Acoustic Jeremiah is a songwriter and storyteller venue now located in Canton in the old Canton Cotton Mill No.1 where Liberty Hills United Methodist Church holds services.
Inspired by the greatest storyteller that ever lived, Acoustic Jeremiah incorporates spirituality into its mission through storytelling and song, said volunteer David Ruff.
“Jesus was a radically unique brother who did not fit the spiritual and religious mold that existed during his time. Likewise, artists that pass through Acoustic Jeremiah on their journey, although believers, are radically unique in their own right and may not fit the mold of today’s religious norm,” Ruff said. “Artists that share stories about their own spirituality and inspiration through song in a format that’s rare makes Acoustic Jeremiah very special.”
The mission’s first concert offering in more than two years is Dec. 1 and features The Packway Handle Band, an alternative bluegrass group.
The event is at 7:30 p.m. and is also a Toys for Tots event. Tickets are $10 at the door or online.
“As with the mission of AJ we like to tie into the shows a cause or attitude of giving beyond the show and this show will be giving support to the Toys for Tots organization,” Ruff said. “Anyone coming to the show will be encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to be dropped off at the show for this wonderful organization.”
Ruff is one of about eight board members that oversee the program, and is glad to be a part of the mission.
He said the band was chosen for the return performance because of their high energy and fast paced style of bluegrass “that we felt was perfect to get the heart of AJ pumping again.”
“I have seen them a couple of times and they are very entertaining, and they will be doing some gospel as well as other songs,” Ruff said.
Ruff said that while it is appropriate for all ages and geared as a family-friendly event, a lot of people use it as a date night.
Capacity at the venue is 200 to 250.
“Acoustic Jeremiah never really died, it just kind of went into a couple seasons of hibernation…in a row. For those of us that are on the board of directors I don’t think any of us ever felt that it had played out its last song.” Ruff said. “There was always talk amongst ourselves as to when would be a good time to have another show.”
Matt and McKenzie Hughes, who created and maintained Acoustic Jeremiah had been carrying a heavy load of planning, scheduling and pulling off the shows, many times paying money out of pocket to pay the bands and doing most of the work on their own with the help of their families, Ruff said.
Field’s Chapel UMC was the first home for AJ and was instrumental both financially and with the use of their historic facility in the early days of AJ, he said.
AJ’s first show was in October 2007, the artist was Jonny Diaz. Over the next three years AJ welcomed artists like Grammy Award winners Gary Nicholson and Tyler Burkum.
Also, Bethany Dillon, Brandon Heath, DecembeRadio, Seth Walker, Ginny Owens and Echoing Angels were among many others.
“It is our hope to continue to find artists before they get too large for our venue and keep the intimate feel of AJ as it was during those years,” he said.
Earlier this year a group of individuals that had been AJers got together and made the decision to form a board of directors and start up the music series again, he said.
The board includes Matt and McKenzie Hughes, David and Christine Ruff, Teresa and Brent Abernathy, Jason Gaglione, Jamey Prickett, Len Simonis, Brad and Lyn Turnell and Jackie Riley.
In 2013, AJ will continue to give back with shows that will highlight and support Give a Kid a chance and Serv Ministries to name a few.
“We are already in the planning stages for 2013 and are looking to have five shows next year. We are looking forward to developing a relationship with downtown Canton and the surrounding communities with shows that will include local musicians and up-and-coming artists,” Ruff said.
For more information Acoustic Jeremiah can be found on Facebook (Acoustic Jeremiah) and Twitter (@ajvenue) or online at acousticjeremiah.com.
The old Canton Mill No. 1 is located at 141 Railroad Street in Canton.