The Florida Chautauqua Theater Hosts Tim Jackson’s Storytellers Tour
November 15, 2022 by SoWal Staff
The Florida Chautauqua Theater in Defuniak Springs is the historic setting for the most recent edition of the Tim Jackson’s Storytellers Tour.
The popular live music series is a monthly opportunity that brings storytellers/songwriters to the historic downtown to perform their original music.
Featured artists from the tour have found inspiration in the small-town surroundings, writing lyrics about train tracks, food trucks and the perfectly round, spring-fed lake, at the center of DeFuniak Springs. The town was recently the setting for a music video featuring some of the artists featured on the tour.
While the tour is new to DeFuniak Springs, it debuted in the Southeast over six years ago. For the past year, The Tim Jackson’s Storytellers Tour has held residency at one of South Walton’s favorite live music venues, Stinky’s Bait Shack on Scenic 30A.
“Artists from all over the world are calling me about the tour's newest venue. They share with each other the experience of performing in a charming theater, including the enthusiastic audience reception. It’s made it a little easier to book exceptional talent. We are so grateful for the opportunity to perform in this historic theater,” says Jackson.
The debut performance generated the highest attendance ever for a live music act since the reopening of the historic theater. Many lifetime residents were in attendance, including Kim Wennerberg who shared her excitement and support through her social network saying, “I can’t believe what I experienced in my own little hometown. I cried 4 times during Jenn Bostic’s performance! It was amazing.”
Tim Jackson and Linda Harris are longtime locals who recently settled in DeFuniak Springs after purchasing their forever home around the lakeyard. His two-time Grammy-Award winning status is the last thing you would hear him tout. What he will tell you about is his tireless pursuit to connect audiences with storytellers.
“What matters most to me is that the storyteller and the audience have a chance to genuinely connect,” says Jackson. “After the show, we all meet and greet the audience. The exchanges are so personal and beautiful. That is why I do what I do,” says Jackson.
The next show will be November 26th and will feature international touring artist Dan Smalley. Also featured is Jared Herzog, a Niceville native and former contestant on season 17 of NBC's “The Voice.”
The December 16th performance will feature international recording artists Greg Barnhill and Joanna Cotten. Doors open at 6:30 pm; showtime is 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at www.FloridaChautuaqua.com.
You can follow Tim Jackson’s Storytellers Tour on his Instagram @timjacksonmusic and Facebook @timjacksontour. For more information about the Tim Jackson’s Storytellers Tour, please contact Tim Jackson, (850) 699-2824.
The Florida Chautauqua Theater was built in the 1920’s in connection with the growth and prosperity DeFuniak Springs received from being the host of the Winter Chautauqua. As the home of The Florida Chautauqua, DeFuniak Springs served as the cultural center of Florida and was host to several famous orators. The theater was constructed to serve as a movie house, the only one in Walton County, and contained an orchestra pit which was used during the silent movie era. The theater was closed in 1984 but in 1989 The Florida Chautauqua, Inc. began sponsoring live productions in the theater for the benefit of the community. In 1996 a historical perseveration grant in excess of $500,000 restored the theater to it’s 1920’s glory. It has operated continuously since the renovation as a performing arts community theater hosting education classes and live performances supporting the arts.
Tim Jackson is a five decade veteran musician, songwriter, and performer who signed to his first record deal when he was just 17. His persistence for walking his own path led to a life filled with extraordinary people, twists of fate, and stories that inspired a wide-ranging body of musical works.
Constantly called a favorite co-writer by some of the biggest writers in the country, Tim has been nominated for two Grammys and written one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2016 Best Songs of the Year. He has shared the stage with some of the biggest stars the industry has ever known, from Keith Urban to Lionel Richie. Some 1200 songs later, he continues to write with artists from every genre, as well as his own solo work.
Dan Smalley may just now be making a name for himself, but he already sings with the voice of experience. And he’s got the bullet scars to prove it. The Alaska native who came of age in Shreveport, Louisiana, sings his confessional, soul-baring songs with deep conviction. Smalley expresses a fresh take on Country music that knows tradition, inspired by the greats of the genre and infused with the swampy sounds of his roots, the Gospel of hardwood church pews and the impassioned delivery of R&B. Artists like Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Al Green and Willie Nelson provided a musical roadmap for Smalley to follow, and the against-the-grain success of Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson drew him to Nashville. There, he began working with producer Keith Stegall, known for his award-winning work with greats like Alan Jackson, George Jones and Zac Brown Band. Ashley McBryde(Grammy Nominated album “Never Will”) Trace Adkins, Ray Fultcher, Randall King, Makayla Lynn, Dillon Carmichael and others have included Smalley co-writes on their recent albums. Smalley’s experience and command on stage has landed him on bills alongside Willie Nelson, Allison Kraus, Turnpike Troubadours, Ashley McBryde, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Eli Young Band, Justin Moore, Dwight Yoakam, Randy Rogers Band and a list of notable others.
Jared Herzog is a singer-songwriter originally from Niceville and former contestant on season 17 of NBC's “The Voice.” Growing up on gospel and worship music, Jared became influenced by the smooth, emotional melodies and joined the choral and ensemble groups in his school and church. In these groups, he competed in the highest levels of state and carried his pursuit of music into his studies at Lee University.
Jared began his professional music career by gigging full time in the 30A (panhandle of Florida) area when Covid put a halt to his career in Nashville. It was in Florida that he met industry-leading producers, musicians, and managers, who prompted him to move back to Nashville. After performing on Broadway in Nashville, as well as other downtown locations, Jared has just recently relocated to Blue Mountain Beach to continue his artistry in a greater way than ever before. Jared has drawn inspiration from John Mayer, Allen Stone, and Ed Sheehan over the years, but is now producing music that has it’s own pop-soul sound.
Originally from New Orleans, Greg Barnhill has been writing and performing his entire life. Artists from Etta James, Martina McBride, and Jessica Simpson to Chicago, Tim McGraw, Lee Ann Womack, Leona Lewis and many in between have embraced his songs. “Walkaway Joe,” recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Don Henley, was a significant milestone to his career. The song went on to earn him a Grammy nomination as well as the respect of his peers that follows him to this day.Barnhill also had a crossover smash with “House of Love” for Amy Grant and Vince Gill. Other hit songs include “Same Ol Love”, “99.9% Sure I’ve Never Been Here Before”, “She’s Taken’ A Shine” and “Never Been Kissed”. He garnered critical claim with the 2014 single, Gary Allan's" It Ain't The Whiskey" which got rave reviews for its bold take on the issue of addiction.
While Barnhill’s chart successes are impressive, he has also recorded, written, and produced a number of TV themes and jingles. In 2007, Greg earned an Emmy nomination for his hit “It’s A New Day” for ‘The Today Show’. You can also hear his work on “CNN”, “Fox and Friends,” “The View,” “Baywatch,” “Growing Pains,” “Murphy Brown,” Crown Royal, Tennessee Titans (NFL), Nashville Predators (NHL), Atlanta Braves (MLB) and other national and regional sports teams, businesses and television programs.
After 8 years on tour with Eric Church, Joanna Cotton left the tour in August of 2022. Joanna Cotten is the baton carrier for Funkabilly music - her own special blend of blues, funk, and country genres unlike anything else around. Joanna describes her passion for vocals: “I have to sing for people, that’s just the way it is,” she says. “It’s like a beast inside of me that has to come out, and it’s been that way since I was a baby girl.”