June 1 2016 01:08 PM

Singer/songwriter Simon Joyner comes to historic St. Johns venue

WEDNESDAY, June 1 — Omaha native Simon Joyner has been a professional musician for over 25 years. In that quarter century, the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter has put out an extensive collection of albums. His latest release, “Glass, Branch & Bone,” is his 13th solo album. He has even produced a book of lyrics, entitled “Only Love Can Bring You Peace: Selected Lyrics 1990-2014.” And he shows no sign of stopping soon.

Joyner is nearing the end of his most recent living room tour, with only two more scheduled dates after his show tomorrow at the Wilson Center Auditorium in St. Johns. This local performance is one of just a few exceptions to his primary use of residential venues.

“I love to do these tours; I’ve done three or four of them now.” Joyner said. “It’s a more intimate environment, and the people who come out to these shows have sought them out. (At other venues) there’s usually a lot of extra noise because it’s a bar, and people are drinking. It’s less of a good experience for the people who really care about it.”

The intimate environment also gives Joyner a “great way to connect with fans,” adding that the living room shows often work out better financially than playing at a bar, where other bands on the bill and stingy owners can cut into profits.

While the St. Johns concert will be in a decidedly bigger space, Joyner is hoping to preserve the low-key tone of the tour. Local songwriter Aidan Pope, who performs with alt-country band the American Automobile, is also on the bill.

I am incredibly excited to open for (Joyner). He’s one of my biggest influences as a songwriter,” Pope said.

Pope, who is also concert coordinator at the Wilson Center Auditorium, is part of the reason why bigger names like Joyner are visiting St. Johns.

“About a year ago, Bill Tennant and I met and started the Wilson Collective, which puts on all-ages concert and events at the Wilson Center Auditorium and puts on creative events for the community,” Pope said. “We just kind of went at it. There had been shows there before, people have tried to put on indie shows with bands from Mt. Pleasant and Detroit, but that was in 2012, and 2013.”

With the help of Tennant and other community members, Pope hopes to revitalize the 90-year-old space into a thriving concert hall again. Over the course of six years, $100,000 in funds for renovation work has been raised for the space.

“We keep stepping up our game." Pope said. "I think and we really want to show that we are a unique and very viable and popular spot for independent music — local music as well as national acts.”

Simon Joyner

With Elliott Eremita and Aidan Pope
7 p.m. Thursday, June 2
Wilson Center Auditorium
101 W. Cass St., St Johns
(989) 227-5200
, wilsoncenterauditorium.org