Jarrett Mlodzinski is a name you want to know. He is a local singer songwriter who is making a BIG impression here in Wilmington, NC. The unique melodies of his originals and cover tunes can frequently be heard, reverberating through the alley's and open doorways, of the local clubs here at night. The first time encountered Jarrett, he was standing on the sidewalk armed with his tobacco sunburst acoustic axe and amplifier. The weather was perfect that December evening and an intimate crowd was surrounding him while crooning in front of Bar Local. I was out walking with my buddy Jon and his two kids, enjoying Wilmington's amazing artistic vibe, when Jarrett's deep resonating signature tone drew us in. Little did I know that I would continue to run into him at multiple open mic nights shows around town, as well as work with him professionally providing professional photography.
Jarrett called me up yesterday and said he had a 'thing' at The Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington, NC. Come to find out it was the 'Carolina Pine Songwriter Session #4'. The event is an intimate acoustic performance by six to eight musicians where they perform shorts twenty minute sets of all original music. He asked if I was available to do a quick session to advertise the event on social media, in order to get him some added exposure. He swung by my new photography studio near Front and Market St in downtown Wilmington. I grabbed my photo bag and reflector and hit the alley less than a block around the corner.
Okay, so this is where it gets good. It was like two hours before the big event, and we are locked and loaded ready to shoot. Being a musician myself, I excitedly started to open his guitar case. I commented, "Wow... this guitar sure is light". Sure enough there was no guitar in the case. Ha!!! So he rushed off to his place a few blocks away while I prepped the gear. Within minutes Jarrett zoomed in on a skateboard with yet another guitar case. I was impressed!!! The skateboard sped up the process perfectly and had to look super cool from passerby's. Only in a place like Wilmington, can you find a 6'4 man on a skateboard, holding a guitar case. You got to love it!!!
I picked up my beast of a camera and started doing my thing. He may have had the spotlight that evening but it was my turn to sing so to speak. I directed him in all of the poses, told him what look I was going for and he followed my lead perfectly. He even said, "Damn you are good at this posing thing!" Yep! Ha! We spent about 15-minutes in the ally before calling it quits, as I had to rush back to the photo studio to design the promo piece for the evening's event.
Showing up to the venue was cool. It was located behind a big ole church in the Annex. I guess the venue used to be used as an old school house from about a hundred-years ago. Cutting to the chase, the line up of musicians looked like this... Ed Pickett, Justin Lacy, Clay Crotts, Cara Schauble, Jarrett Mlodzinski and then the evening ended with Emma Nelson & Evan Baker. All the musicians were simply incredible in their own unique right. This story however revolves around Jarrett Mlodzinski. You notice something immediately different when this man takes the stage. Not only does he have a significant presence due to his height, but his voice is crazy deep and soulful. This man had everyone in the room riveted. My favorite song from his set was, "Runaway". It is a rhythmic jam that gets him smiling and almost laughing at himself. I love it because he howls it out like a madman. This night was no different and the audience erupted in an incredible applause. Always the gentleman, Jarrett humbly smiled.
Anyway, you have to keep an eye out for this cat, because he is DAMN good!!! Seriously, you will not be disappointed. You can find him playing open mic frequently at Bar Local, Costello's Piano Bar and my absolute favorite... the back courtyard of A Tasting Room. Mark my words, someday soon, you are going to see this photographer put his camera down, pick up his acoustic guitar and play open mic night beside this beast of a musician. You'll see. ;) Life is good.