Oct 27, 2023
Originally Huntsville celebrates live music by showcasing local North Alabama talent in a monthly music concert series with a benevolent cause.
When most people think of “Music City,” Huntsville, Alabama, is likely not the first place that comes to mind … but Chris Hendley wants it to be. Having been working towards building a Music-City atmosphere in Huntsville for several years now, Hendley kicked off 2023 by bringing a monthly music concert series to the city that would put local artists and local music at the forefront. Hosted by The Electric Belle at Stovehouse and event management connoisseurs The Hendley Group, Originally Huntsville shines the spotlight on musicians with ties to North Alabama.
There is a catch though: In order to be considered, you can’t play covers.
According to Hendley, the Originally Huntsville showcase is about showcasing North Alabama’s local talent and providing them with a space to perform their own original music. Originally Huntsville doesn’t allow any cover songs and in order to even be considered, you must have a set of at least 45 minutes that features your own original music.
Originally Huntsville, which kicked off in January 2023, has definitely set a tone on the Huntsville music scene. Every person who walks in the door is privy to what, exactly, they’ll be hearing, and that, my friends, is original music—the kind these artists poured their hearts and souls into—matched with an authentic performance.
Here is the win-win to Originally Huntsville: Not only do we get to see local bands highlight their original music, but the concert series also has a charity side. Originally Huntsville benefits Huntsville Hospital Pediatric Audiology. It’s no surprise, then, that Originally Huntsville has seen success and been a huge draw for local lovers and players of music.
October’s event, which featured local bands HunniVega and The Grassring with headliner 5ive O’clock Charlie, brought with it a big change that saw the event moved to Mars Music Hall in Von Braun Center.
Mixed Alternative Magazine was at Originally Huntsville and got to chat with Mike Roberts of 5ive O’clock Charlie about how it feels to be headlining such a worthy event. We were also curious why the change in venue, so we managed to snag founder/promoter Chris Hendley for a quick chat too. See what they had to say!
MaM: Mike, thanks for speaking with us before you go on. What were your feelings when you were asked if you would headline Originally Huntsville in October?
MR: We're pretty happy about it! You know, I'm pretty excited!
MaM: A lot of big acts come through Huntsville and play at Mars Music Hall. How does that feel as a musician to be able to play on that stage?
MR: It's good to be back on that stage. I played it a couple of times. Yeah, it's always fun to play on a big stage.
MaM: You've been playing as a four-piece, but tonight you’re down to a three-piece. How's it going to feel to be back down to a Power Trio?
MR: We were three-piece for a long time, so it should be pretty comfortable. We were in Key West last night as a three-piece and it was solid! Looking forward to it!
Next, we caught up with event founder and promoter Chris Hendley.
MaM: Chris, thanks for a taking a second to speak with us. We are curious: What led you to change Originally Huntsville from The Electric Belle and bring it over to Von Braun Center at Mars Music Hall?
CH: The Electric Bell Stovehouse people have been so gracious with the with the rent deal and the event deal that we have with them. With scheduling, we had the flexibility in our scheduling that if they came up with a client or someone who wanted to rent the room, we would slide [our event] one week up or one week back. But in talking with Mike Roberts, who curated with 5ive O'clock Charlie, October 19th was the date we had, and we couldn't get [Electric Belle] to slide one way or the other.
So luckily, in having a relationship with Mars Music Hall, they were able to work with me … We worked a really good deal here. So, we are excited about it—5ive O'clock Charlie and HunniVega and The Grassring needed a little bit more space than what Stovehouse and the Electric Belle had, so it just kind of worked out.
MaM: Not only is this a spotlight for local talent, but it also has a charity side to it as well. Would you please elaborate on that?
CH: We work with the Huntsville Hospital Pediatric Audiology department, and it is really for families and children who have hearing deficiencies that are not going to be cured by a hearing aid. Most of these audiologists will tell you really quickly whether hearing aids are going to work or not. Most insurances require a family to have a hearing aid for an infant or a toddler for at least three to six months before they'll even consider them for a cochlear implant, and that hearing aid for a pediatric, or for a young child, costs between $8,000 and $10,000.
They have a loaner program, and they need to refurbish those hearing aids. It's just a stopgap between the hearing aid before they can get the cochlear implant. They know the hearing aid isn’t going to work, so we've been blessed to work with these guys, and you know, it just made sense for music and kids. All of the bands love the idea of being able to support this type of cause because their music is their passion, and they want these kids to experience it.
As you can see, there’s a more than one reason to get to November’s Originally Huntsville event, which is the last Originally Huntsville of the year and takes place Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.), back at The Electric Belle. November’s event will feature Tim Cannon, Drunk In Memphis, and 3 Below. Tis the season for giving and kindness, and for some badass live, local North Alabama music, so mark your calendars and make those plans to get out and support live local music and give to a worthy cause.
For more information on Originally Huntsville, visit them online at www.TheHendleyGroup.com
Check out some more photos from the event below, in case you missed it!
5 O'Clock Charlie
The Grass Ring
*All photos by Bud Gambrell with Dragonfly Imagery
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