A bar in Clinton is hosting intimate acoustic concerts around a wood burning stove this winter.
The Whidbey Unplugged concert series will take place at Bailey’s Corner Store on the second Saturday of every month through February.
Lauren Flynn of the band Buried Blonde put together the series. The South Whidbey band played the first show on Nov. 12 and will open for the remaining dates.
Bailey’s summer concerts took place on an outdoor stage. Flynn wanted to try something different — and cozier — for winter shows.
“The first show was everything I had envisioned,” she said.
Atrocity Girl, a Seattle band which Flynn said is “known for being one of the loudest bands in this area,” played a stripped-down set with all four of its members. Milo Mathews, a bass player who took the ferry from Port Townsend, performed his first acoustic show ever.
Buried Blonde had a low-key, folky set, whereas normally their music is “more me screaming into a microphone,” Flynn said.
Audience members listened attentively as musicians shared the meaning behind their songs.
Flynn was inspired by a quote from English writer Jeanette Winterson she discovered when she first moved to the island and was having trouble adjusting to the darkness of Whidbey winters.
The quote states that when the lights are on, people tend to talk about their outer lives. When it’s dark and people are sitting in candlelight, they start to talk about how they are feeling.
“I thought it was cool to stick around afterwards for a lot of the conversation,” Flynn said. “It seemed like it was deeper conversation, that people were touched by deeper stories behind the songs.”
The concert series is a way of honoring the change in season and bringing warmth to the cold and, at times dreary, time of year, according to organizers.
Upcoming artists are a mix of local acts like Eli Moore and Nick Toombs, as well as artists from Everett to Seattle. It is also a mix of genres: heavy rock, funk and soul, singer-songwriter, psychedelic rock and blues. Most of the musicians seldom perform acoustic so this is a rare treat.
“Part of my thing is getting people out of their comfort zones a little bit,” Flynn said.
She thought it was important for Whidbey musicians to have opportunities to perform on the island because playing on the mainland is dictated by the ferry. Additionally, touring is expensive these days.
“I’m always looking for ways to bring community together and create spaces for music,” she said.
Bailey’s Corner Store allows musicians to try different things without having to go on tour and to bring in outside artists and introduce them to the Whidbey music scene.
The next Unplugged show is Dec. 10 and features a blues rock act called AR Band from Granite Falls and Yeti Set Go, a psychedelic surf rick trio from Seattle. Music starts at 6 p.m. The cover charge is a suggested donation of $10 per person.