Sundays Unplugged features local artists

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Sundays Unplugged features local artists

Cassandra Hays, Scene Editor

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Ellensburg is home to several local artists, many of whom have garnered a following within the community after performing at various venues downtown. One venue is Cornerstone Pie, located at 307 E 5th Ave, which hosts Sundays Unplugged, a weekly live concert series at Cornerstone which features acoustic music.

The event was originally an outdoor concert series that only took place on weekends during the summer. This past year, Cornerstone decided to extend the series throughout the year by moving the live music inside during the colder months.

Caesar Caldaron, co-front house manager, said that a lot of the artists who perform are local musicians. The artists are found through Facebook, Youtube and word of mouth. Some artists simply come in and introduce themselves. Cornerstone has featured musicians from Ellensburg, Wenatchee and Leavenworth.

Many local artists are regular performers at Cornerstone. Abbigale Smith performs frequently, and Dan James usually performs every third Sunday, according to Caldaron.

Sundays Unplugged features a variety of genres, including country, folk, classic rock and alternative. Caldaron said the most common genres of music performed are typically blues or jazz. While performances usually consist of a single artist, groups of two or three may perform.

Caldaron said Sundays Unplugged has received a positive response from the community.

“We have a lot of customers that regularly come every Sunday,” Caldaron said. “Not only that, but for our live music in the summertime.”

Caldaron said that most of the audience is local residents, but plenty of college students tend to come as well. Typically, the dining room is filled with customers on Sunday nights when there is live music.

Billy Mac is a regular performer at Sundays Unplugged. He said he got his first guitar when he was in fourth grade, and has been playing ever since. Growing up, he played bass in several different bands in junior high. More recently he began playing with a band called Better Day, who released three CDs and performed all over the northwest before breaking up. Mac said he enjoys playing Americana style music and he writes most of the songs he performs. He is inspired by family, the community and even politics.

Mac plays at several different venues around Downtown Ellensburg, and enjoys playing music for the community.

“We just play around town and have a lot of fun,” Mac said.

Mac said a lot of the people who come to Cornerstone to see him perform were fans of the band Better Day, and continued to follow Mac after the band broke up. He has gained a small local following after releasing his own music and performing regularly at Sundays Unplugged, and he interacts frequently with his audience between songs and after performances. Mac said he likes drawing the community in to enjoy music together.

Caldaron said that owners Mark Holloway and Donna Malek started Sundays Unplugged in response to a demand from the community for live music.

“There’s not a lot of places in Ellensburg or really around the area where you can listen to live music,” Caldaron said.

He said that live performances in Ellensburg are especially scarce during the wintertime, when venues need to be indoors. Holloway and Malek wanted Cornerstone to be a place where the community could gather on the weekends.

“That to me is what’s really special about Cornerstone is just the fact that we’re trying to cater to the community,” Caldaron said. “People can come and get together, and just listen to music and have good food.”

Cornerstone’s outdoor concert series will begin in June. Live performances will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.