the various emotional and spiritual dimensions of their sound. And though sponsored by a church, the gathering is not a religious event. What began as a small-scale concert series provided a platform for musicians to express their spiritual needs and creativity through music and open discussion.


As Kevin Curtin of the Austin Chronicle wrote in a May 22, 2015 review of a Gina Chavez show at the Soul Series, “There were no Bible readings, no hands clasped in prayer, no theological language. It’s through artists and their writing that Wade hopes to extract truth in a way the church can’t.”


Wade describes it as a unique listening experience. “It is designed entirely with an artist-focused format, where the community comes together to support the spiritual and emotional well-being of the musician and gain insight into their creative process and growth.”


As the centerpiece of the show, the musician performs two original songs they have handpicked, then Wade leads a discussion with the artist and those gathered about the spirituality and inspiration behind the songs.


“This discussion time opens up dialogue for the artist to reveal the inspiration behind their music, what it means to them, and sometimes even to reckon with any suffering or negativity in their lives,” Wade said, adding, “It provides a deep connection between the artist and those gathered; something they don’t often experience playing a gig at any other venue in town. This is an opportunity for the musician to express their needs and for the audience to provide care and support for their local talent.”


Austin musician Guy Forsyth agrees. Each Soul Series performance is “…not just a show. You will hear a lot of music, but we also have a conversation about the music, why and how the songs are written. If music is a spiritual tool for you, no matter what your beliefs, the Soul of a Musician Series may be a place for you to explore.”


The first half of the Spring lineup features a rich diversity of artists

and genres including:

Feb. 14 - Amy Cook

Feb. 21 - The Peterson Brothers

Feb. 28 - *no show due to Oscars night

March 6 - Carson McHone

Mar 13 - The Deer

Mar 20 - Billy Harvey from New York City

March 27 - *no show due to Easter

April 3 - Emily Bell

April 10 - Jackie Venson

April 17 - Jeff Black from Nashville, TN.


For more about the series, please see: or