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Spend an intimate evening with soulful Dara Tucker
Nashville musician to perform Feb. 20 at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in Gainesville
Dara Tucker is the featured singer of the next “Evenings of Intimate Jazz” series, sponsored by The Arts Council Inc. in Gainesville. The concert will be at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center at 331 Spring St. SW in downtown Gainesville.

‘Evenings of Intimate Jazz’ with Dara Tucker

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20; doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville

Cost: $30 individual; $125 series; tickets sold out but waiting list available

More info: or 770-534-2787

A Nashville artist known for her soulful, powerful voice will share her talent with Gainesville.

Dara Tucker will be the featured artist for the February installment of The Art Council’s “Evenings of Intimate Jazz” series. Each month, the nonprofit brings a jazz musician to perform at a venue from January through May. 

Tucker’s concert will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center in the ballroom on the first floor. Tickets are $30, or $125 for series tickets. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at 331 Spring St. SW in Gainesville.

Regular tickets are sold out, but those still interested in attending may call 770-534-2787 and be put on a waiting list. Extra tickets may be sold for seating in the atrium next to the ballroom.

This will be Tucker’s first time performing in Gainesville, but she has already proven herself as an entertainer, according to the Arts Council’s website. Tucker has booked performances on the crowded streets of New York City to the Southern sprawl of New Orleans.

“We’re really just breaking into this market, and we’re realizing there are really receptive audiences here that are hungry for creative music,” Tucker said in an email to The Times. “These audiences are diverse, savvy and soulful.”

Tucker’s talents have been recognized by other famous artists in the genre, including jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson, saxophonist Benny Golson and organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. And her range in the musical realm is vast.

“I used to use the term ‘Urban Singer Songwriter’ to describe what I do, but I’ve given up on trying to put a label on it anymore,” Tucker said. “It’s just creative music. Creative music is what inspires me.”

She has three albums: “All Right Now,” released in 2009, “Soul Said Yes,” released in 2011 and her most recent album, “The Sun Season,” released in 2014. According to The Arts Council, Tucker’s latest album is an attempt to celebrate “life, energy and the human experience.”

The Arts Council Executive Director Gladys Wyant said she can’t wait for people to hear Tucker’s songs in a more intimate setting, where performer and audience can feed off of one another’s energies.

“So many (performers) have stage presence, and they really engage the audience,” she said of those performing in smaller venues.

Nairika Cornett, the marketing and arts and schools counselor for The Arts Council, agreed.

“With it being so intimate, it’s really my favorite thing,” she said. “It’s like a conversation between you and the artist. It’s about as close as you’ll get to having someone personally perform for you.

“When artists learn to appreciate who they are and their talent, we are better as an audience able to appreciate the same. They’re better able to portray their ability and who they are, and I think we get a little insight into their human experience, which makes our experience richer, and the jazz richer.”

Complimentary snacks and nonalcoholic drinks will available. Attendees may bring alcoholic beverages and snacks to the event.

Audience members also will have the chance to interact with Tucker and her musicians during intermission and after the show. Her CDs will be available for purchase after the show.

With the size of the venue, Cornett said the event is a more casual and intimate setting, with candlelit tables, which serves as an homage to the jazz club scene in urban areas.

“We’re making it a listening room,” she said of the ballroom. “It’ll be like a bistro with tables, like a Chicago jazz nightclub. It’ll be very intimate, and people will be very close to the performers. (The performers) even walk through (the audience) when they get onstage.”

To learn more about Tucker and the Arts Council, visit

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