As a musician and songwriter, when Chris Timbers began preparing for the next phase in his career with the launch of his new album this year, he began to reflect on all of the people who have supported him along the way.
He realized that much of what he has accomplished could not have been done without the help of his network of fellow musicians, friends and family. So Timbers wanted to do something to help other artists who are getting started or could use an opportunity to network in Loudoun County.
Timbers approached Azmi Zarou, owner of Spanky's Shenanigans pub in Leesburg, and working with his friend Beckwith Bolles they came up with a plan to host acoustic Saturdays at Spanky's starting Jan. 12.
The event series – called Voices of Loudoun – offers local musicians the opportunity to sign up to play at Spanky's between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. every Saturday between Jan. 12 and March 2. After the March 2 show, votes will be tallied and a prize of free recording studio time will be given to the top performer.
“Each week, artists will be playing and competing to win studio time. There is no age limit. However, they must perform at least one original song,” Timbers said.
Timbers said his career has included some tough times, and a lot of people stepped up to support him. He wants to give back in a similar way to other independent musicians.
“It is a way of giving back and meeting more local singer-songwriters and encouraging people to come out and support the original artists in the area. We need more outlets like this around here,” he said.
Bolles said interested musicians will be able to sign up online or by contacting Timbers through his website, christimbers.com.
“We are getting a great response so far. We have so much talent in Loudoun,” Bolles said.
Zarou told the Times-Mirror he is excited to launch this project. The grand prize will include a 30-minute gig at Spanky's on St. Patrick's Day, which is always a packed house.
“My love for music is off the charts, and I look forward to providing a platform for musicians to showcase their work,” Zarou said.
Timbers recently signed a record deal with Rockfish Music in Charlottesville and is getting ready to tour this summer.
“I hope we can help bring songwriters and artists in the area closer together. This is a great forum for everyone to hang out and meet,” he said.