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Open mic night at Soulshine

Undiscovered musicians will perform tonight in front of the masses and fall prey to the harsh criticism that may or may not await them.  
The fans will choose their favorite, and he or she will rise to fame and have numerous posters and girls’ shirts with his or her face on them everywhere.
No, this is not American Idol, but rather a slightly exaggerated account of what is going to happen tonight at Soulshine Pizza: the Oxford Songwriters Showcase Open Mic.  
The Oxford Songwriters Association, lead by Caroline Hourin, is working hand in hand with Soulshine Pizza Factory to update the Songwriters Night into an American Idol-esque talent show where local musicians can get their big break.
For the past three years, Oxford Songwriters has been hosting this type of event at the Powerhouse. (Little-known fact: the Powerhouse was affectionately dubbed the Troubadour Lounge by the Oxford Songwriters).
Naturally, when both the Oxford Songwriters and Soulshine Pizza were looking to expand their audience and magnify the reach of local music, they teamed up.  
“We’re really excited about the series,” project coordinator Hourin said. “We’re trying to reach as many musicians in the Oxford area as possible.”
Tonight there will be two featured and well-known local artists to serve as anchors for the open mic night: Patrick McClary and John McLeod.  
Those who are fans of Daybreakdown should know Patrick McClary, who is credited for giving the band its Southern rock sound with deep lyrics.
McLeod has been writing pop and rock songs since the 1960s, so those eating at Soulshine should enjoy hearing a weathered musician.
In between the two acts there will be local acts who have to sign up by 8 p.m. tonight to appear at the open mic night, which begins 30 minutes later.
The event is not only to bring more patrons to Soulshine Pizza Factory, but also to create awareness of the local talent in Oxford.  
The customers in the restaurant who double as the musicians’ audience will vote for their favorite act of the night. The musician with the most votes will be awarded a paid solo show at Soulshine in December, along with various prizes from sponsors like Cathead Vodka, which is working in partnership with the Oxford Songwriters Association and Soulshine Pizza Factory.  
“You can think of this as American Idol for Oxford,” said Wayne Andrews, director of Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. “The fans choose the winner, although there isn’t a panel of judges.”  
“We wanted Soulshine to be a place that invited people to hear great music, talk with their friends and enjoy an evening out,” Soulshine owner  Chris Sartin said. “The Oxford Songwriters Association has helped us to create an open mic night that offers both a lineup of great music and a chance for new musicians to break into the scene.”  
If there are some incredibly talented musicians bumming around, go sign up at the open mic night. This is a great way to become known, and the fans, not the critics, will choose who they want to hear more often.  
As for those who are talentless with guitars and such but are hungry, they should go by Soulshine Pizza Factory tonight and stick around past 8:30 p.m. to hear local music to accompany their custom pizzas.
Patrons 21-years-old and up can enjoy the Cathead Vodka, which is sure to be flowing tonight.
The open mic night will take place every other Wednesday night at Soulshine and go on from tonight to Nov. 16. The winner will be named Nov. 16 and will reappear at Soulshine in December.   
To learn more about Oxford Songwriters Association or the Songwriters Showcase Open Mic event, contact the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council at 662-236-6429.