DCSF holds clean up day

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Members of the Demopolis City Schools Foundation spent much of the morning yesterday clearing debris and covering graffiti at the old Culpepper Warehouse in preparation for the upcoming hay Dayz Festival.

The inaugural event will feature a number of local artists and entertainers, but the feature of the weekend is one of Demopolis’ own who is making a name for himself in the music scene.

Steven Padilla came to the attention of the college music scene in the fall of 2008. His debut CD titled “16 in a Small Town” is due to be released this summer.

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Padilla and his band will perform in the warehouse Saturday, Aug. 14, beginning at 8 p.m. Admission to the event is free to anyone who has paid to get into the festival grounds.

Most of the songs on the new CD were written by Padilla, who says he found inspiration from George Strait, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan.

“’16 In a Small Town’ identifies where I was at that point in my life growing up in a small town. It shows how important friendships are and that all we needed was a truck, a little bit of gas, and each other to have a good time. I was so fortunate to grow up with the friends I had back then knowing they always had my back no matter what, and that’s important where I’m from,” said Padilla.

Padilla got his first guitar – a secondhand acoustic from his neighbor’s attic – at the age of 15. Completely self-taught through tablature and a musical ear, Padilla began playing with friends on a regular basis and eventually made his debut performance at a party on a double-wide trailer. He continued to play locally, eventually teaming up with Cole Basinger, guitarist, and Bryan Yeager, drummer, to form his first band when he was 16 years old.

At age 17, Padilla wrote his first song titled “Just Close Your Eyes.” He then went on to open up for Farmer’s Daughter at the Bama Bike Fest in 2004 and became a regular acoustic performer at many local eateries.

Padilla’s interest in country music began to grow shortly after a charity gig in 2004 where he was joined by fellow musicians Elizabeth Acker, Mike Rogers, Rick Gray, Steve Henderson and Bryan Yeager. He moved to Tuscaloosa in 2008 when he was 22 years old, and he quickly became well-known for his solo performances on the bar circuit and at private parties.

Soon after playing several gigs with bass guitarist Jason Parker from the Wayne Mills Band, he formed his own band in the fall of 2008. As soon as his group hit the bar scene, it snowballed, with the band playing more than 270 shows during 2009.

Not only did Steven stay busy playing bar gigs, fraternity parties, and weddings, he also had the opportunity to share the stage and play with some of country music’s well known artists such as Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Luke Bryan, James Otto and Brantley Gilbert.

Padilla is an avid collector of vinyl records, particularly those of the Yacht Rock genre. He has yet to find any albums by Player, and he also wants to buy Ambrosia’s entire discography.

Admission to Hay Dayz is $10 per day for adults and $5 for children 4 to 18. Carnival rides begin at Friday, Aug. 13, at 3:30 p.m., and a kids talent show will be held that night. Rides, contests and entertainment begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Hay Dayz is a joint venture by the Demopolis City Schools Foundation and the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 289-0270.