Come back to life

The Lively Concert Series returns to The Jones Assembly for another summer of local music, local beer.

Stage view a the Jones Assembly.

For a locally focused, working musician, there’s practically nothing more desirable than a solid, reliable, and most importantly, paying gig.

Throw in a free meal and some beer and it’s basically the Holy Grail.

Even with OKC’s music scene ramping up, and venues of all sizes hitting their strides, there might be nowhere in the state where a local artist can have the red carpet rolled out for them on a weekday like the Lively Concert Series at The Jones Assembly.

“We want this to be a true hub for creativity, and not just in words, but to kind of put our money where our mouth is and be a pillar for that,” said Scott Marsh, operations director for The Jones Assembly. “This is something people work at all day, every day. They live and breathe it. So, if we can be a provider for that, then that’s what we really want.”

With a long, pre-Jones background in band management and booking, Marsh knows as well as anyone the importance of a solid weekday gig with a built-in audience.

“You know, this isn’t just something that we do for a month,” he said. “We do it for nine months out of the year. It’s a long thing. And that gives artists the opportunity to play four or five or six times. So it can really be a consistent gig that lets them know they can do this on a weekday and then it helps to fund whatever they want to do or wherever they want to play on the weekends.”

Of course, when you’re talking about showcasing local singer-songwriter acts on weekday evenings and guaranteeing that they be paid and fed, even a persistently successful and respected establishment like The Jones is going to need a little help to pull it off.

Enter Lively Beerworks, hyper-local purveyors of straightforward, endlessly drinkable brews, and the Jones’ downtown neighbor just across Reno.

“Part of Lively’s ethos has always been to not just sell here, but to be actively involved in the community, whether that’s non-profits or neighbors, and the local music here is a big part of that,” said Jeremiah Esterline, the brewery’s Vice President of Sales.  “So when these guys were looking for a sponsor to help with this concert series, it just made sense.”

The resulting partnership led to more than just some funding assistance and branding rights.

16 ounces more, in fact.

“The Concert Beer was actually secondary,” Esterline said of Lively’s light, tall, and suitably refreshing canned lager designed explicitly for shows at The Jones Assembly.

“It really wasn’t in the original conversations about this partnership, but it’s turned into this huge thing for us. Jones is actually our number one on-premise account now, just because of something that started with musicians and now this kind of ironic beer label that people have fallen in love with,” he said.

Even if audiences can’t seem to get enough of the crowd-pleasingly minimalist beer, it’s not just the promise of tasty, cheap drinks that brings people back for the Lively Concert Series each year.

When people come out to support these shows, they know that they’re supporting local artists, local brewers, and a particularly music-loving, city-loving local venue.

“My goal with the Lively Concert Series, seriously,” Marsh said, “is that if you’re a musician in this city, then I’d love to see you play a Tuesday night at Blue Note, a Wednesday night at Ponyboy, a Thursday night with us at Jones, and then Friday and Saturday be touring somewhere. I just want to see people really have the opportunity to make a life from playing music.”

With that kind of musical life in mind, here are just a few of the upcoming artists set to hit The Jones Assembly stage in April to kick off the Lively Concert Series for 2023.

April 6: Jason Scott

The High Heat’s fearless leader, and steadily rising alt-country darling, Jason Scott will hit the stage for an evening of stripped-down, open-heart, solo renditions of his trademark tragic story songs and southern anthems.

April 12: Isaac McClung

Born in Cali, raised in Maui, and eventually exploding out of Stillwater, McClung crosses folk and blues with hints of indie experimentalism and even some sharp, jazzy edges.

April 14: Chloe-Beth

Singer/songwriter Chloe-Beth has been burning up local stages the past few years with her hushed, delicate songs built around acoustic guitar and a voice powerful enough to stop a train.

April 19: Elizabeth Speegle

With a songwriting style that’s equal parts contemporary jazz and romantic pop, Elizabeth Speegle keeps listeners on their toes with a Swiss Army Knife voice that can cut from subtle soul to passionate plea before you know what hit you.

April 21: Stephen Salewon

After making waves with his unique mashing of folk and soulful R&B, Salewon has recently been branching out and embracing some more experimental, synthy touches and textures that should intrigue even his most familiar audiences.