When not shepherding talent at his recording studio Arbor Ridge or writing sunny pop-rock tunes of his own, you might find Jeff Crawford guiding believers as the minister of music at the Gathering Church. That double-duty as local tastemaker and spiritual fellow has made for solo and church projects alike; both brim with warm harmonies and a laid-back Americana essence. In church, that sound means old hymns ratcheted up with Tom Petty grooves. In solo sessions, it makes for openhearted lyrics bolstered by assured hooks. For this Farmers Market series, the crowd will get a taste of both.
"Heather LaGarde from Saxapahaw has talked to me about getting my solo music out there for a while, and then asked about the Hymns project, so we decided to combine the two," explains Crawford. The band will present two sets—one of solo material and one featuring tunes from the aforementioned Hymns from the Gathering Church record, an album of old favorites reinterpreted by local musicians, both skeptics & saved.
"I've been wanting to play a solo set out there since we did one with Mandolin Orange a few years ago," Crawford says. "I like playing early and outside." —Ashley Melzer