A Nashville insider plans to bring a group of songwriters to experience the Forgotten Coast.
Karen Brooks arrived in Carrabelle by boat and liked what she saw. She is still a resident of the waterfront and plans to bring some friends to town to share her new home.
Brooks, born in Dallas, Texas, worked in the music industry for more than a decade, as a background singer with Jerry Jeff Walker, David Allan Coe and Townes Van Zandt, to name a few.
“Faking Love,” a duet she recorded with T. G. Sheppard, topped the chart in 1983.She has also recorded duets with Johnny Cash and Randy Sharp.
Now she has a new project. Brooks wants to help Nashville songwriters reconnect with their working class roots by experiencing the working world first-hand. As part of her project, Brooks said she will bring six songwriters to Carrabelle in April.
On the agenda for the group is an old-fashioned barber shop shave, a historic tour of Carrabelle, a talk on the city by Carrabelle Mayor Curley Messer and other Carrabelle elders, a writers’ workshop at the Carrabelle library and two days on Jim Lycette’s working shrimp boat, the “Pirate’s Sons.”
Brooks said the visitors will also perform at the Dixie Theatre one evening during their stay.
The visit will be the beginning of a tour that will expose the songwriters to other rural activities including cattle ranching, mountain climbing and prospecting. “These guys are bubbas and they are going to be so funny,” she said.
Brooks said Pete Winter of Winterstone Productions of Tallahassee plans to document the experiment on film.
In a proposal for the project, she wrote, “There was a time when history was passed down to the population for the purpose of preserving their heritage. This was done by storytelling. That is what we do in Nashville, we tell stories in song. We want to give our melodic writers a chance to be a part of this heritage by inviting them to participate in this first-hand experience of the career, humor and life stories that make America the amazing place we live and work everyday.”
Brooks said she has about 10 applicants for the program but can only accept six. She said Carlene Carter and Chas Sandford are expected to attend. “We hope to include a couple of young writers and a local writer,” she said.
Messer and Commissioner Charlotte Schneider are working directly with Brooks on the project. Schneider said she believes the visit will be an eye-opener for participating artists.
“This coastal area is a way of life that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” she said.
“Where else can you walk on the beach and see a bear playing in the surf?” agreed Brooks.