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Hit Me With Your Best Song

by Ashley Rouen

The ultimate songwriting challenge is back for a Mardi Gras special. Hit Me America Jam Session features some of Louisiana’s top songwriters, who participate in writing a hit song with the help of a live audience in one hour. This installment of the series will be held at Spirits on Bourbon (2.11), where dueling pianists TJ Zino & Todd Adams will be put to the test.


For the first hour of the show, Zino and Adams play a classic musical show traditional in many local bars. Their pianos will duel, and when the hour is up, they write. The event will be filmed and broadcasted at a later date. 


Producer/filmmaker Steven Scaffidi has added another twist to the competition this time around. One of Spirits’ top bartenders will undertake a second challenge: concoct an original cocktail inspired by the song Zino and Adams eventually write. The “Hit Me Highball” will become a staple of the bar’s drink menu.


“Anything is possible,” says creator Scaffidi. “The artist has no idea what the song will be like. The lady in the front row might yell something,” says Steven, “Someone in the back plays a drum riff on a coffee table. The artist can take or reject the ideas.” 


Scaffidi’s local production company, Ghost Rider Pictures, will film the event for both TV and YouTube. The song will be recorded and produced afterward for distribution on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify. 20 percent of the music royalties will go towards Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center. In fact, each Session names a charity of choice to donate a portion of the song's earnings. And for Wednesday’s Session at Spirits on Bourbon, 100 percent of all Hit Me Highball sales will also go to the charity as well.


At the inaugural jam session, Rockin’ Dopsie, with the help of a live audience at the Children’s Hospital, wrote and recorded “Easy Breezy,” inspired by the local football loving crowd. The next episode will feature Scott Lee Tully at Morning Call in City Park on Sunday, Feb 22 at 2p.m.  Later in April, Lynn Drury is slated to perform at Café Istanbul. Check out the full schedule here.


The Hit Me America Jam Sessions call upon the local community to host private jams with any of the artists listed on the website. They could be held at private residences, coffee shops, bars, schools, or even large venues like the Mahalia Jackson. Those interested in hosting a private party can invite their friends to be a part of the filming and creation of a hit song. There is a form available on the website for any individual or group interesting in hosting a session. 


“The concept is good for artists,” continues Steven, “And gives the public a chance to be a part of the music. “ 


WHAT:           Hit Me America Jam Session featuring TJ Zino & Todd Adams.

WHEN:           Wednesday, February 11, 2015

TIME:              6pm-9pm

WHERE:         Spirits on Bourbon, 615 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130


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