9 Songwriter Series - This series founded by local songwriter Justin Trawick has been going strong for a few years now and it is high time I finally make it out. Perhaps it was the aspect of reviewing nine separate acts in one night that scared me off, but more likely it was merely a case of schedule conflicts. Whatever the case, it was time for me to give a listen to nine singer songwriters playing quick little sets and enjoying the camaraderie with a full room of attentive listeners as well as fellow musicians. The format is clean and simple: each artist does a two song set solo or with a guest and immediately introduces the next act. At the conclusion, each artist again pops up for a quick one-song encore. It's a showcase for the songs, the voices, and a guitar or piano (along with a percussion box). And it was a full night of folk and singer songwriter material which played well with the crowd. I'll offer a quick note on each of the performers:
Paul Pfau - Good breezy style with fairly active songs that are nicely balanced.
Jon Braman - Odd that he actually wrote a song called "Sumertime", but not as odd or interesting as the second song which had rapped verses atop his ukulele.
Brittany Jean - One of my favorite performers in a band setting had all her charm and energy working here in this format.
Cathy Ditoro - She had the look and sound of a classic coffee house folk artist with the stool and acoustic guitar.
Brandon Walker - Good piano work and likably sweet songs.
Ken Wenzel - Vibrant strumming, good melodies in the songs, a tad long on the second song, but what the hey.
Rachel Levitin - Although it had the folk feeling, the songs have good pop hooks for voice and guitar and would work in a band setting.
Justin Trawick - A snappy opener and a rather loose approach until his second song showed the serious side as he delved deeper into it.
Matt Boyer - Playing a hollow body, he probably was the best guitarist of the night (and guested in other sets frequently). Songs decent, but guitar work excellent in a Meic Stephens vein.
Quote of the Night: Parpahrasing Justin Trawick to start the evening... 'We are keeping this show a listening show, so don't talk because you paid good money to hear music (that we wrote at 3am last night). Thank-you'. And it worked... aside from the crazy lady up front.