By Scott Roberts
What started out as an outlet to ignite his slightly dwindling musical spark, Matt Brown, singer/songwriter with Atlanta-based nineties pop faves Uncle Green, decided to create a group on Facebook called Theme Music. The idea was to invite like-minded musicians to join and post videos of themselves performing songs based on a weekly changing theme (i.e., songs with girl’s names in the titles, songs that deal with weapons, or songs about summer) of Brown’s choosing. Since Brown had a longtime habit of categorizing songs, the idea seemed natural. From his online mission statement: “I welcome amateurs and professionals. This should be about people making music for fun. Hopefully it spurs conversation and challenges those who post to try new things.”
Its initial humble beginnings, with a few dozen members when the group began earlier this year in the first week of May, has grown to just shy of 500 people from all over the country and with all levels of musical abilities and experiences. Thirty of those members, some of whom have traveled from as far away as California, will converge on Smith’s Olde Bar Sunday night for a live version of the Facebook song-sharing dubbed Themestock. Sixty songs will be performed, all falling under one theme: songs with a color in the title.
The group of “Themesters” have experienced an unusually close bonding through the more than 3,000 songs posted and countless comments and discussions that inevitably follow. The posts range from crooner wannabes singing along with karaoke tracks that take a few minutes to record to full multi-shot, storyboarded epic productions that have taken a week to come to fruition. Several long-distance virtual collaborations are also becoming the norm, and three members have even started a group (though they have yet to meet and “have no intention to”) called Sunsine on Mars that began with one such collaboration of a cover of the Archies “Feelin’ So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y D.O.O)” that has garnered some national radio airplay.
Brown, now living with his wife and two kids in New Jersey, says he plans to keep doing Theme Music for at least one year and maybe longer if the joy he has experienced and seen from it continues. “I have a feeling this will not be the only Themestock either, though the next one could be on the West Coast or the Northeast to include more members from those areas,” says Brown. Sunday night’s participants will include local faves Paul Melancon, Jimmy Ether from The Ether Family Presents, Lee Flier and Lyle Bufkin from What The …?, former Atlantan Joe Giddings from Star Collector, popular California veterans Circe Link and Christian Nesmith, and of course, Brown himself along with former Uncle Green bandmates Pete McDade and Jeff Jensen.
Themestock is Sunday, October 7, 2012, at Smith’s Olde Bar.