Backstage | WKCTC

Backstage Pass

performance at the clemens fine arts center

Our stripped-back live music series that connects you with the artist in an intimate listening room space. We celebrate the rich local and regional community of singer/songwriters by making each performance a unique sonic experience for both viewer and performer.

Josh CoffeyJosh Coffey is a multi-instrumentalist that wears many hats in the music industry.  Aside from performing regularly with the band The Wheelhouse Rousters, Coffey also composes, produces recordings, and teaches private music lessons at his music studio Time on the String.  Incredibly varied in his musical aptitude, Coffey is easily at home in orchestral settings, string quartets, string bands, jazz ensembles and rock-based bands. You might find him performing in theaters, at bluegrass & folk festivals, on the country western stage, in rockabilly honky tonks or on paddlewheel riverboats.


Chloe Kimes

Nashville based singer-songwriter Chloe Kimes is actively defining the next generation of folk-singing troubadours with an old-soul sensibility for storytelling in a spirited alt-country outfit. Born and raised on the lakeshores of northern Michigan, Kimes is unbound by genre as she consistently navigates a delicate balance between poignance and charm with vocals wrung out and steadfast as any before her. Named one of NPR's 2022 Slingshot Artist's to Watch, Kimes' debut album is ambitious and strikingly live. As a self-titled ought be, Chloe Kimes is a sincere reflection of the artist, and with music as homegrown as its penman, Kimes and her band are not to be missed.


Heather HammersListening to Midwest singer/songwriter, Heather Hammers feels like following a confident artist down a scenic yet unsure path, you feel both inspired and vulnerable as you go along, certain that the destination will be as rewarding as the journey.

For an example of this, look no further than one of the first videos posted to Hammers’ popular YouTube page. In the video, Hammers is making her way down a wooded pathway. Low light bleeds through the barren trees. Leaves crunch underfoot. It’s winter. Hammers looks back at you, the viewer, urging you to keep up. Once you reach a clearing, Hammers begins to play and suddenly the goosebumps descending along your arms are from the sheer brilliance rather than the chill.

Even though the video is eight years old, the beginnings of the artist Hammers will become are
already on display. There’s the hidden melancholy layered beneath her luminous vocals. There’s the skillful strumming accompanying her immaculate melody. Most notably, there’s the confident vulnerability of Hammers alone with her instrument, unafraid, baring her soul among the bare branches.

The video in question, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” has gone on to well over a quarter million views and though it is a cover by artist Tiny Tim, like everything Hammers creates, she makes it her own.

Hammers found her love of music at a young age, singing songs acapella around the house to the delight of her mother. Unaccompanied vocal performances eventually gave way to Hammers teaching herself to play the guitar. By the time Hammers reached seventeen she was performing her original songs in between raucous local band sets at all ages shows in southern Illinois. Though Hammers would later say she was so nervous at those early shows that her voice would shake as badly as her hands, none of that fear was on display as she won over every room that saw her, even if they were there to throw down to their friends’ metal band. With each local show, Hammers continued to hone her craft, learning valuable lessons along the way like how to speak up for herself, how to project confidence even when it isn’t easy, how to stop overthinking, and, most notably, how to be easier on herself when she messes up.

In 2019, Hammers released “In Living Spaces.” A true DIY artist through and through (seriously,
check out her Etsy shop, The Crooked Spruce), Hammers wrote/recorded/produced the five
original songs entirely by herself. The collection speaks of an artist looking to make her place in the

On “Home,” Hammers sings: “So you carve out a place for yourself at the edge of it all / In the
side of a mountain, old and tall / Where the air is clear, and all the creatures run / Start a new
routine free from everyone.” With the EP, Hammers indeed carved out a place for herself beside
other songwriting luminaries such as Sufjan Stevens, Daughter, and Feist.

Now, Hammers has set her eyes on releasing her most ambitious collection of music yet. When
asked about a favorite song from the impending release, Hammers shared, “I wrote a new song not
long ago called, ‘Moonsong.’ It’s about my daughter, the time we share, and trying to cope with the
fact that it won’t last forever. I cried when I wrote it, and playing it still comforts me. I feel like I was honest and captured the feelings I was having in a genuine way.” Even though the song has yet to be released, fans of Hammers will have little trouble believing the above to be true. As always, Hammers will be confidently leading the way, looking back at the rest of us to catch up.


Abraham PartridgeAbe Partridge is multi-dimensional artist. He is a heralded musician, singer/songwriter, visual artist, and podcaster based in Mobile, Alabama. American Songwriter Magazine said, “Abe Partridge has established himself as one of the most respected songwriters and visual folk artists in the southeast.” He developed a reputation for moving, passionate, and sometimes comedic, performances at prestigious songwriter festivals such as 30A Songwriters Festival and Americanafest. He is a regular at the Bluebird Café in Nashville and Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. He has performed on the syndicated radio programs, Mountain Stage and Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. Abe has toured relentlessly with his music both nationally and internationally. His visual art has been in galleries all over the US, in Europe, and in private collections of many including Mike Wolfe (American Pickers) and Tyler Childers. His podcast, Alabama Astronaut, explores the undocumented music of serpent-handling churches in Appalachia and hit the top ten documentary podcasts on Apple Podcasts within days of its release. 

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