Local singer-songwriters among talent at Crossroads Acoustic Fest

Seymour Crossroads Entertainment takes pride in bringing world-class talent to the city.

One way that’s accomplished is during Crossroads Acoustic Fest, where singer-songwriters perform in multiple listening rooms in downtown Seymour over the course of two nights.

That was conducted in 2018 and 2019 before having to be canceled the next three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This past weekend, it returned with artists from a variety of places and genres performing at the Jackson County Visitor Center, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 655, Knights of Columbus Council 1252 and Brewskies Downtown.

Each year the festival has been conducted, local singer-songwriters also have had opportunities to be in the spotlight.

This year, that included Harvey Adams of Seymour on Friday night and Forrest Turner and Justyn Underwood, both of Medora, Don Pedigo, a Freetown native who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and new band Here’s to Ya, featuring Doug Prather, Gary Myers, Greg Clark, Fred Elam and Kody Engleking, on Saturday night. All of these acts performed at the Eagles.

Adams participated in previous songwriter events conducted by the Crossroads group and was excited to be part of Acoustic Fest for the first time.

He said it’s quite the switch from his past days of being in a heavy metal band.

“All of these acoustic songs are just me being vulnerable and telling stories that I like to tell because I don’t claim to be a guitarist. I just play guitar so I can sing, too, and I don’t claim to be a vocalist. I just sing so I can speak poems that I wrote,” he said.

He appreciated the opportunity to play among the world-class talent. He shared the stage with country singer-songwriter Anthony Ray Wright.

“Oh, it’s awesome,” Adams said. “It’s really cool that they included some local acts. I’ve got a buddy, Forrest (Turner), who is playing, and he’s excellent. We’ve played together a lot in the past year. I’m not country, but we fit together. It’s fun. We have a good time. Then Don Pedigo, I go way back with him a little bit.”

Turner and Underwood sharing the stage was a unique experience because they were two years apart while attending Brownstown Central High School and now live a mile apart from each other.

“We’re used to bars. That’s where the gigs are,” Underwood said. “The bars, a lot of people, they may come to listen, but not like this. I was excited about this because it has got a whole different aspect to it where people are actually paying to come sit and listen and soak in whatever it is you’ve created out of yourself, something that you felt you could put out there and they could actually hear what that is.”

When he received a message from organizer Shawn Busby about playing at Acoustic Fest, Underwood said he immediately replied, “Yes, I’ll be there.”

“This whole experience stripped down, this is awesome. I loved it. It’s a breath of fresh air,” he said. “It was cool to be included in it. I felt honored to be a part of it.”

Turner felt the same way.

“It definitely is a different environment,” he said. “It kind of makes you really pay attention to the instrumentation and the way you enunciate your lyrics. I’m not saying you don’t tell a story when you’re playing in bars, but people are there to get drunk and have a good time. It’s nice to have kind of a different setting.”

Turner said he had seen Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle in concert before and is a big fan of Nicholas Jamerson, so his name being among those on the Acoustic Fest schedule was neat.

“When Shawn messaged me and asked me to be a part of it, it made my whole day,” Turner said.

Pedigo was part of the inaugural Crossroads Acoustic Fest and said it was great to be invited back this year.

“This made my month. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” he said.

This time, he performed as a trio with Matt Crouse of Columbus, Ohio, on percussion and Fred Boekhorst of Amsterdam, Netherlands, on guitar. Saturday night was the first time for Crouse and Boekhorst to play together.

Pedigo met Crouse when he was the drummer at a show at a friend’s barbecue restaurant on the east side of Nashville, where he plays every weekend.

“I started doing this acoustic trio at this little barbecue joint that a friend of mine runs, and it has just sort of turned into a little bit of a revolving door of a few players,” Pedigo said. “Over the course of time, we just get a handful of guys, and if one of the guys can’t make it, they’ve got an A-list player that comes and shows up. (Crouse and Boekhorst) have played for some big artists, and they like my music, so they were going to come play with me.”

Pedigo said Busby has been a big supporter of his music over the years, and he appreciates him reaching out about coming back to Acoustic Fest.

“He reached out to me, shot me a text and said, ‘Hey, would you like to come and play the fest this year?’ I tell you what, it really warmed my heart,” Pedigo said. “When you live away from home and get invited to come back home to play a wonderful festival like this, I play a lot and this is a really good gig, and for him to invite me, I was just glowing, man.”

He said it was great to look out in the crowd and see familiar faces and also people he didn’t know.

“I was really looking forward to this because I look out and I see people that I’ve known for years, I see some new faces, I see their children now. It gives more meaning to what I’m doing,” Pedigo said.

It also was surreal because he said he performed on the Eagles stage many times years ago, and his cousin is now president of the lodge.

“It feels really good to be here,” Pedigo said. “It’s awesome to get to play here.”

Here’s to Ya closed out the third edition of Crossroads Acoustic Fest. It was the band’s first gig, and they played a variety of cover songs.

To stay up to date on other events planned by Seymour Crossroads Entertainment, visit facebook.com/crossroadsacousticfest and click “like.”