My music writing has allowed me to meet a huge number of folks who are just as passionate as I am about the medium. Locally, I've talked to, argued with, and become great friends with musicians, promoters, radio personalities, fans, and just about any other kind of person who loves music. Of all the folks I've met, there are a few that immediately come to mind as the biggest fans, the most passionate promoters, and the loudest critics.
Joel Frank is one of those people on the short list. To say that Joel is passionate about music is like saying the Pope is passionate about Catholicism. He worked in radio for a number of years at stations including 96 Wave and The Bridge. During his time at The Bridge, he championed bands both local and national, and worked his ass off making the station sound great. We butted heads more than a few times over stories I wrote, or simply about our differing opinions about music. For instance, he considers The Beatles a "boy band." Those are his exact words, but as he's a Rolling Stones fan, so he's biased. I write that with a smile on my face, because even with our disagreements, we're good friends. He has great taste in music (except when it comes to The Beatles, obviously), and he never misses a chance to experience a new sound or act.
So why the sudden Joel Frank love fest in this space? A couple of reasons, actually. First, Frank has joined forces with another local music professional, Ben Bounds, who runs Follywood Productions, a local booking agency. The pair have formed Y'all Entertainment, which will promote and book bands, shows, and other events locally. Frank and Bounds paired up for "Mac'n at the 'Drome," a benefit concert thrown for local musician Mac Leaphart, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year (Leaphart has made amazing progress since getting the tumor removed, and is back playing live). That event proved so successful that Frank and Bounds decided to continue collaborating. According to Frank, "'Mac'n at the 'Drome' showed we could bring together each other's talents, as well as compensate for each other's weaknesses." Frank also says that Y'all Entertainment isn't trying to go after the other, longer established promotion businesses in town, and Frank says that in fact they hope to be able to collaborate with those other businesses.
To kick things off for Y'all Entertainment, Frank and Bounds are throwing a party this Sunday, July 29, at Home Team BBQ in West Ashley. It's an all-ages show open to the public, and will feature local musicians such as Mac Leaphart, Tyler Mechem, Danielle Howle, Luke Cunningham, Reid Stone, as well as the first local full band performance by the Clemson band The Tarlatans. Frank says that some other surprise guests might show up to play as well.
The second reason I'm shining the spotlight on Joel is because Sunday's party also marks his 10th anniversary living in the Lowcountry (he's originally from Charlotte), as well as his 30th birthday. It ought to be a fun time. Good food and drink (Home Team is my favorite BBQ in Charleston), good music, and good company. Congrats to Frank and Bounds on the new venture, and happy birthday to you Joel. I still maintain that the Beatles top the Stones any day though.