Years ago, Chuck Cox, the owner of Satori Coffee House in Mobile, Alabama, was approached by Justin St. Clair — an associate professor from the University of South Alabama — who hoped to get a concert series off the ground for area students frustrated about limited access to local live music.
That coffee shop originally opened as Satori Sound Records back in 1988, but the rise of digital music distribution forced the owner to change his business model. However, the musical legacy of the space has continued, as Cox was kind enough to offer to host the series for St Clair, and October 17th, 2009 was the first concert event – a performance by New Orleans group Hurray for the Riff Raff – for the Independent Music Collective (IMC), now a registered student organization at the University of South Alabama.
St Clair tells American Songwriter the organization has grown since its inception, but performances at the coffeehouse remain a constant, “The Independent Music Collective (IMC) runs one of the strangest little concert series on the Gulf Coast: once-a-month, pop-up, shows at Satori Coffee House in Mobile, Alabama, featuring some of the nation’s preeminent singer/songwriters in an intimate, listening-room environment.”
Over the years the IMC concert series has hosted several events every semester and will soon be releasing the vinyl-only compilation IMC Volume One as a limited-run LP featuring live performances from the first ten years of the IMC Concert Series.
About the release, St Clair said, “We wanted to do something special to celebrate our tenth anniversary, so we’re absolutely thrilled to have received a major grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation to press a record. From our very first show — Hurray for the Riff Raff on October 17, 2009 — we’ve made high-quality, multitrack recordings of the performances, so one of the most difficult aspects of putting together this LP has been choosing what to include. We have recorded so much great music over the past decade. In fact, we finally decided to call the compilation IMC VOLUME ONE, because we’re going to have to release a follow-up!”
The LP features performances by Ray Bonneville, Richard Buckner, Ryan Culwell, Sam Doores, Tim Easton, Malcolm Holcombe, Will Johnson, Marie/Lepanto, Ramsay Midwood, Gurf Morlix, and Charlie Parr who provides a stirring and indelibly soulful rendition of Claude Ely’s classic “Ain’t No Grave” to the compilation.
This record an excellent reminder of how individual have the power to work together and create a vibrant music and arts scene in any community, and Justin St Clair is very appreciative to have had the opportunity to work on this project for the last decade. “There are so many people to thank, I don’t even know where to begin. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to producer Will Tyson, to the fine folks at Satori, to all the musicians who’ve played for us, and to the many people who have donated their precious time and resources to the IMC project.”
The limited vinyl-only compilation will first be made available to attendees of a special symposium at the University of South Alabama on March 2nd which will feature a performance by Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, a presentation on roots music by Peter Cooper from the Country Music Hall of Fame, and roundtable discussion with renowned singer-songwriter Will Johnson.
Stream Charlie Parr’s “Ain’t No Grave” and check out rootsonrecord.org for more information about the project and symposium.