"Songwriters in the Round" to feature four local favorites


The folks at the Port Theatre are taking a page from the Blast on the Bay Songwriters Festival.

Next week’s “Thursdays at the Theatre” is being billed as “Songwriters in the Round” with a slate of songwriters with Port St. Joe ties taking the stage together.

Dana and Charlie Black, Troy Jones and Bo Spring will play beginning 7 p.m. ET Feb. 22 in the latest in the popular concert series at the historic Port Theatre in Port St. Joe.

“This is part of making this area aware of this incredible opportunity we have with a performing arts center,” said Natalie Shoaf with the Port Theatre Arts and Cultural Center (PTACC), which is seeking to renovate the theater.

“It takes around 82 volunteer hours for each event. We have a wonderful community that steps up every time.”

Charlie Black, who with wife, Dana, lives in Gulf County, is a member of the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame, was nominated for two Grammys for a song recorded by Anne Murray and his songs have been recorded by the likes of Alan Jackson and Reba McIntire.

A Dana Black-penned song won “Song of the Year” and she also wrote two chart-topping songs, her songs recorded by George Strait, Jackson, Gary Allen and Suzy Bogguss, among others.

Troy Jones is a Port St. Joe native and songwriter in Nashville with songs recorded by the likes of Jackson, Strait, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw.

His “People are Crazy” was nominated for a Grammy and was in the running for both CMA and ACM “Song of the Year.”

Spring, along with The Bo Spring Band, is a local favorite who has performed across the region.

In the past two years, he has concentrated on honing his songwriting skills and The Bo Spring Band released its debut album last year.

The format is for all four artists to share the stage from 7-9 p.m. for a night of great music.

“Thursdays at the Theatre” is booked through April and the historic venue, on the National Register of Historic Places, is rising on the radar of performers and their management companies, Shoaf said.

Performers rave about the acoustics in the space, with or without the anticipated renovations.

“We are starting to get ‘out-of-the-area’ booking companies trying to bring well-known names to the Theatre, even without the renovations,” Shoaf said. “It is just amazing.”

The fundraising also continues, with the PTACC recently securing one $50,000 grant with the hope that the adjournment of the Florida Legislature next month will mean securement of a state historic preservation grant.

The theater is currently listed No. 7 on the list of projects to be funded.

General admission for next week’s “Songwriters in the Round” is $10, with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. ET.

There will be a cash beer-and-wine bar available.

“This is a casual venue, so feel free to bring the dancing shoes and a friend,” Shoaf said.

VIP tickets, offering early entrance at 6 p.m., a meet-and-greet with the performers, preferred seating and a drink ticket are $25.

Tickets are on sales at the Port Inn and Gulf County Chamber of Commerce or online at www.HistoricPortTheatre.com.