Having a Blast with Local Music

  • Posted on: 21 April 2021
  • By: Annie Phillips

Music in Huntsville and North Alabama has always had strong roots and a far-reaching legacy. WC Handy, Mervyn Warren, Rose Maddox, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Jim Nabors, Spooner Oldham, GMANE, Rick Hall, Brittany Howard, Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell, Dave Anderson, Susanna Phillips, the Oakwood Aeolians. These names and so many more represent just a fraction of the talent that has come out of North Alabama and continues to be a gift to the world.

Supported by the Marguerite Cartwright Hawthorne endowment bequeathed to HMCPL, we are proud to announce the launch of Blast, a platform built specifically for our library to showcase and stream local music.

On April 19, Blast sent out a call for submissions to all artists who are in the Tennessee Valley counties of Alabama (Colbert, DeKalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan). This inaugural submission round will run through June 30. From those submissions, 25 artists will be invited to submit their full EP/album to Blast to start building a collection of North Alabama music that everyone in the community can discover and enjoy. With the help of the Hawthorne endowment, each artist accepted to Blast will receive an honorarium of between $200-$300 in recognition of their contribution. Beginning in 2022, HMCPL plans to run two submission rounds per year for Blast, allowing for regular opportunities for artists to submit and help us grow Blast's local music catalog. 

Submissions are carefully considered by a curator team made up of a mix of music-loving HMCPL staff members and representatives from our local music community. Decades worth of producing, writing and writing about music, and performing are all part of the skills and experience they bring to the Blast team. After the curator team considers and invites the first round of albums to launch the collection this summer, music lovers can go directly to the Blast page and stream amazing music, no log-ins or library card needed to listen!

Blast is just another avenue for HMCPL to connect with the rich cultural and arts scene in our community. By working in alignment with the Music Initiative of the City of Huntsville, we not only showcase the talents of our local artists, we also reimburse them for sharing their music. We demonstrate how different organizations can work harmoniously to show real appreciation and illustrate the worth of our artistic and musical community.

Visit Blast today for FAQs and find out how you to submit. If you'd like to be added to the Blast mailing list for announcements and news, or to ask a question, please contact us at blast@hmcpl.org