It's a long-running joke in Orlando, you have to go North to get South. We're the Southern most state in America, but our culture here is influenced not only by our location on the map but the never ending sunshine and beautiful beaches surrounding us on three sides. The sandy surfer culture of the coasts blends with inland towns keeping the Florida cracker heritage alive. You're as likely to pass an old woodie station wagon hauling a surfboard on its roof on our highways as you are to pass a jacked up pickup truck covered in mud. We're South but we're not, but we are.
And, Floridians haven't heard a better love-song praising our unique Southernish culture than in the title song to Sean Holcomb's album "South of the South."
Holcomb was born and raised in Orlando, making him a rarity in a city full of transplants. He began playing guitar when he was 11 and has since learned to play cello, mandolin, and banjo. While living in Colorado and working on a cattle ranch when he was 24, he started writing his first songs. He's been back in The City Beautiful since 2009 and his music is as diverse as Orlando with country lyrics meeting rock beats meeting his sultry soulful voice.
He's the winner of the 2015 Songwriter Rounds sponsored by The Wolf 103.1 and has graced the stage with names like Kenny Chesney, Rhett Akins, and more. He's played his music from here to California, building up a cross-country fan base and showing the rest of the country what kind of talent we have living in our city.
On Saturday, August 12, he will take the stage at downtown's newest venue for live music in Orlando, Ace Cafe. For those of you who don't know the history, the Ace comes to us from London where it started as a simple roadside cafe and transformed over time into a favorite spot for bikers to hang out in the 1960's. A few years ago, the owners decided they wanted to open a spot here in the US, and traveled from city to city for an entire year not finding one they liked. Orlando wasn't even on their original list of places to visit. But, at the end of their tour, on a whim, they decided to visit our beautiful city and fell in love with downtown and the old building on Livingston. After two years of renovation, the Ace Cafe | Orlando opened this past June.
Now, they're bringing that classic car and motorcycle love to Downtown Orlando. And what can be more Southern than a country album release party at downtown Orlando's biggest biker and car show hangout? Doors open at 7:00 pm and the music starts at 8:00 with opening act Beemo and Sean to follow during the Sean Holcomb Album Release Party.
Get To Know Sean Before The Show:
I had the opportunity to chat with Sean a bit about his music and how growing up in Orlando influenced "South of the South." His love for Florida, music, and family were evident, but, I won't tell you everything, I'll let you read what he has to say below.
Q: Which is your favorite instrument?
A: The guitar is the easiest, I’ve been playing it for 21 years, but the cello is my favorite. My younger brother started playing when he was about 11 and when I lived in Colorado, I found one on Craigslist and I went to buy it, and here I am in Colorado Springs buying a cello that turned out to be from Orlando, FL and I was like it was meant to be.
Q: Is Orlando your favorite city to perform in?
A: Yeah, right now, I think it's definitely been the place I perform in the most. I have some venues that I enjoy that are close to my heart in Tampa and West Palm, but Orlando is where I have family and friends and a following and where the shows are the most fun.
Q: Other than the Ace Cafe, which venue is your favorite in Orlando?
A: Wekiva Island. When we're there, we play at night and they have this wine bar set up and it turns into like a listening room. There are no TV's going, no other distractions, everyone’s there for the music. Into the first set, it’s always packed and it’s standing room only, all watching and listening as opposed to other sports bars where everyone's watching the TV or talking and we become background music.
Q: Do you prefer the studio or performing live?
A: That’s tough, it’s two different things. The studio is immediate gratification, you go in and start creating and you think you have an idea but by the time you walk it's so different and when you walk out you have this demo in your hand you didn’t have eight hours before. It’s something tangible. We were recording South for four months and after we were done I literally didn’t know what to do with my day. That part is so much fun. Playing live is gratifying but it’s a different feel. It’s not something you take out of yourself instead you're watching everyone else having a blast. I don’t know which one I like more but I like both for different reasons.
Q: What inspired you to write "South of the South?"
A: I’ll tell you when I was cowboying in Colorado, everyone I met out there said I had a southern accent, and when I’d tell them I’m from Orlando they wouldn’t believe me because they didn't think Orlando was south enough for a southern accent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell people it’s a southern state. My parents were born here we have a background in agriculture. Florida up until about six or seven years ago we were the highest cattle producing state in America, and people don’t realize that. Just because we have beaches and everything else, we’re still southern. That’s what inspired me to write about it.
Q: Being from Orlando, how do you feel about the way it’s changed over the years?
A: It’s something that just happens. Everything changes. There are malls now and six lane highways now where there used to be land, but I love this town. It’s where I grew up and I’ve seen a lot of good change. A lot of new businesses. It’s cool to me especially as a musician. The more it grows the better a shot everyone has of following their own path and doing what they want to do. It’s exciting. I have a son, he’s 11, and from when he was born to when he gets to be my age I don’t know what the landscapes gonna look like but I'm hopeful.
Q: In your promo video, you say, "Music is emotion." Do you feel more inspired when you're in a sad place or when you're happy?
A: One of my buddies, a songwriter in Nashville once said, "there’s no better time in a songwriter's life than when you're going through a break-up," and that’s very true. I think you definitely get more inspired creativity-wise during the low lows. In fact, on my record, every song is somewhat autobiographical. If you listen to the record, I think you’ll have no doubt where I was when I wrote it.
Q: So, since you're playing at the Ace Cafe, I have to ask, are you a motorcycle guy or are muscle cars your thing?
I’ve had bikes and I love bikes. If I had to choose I’d go with a motorcycle any day. I like cruisers. It’s about finding a place to ride and enjoy without looking over your shoulder all the time. One day I hope to have a ranch of my own, somewhere out west, where I can ride.
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