TRAVERSE CITY — It’s music that’s live, local and free — and it’s happening at Horizon Books in Traverse City most weekends.
Musicians have frequented the laid-back venue to perform their original work or cover tunes, depending on the night, in an intimate setting since the Horizon Shine Café opened in the lower level of the bookstore 16 years ago.
It started when local musician Adair Correll approached Horizon owners Vic Herman and Amy Reynolds about playing in the café once a month.
He and a group of other musicians had performed open mic nights at bars but were looking for a different setting.
“We wanted a listening audience instead of the bar atmosphere,” said Correll of Traverse City. “Vic and Amy were very supportive so we met, had a good time and started to add songwriters that we knew,” said Correll, the group’s organizer and administrator.
Since those first five musicians gathered in June of 1997, Songwriters in the Round has grown to include some 50 to 60 musicians and they’ve put together several compilation CDs, underwritten by Horizon.
Correll calls the monthly event a loosely knit consortium and said anyone is welcome to play. They meet the third Friday of the month.
“We don’t have any rules or regulations except that the music has to be original,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s kind of united most of the musicians in Northern Michigan.”
Typically three performers take turns in a round-robin format.
“Everyone has a different style so that’s why we alternate. We try to mix it up,” said Correll.
Two new outlets have been added to the musical roster at the café, including Open Mic Night on the second Saturday of the month and Songwriters on the Horizon, which isn’t a regular event yet, but tries to meet on the first weekend of the month.