AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – A new partnership between Auburn University’s Gogue Center for Performing Arts and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. is bringing a special performance to audiences across the country and centered on Alabama.

While the Gogue Center is currently closed to the public amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be presenting “Music of Alabama: Rynea Soul, the Pine Hill Haints and Larry Mitchell” part of the Kennedy Center’s new Couch Concert series.

The Couch Concert series started streaming in April 2020 and broadcasts digitally throughout the U.S. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Each broadcast shows a unique spotlight performance, with National Spotlight concerts on Mondays featuring artists selected by performing arts institutions across the U.S.

The June 1 livestream at 4 p.m./3 p.m. CDT will be the first in the series to focus on Alabama-based musicians and will include performacnes by RyNea Soul, the Pine Hill Haints, and Larry Mitchell. The “Music of Alabama” series is curated by Amy Miller, the director of programming and education for the Gogue Center.

“The Kennedy Center’s Couch Concert series reflects the vast spectrum of the American cultural landscape in these performances,” said Miller. “The series showcases incredible artistic diversity, highlighting artists from large urban areas and entire states from coast to coast.”

Miller believes the featured spotlights for the three artists will represent three of Alabama’s distinct geographic regions and musical styles.

“We wanted to present the breadth and variety of extraordinary talent that exists throughout Alabama,” Miller said. “When it comes to music, there are some tremendously cool things happening here. The Gogue Center is committed to celebrating the arts and artists of Alabama, and I hope this Couch Concert National Spotlight will help to raise awareness of our state as a nexus of culture and creativity.”

The Couch Concert series was started by the Kennedy Center in response to the coronavirus pandemic and features artists performing from their homes or in remote studios. The artist showcased during the performances will be practicing social distancing and are participating from their homes in Birmingham, Muscle Shoals, and Opelika.

A look at the peformers by the Gogue Center for Performing Arts:

  • LaShondra R. Hemphill, also known as RyNea Soul, is a DJ, producer and educator. A singular creative force in the beat and electronic scene in Birmingham, she ingeniously crafts sound art with dusty drums, soulful samples and spacey synths. Hemphill is the founder and executive director of The Initiative for Creative Arts, Inc., an organization that exposes youth to hip-hop culture, music production and technology, as well as SheShock Hip Hop Academy, an interactive, creative and educational music technology program designed to empower, encourage and inspire women and to engage with music technology.
  • The Pine Hill Haints, who originally formed in Auburn, have over two decades become integral to the fabric of the Muscle Shoals and Alabama music scenes. They play a traditional bluegrass/folk/honkytonk style self-described as “Alabama Ghost Music.” The Pine Hill Haints
    have toured the world, recorded a dozen albums, and garnered a massive following throughout America. They recently signed to Single Lock Records in Muscle Shoals to release their 12th studio album.
  • Based in Opelika, Alabama, Larry Mitchell is a Grammy Award-winning producer, engineer and performer who has shared the stage with artists including Tracy Chapman, Billy Squier, Ric Ocasek and Miguel Bosé. In his original compositions, Mitchell skillfully weaves guitar textures that showcase his virtuosity as a solo artist and ensemble player. He continues to tour and is currently promoting his ninth solo release, “Déjà Vu.”