Jacquie is a musician, performance artist, and podcaster. Although she is now 15 mintues away in Alabaster, she lived in Montevallo from 2013 to August of 2015 and is currently in the process of moving back to town. She is photographed in front of her old apartment complex, Falcon Manor II, where she hosted regular house shows for local musicians.
On her experience in Montevallo
" I do experimental music, and I think my most applicable talent is making music and curating events. I’m living about 15 minutes away in Alabaster, and I’m waiting on jobs to line up so I can move back down here. I feel like I have unfinished business. When I was living in Falcon Manor, I had an apartment with a couple different people over time and eventually by myself. Throughout the time I was living here, I hosted shows. I had shows with me on the bill, and then a couple of locals, and then a band from Birmingham, or art students, or songwriters I liked. That was the most valuable experience I had- being able to curate gatherings regularly. [The Falcon Manor apartment] was a spot to go to where it was always going to be interesting and you could learn things and discuss ideas. Those are the times I get nostalgic about because I haven’t replicated that. I didn’t set out to do that- we were just all around and we wanted to have parties and throw shows and play, and we got a good opportunity to do that.
My podcast came out of that because there were a lot of people to talk to about interesting things. We did multi-band shows where we’d have conversations after and keep people updated on bands from here or close by and what they were doing. That archival historian function served me well. I’d like to have another place for that to come back and start happening. There’s enough of an underground scene to have odd talents and individual people come through and talk about what they like and exchange ideas, and I want to continue that."
On the Montevallo music and art scene
"It’s cool because there’s nothing like a captive audience. There’s one venue in town that a lot of people go to, and that’s Eclipse. Having a select place that’s comfortable, and usually the shows are free, and everybody knows it already… it draws a lot of people. Any bands that I know that come through here generally do well. Having a lot of art students and a lot of creative people anyway, and having a good central place for that to all happen, that does a lot for the artistic scene. There’s galleries on campus, there are visual artists, there are functions like the ArtWalk that go on… there’s enough happening without the spread of something like Birmingham. It’s the right amount of odd artistic people, and the place to do it.
I’ve noticed a lot of support… the Blue Phrog will take pieces from young, upstart art students because they’re good at what they do. There’s not a crunch- the population is just big enough to have a lot of stuff going on and a lot of influences, but it’s not big enough that we factionalize. There’s not tension between one type of people and another because we’ll all end up in the same place anyways. It has a lot to do with the size of the place but also the inclusivity. We don’t have to say 'keep Montevallo weird'. We don’t have to build atmosphere because it’s here already."
The Montevallo energy
"It’s a comfortable spot that wasn’t too big that I could use to figure out what I wanted to do artistically and as a person. It’s an accepting atmosphere that’s not threatening. I left here after about two years and went to Birmingham to try to be a small fish in a bigger pond, and I missed all the people that I met here because it’s very inclusive. Nobody seems uncomfortable with living here. There’s a spirit of the town that’s not kitschy. It’s not like we feel like we have to pull together and be a part of something- we all just happen to be a part of something at the same time. I made long lasting friendships, and it gave me a place and a group of friends to experiment with and help me figure out what I wanted to do. That’s always valuable, but I really needed it at the time.
We’ll throw a party, and there will be bands at the party from here, from Birmingham, and touring bands. Montevallo parties end up more open and energetic than other places I’ve been. If you go to a show at Eclipse, there’s almost always somebody dancing. People come here knowing something is going to happen that they’d want to see. Obviously the town pulls together a lot for big events, stuff that happens in Orr Park, Art Walk and things, but having a lot of young creative people in one spot lends itself to an energy that a town this small can contain and give a home to. It’s a perfect storm of youthful hope and artistic cynicism- we know how good we have it because there aren’t a lot of spots like this in Alabama. "
On her future in Montevallo
"[My biggest surprise] was that I could make friends. I found like minds, and that was something I really needed. I was welcomed and I was valued by the people who were here already and the people that came in. I’d never been in that spot before where I was the person that people would say, ‘oh you’ve got to meet this person, they do this!’ People valued me for who I was, and I hadn’t really had that before.
[I plan on staying] maybe a couple of years. I’m not drawn to any other places in the US, but the way Alabama’s looking, I don’t know how long I want to stay here. I think there’s a lot to do here and it’s a good breeding ground for people to cut their teeth, but it is a college town. People are always going to leave and go on and try to make what they learned here applicable and successful elsewhere. I can see being here for a few years and then going off and trying to do whatever comes out of that."
"There’s a lot of talent here, and there’s always talent coming in. There are a lot of other people who can do what I want to do as far as bringing people into a single place. I think a lot of people know how good a spot like this is when they leave. Acknowledge while you’re here to make the best of your time here and to use your talents and the talents of the people around you to a bigger end. If you’re going to throw a party, use that party to make something happen, because all of the people that are going to come are your friends who are talented. Know how good you’ve got it- this is a cool place."