Musician launches Elm Street venue

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Although Corey Crowder is still a young man, he's got quite a bit of experience in the rough-and-tumble world of the music business.

A native of Loganville, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has made his living at music for the past seven years. He recorded and released two independent albums -- "Starting All Over" and "Learning to Let Go" -- before signing with Tooth & Nail Records (a subsidiary of entertainment giant EMI) and releasing "Gold and the Sand" in 2008.

After one dance with the big boys, Crowder is now back on his own, having released "Lost & Found" in 2009, and he's working on new material with an eye on showcasing his songs for different recording companies.

Crowder, who with his wife Laney has lived in Covington for about a year, is perhaps best known for having his compositions placed on a number of popular television shows, including MTV's "Real World" and "Road Rules," the CW network's "One Tree Hill" and NBC's "The Biggest Loser."

"I've had a lot of success with film and TV show placements and I've toured all over the country -- I've played every state but four," Crowder, whose music has been described as in the Americana and folk-rock vein, although others view it as country. "It's nice to be able to call music your job.

"I went to college for a year but I knew it wasn't for me. I guess you could say I was in college long enough for my parents to jerk me back home and stop wasting their money. But I will say this for college -- it was where I first started building my musical confidence at open-mic shows."

And when he's not tending to his career, he's lending his considerable expertise to the development of a new all-ages music venue in downtown Covington, Elm Street Live, located in the old Patrick Seed & Feed store on -- you guessed it -- Elm Street.

"I lead the 9:45 a.m. contemporary service at the First Baptist Church," he said. "When Patrick's Seed & Feed became available, the church bought the property and the initial idea was to use it as a youth facility. But I pitched the idea that they should open an all-ages music venue for the people of Covington to come hear live music, so they won't have to go to a smoky bar somewhere in Atlanta."

A large stage has been constructed in the facility and Crowder and a friend designed and installed the sound system.

"If you've ever been in Patrick's, you won't recognize it now," he said. "It's awesome."

Although Crowder -- who will also book acts for the venue -- characterized Elm Street as a "Christian-based place," he said there won't be preaching from the stage, but there will be plenty of positive live music.

"Parents won't have any concerns about dropping their kids off for the evening," he said. "It's an awesome room with great sound and a good, fun crowd. We're looking to put on three or four shows a month and eventually I'd like to have at least one or two shows a week."

Crowder said he envisions Elm Street -- which hosted the band Abandoned Kansas for its opening night in March -- to be much like a similar venue in Greenville (where he and his wife lived for several years while she was studying at Furman) known as Channel.

And Crowder will also perform his own concert at Elm Street on Friday, with half of the proceeds going to the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk.

For more information on Elm Street, visit www.myspace.com/elmstreetvenue. For more information on Corey Crowder, visit www.coreycrowder.net.