Wednesday, September 10, 2003
John Seay, Paul Iwancio (Lea Jones opening, cameo by Eliot Bronson) at Songwriter's Showcase - First Friday at Aletha's Fine Art Gallery, Monkton Md on September 5, 2003

The music this time is in an a new elegant art gallery. The "stage" is appropriately in front of a picture of a young girl playing a mandolin. The ceiling is very tall on this second floor of the gallery. The entire crisp white wall is covered with colorful paintings and there are many cute mini-spot lights on the pictures hanging up near the ceiling.

Downstairs, on the way up, I passed lovely... lovely... potential presents - jewelry, wool scarves, small pictures, and oriental looking rugs, but I didn't have time to linger before the show, I need to find a seat. The almost 50 seats are soon taken, and this is only the first concert in this series. Next time we come we'll need to make an early reservation to make sure we get in.

Lea Jones, a songwriter and Middle School Head at the Odyssey School, is host for this series and also the opening act. He thanks Linda Losey-Daley, the owner of Aletha's Fine Art Gallery, a relative new venture featuring mostly local artists, for opening the Gallery to host a monthly music series. Lea's songs include:

The Parking Lot - A song about concrete, and "one sad patch of dirt" - clever commentary "we could drive around all day" - suburbian shopping hell "can I save my money by spending?" - and it raises an existential question - can I get out? There is a lot to hear in this sing-along jingle.
Save Yourself the Trouble - Powerful song - it saved (helped save) a 2 year old bi-coastal relationship.
Let's Not and Say We Did - How to respond to temptation? This song has an interesting reversal
Turkey in Texas - OK Uncle Bill in Texas raised turkeys and they are dumb and gobble at any loud noise, but the "Thanksgiving meal the justices served up", Saint Paul crashed and so did the left in Congress. Very witty song covers a lot of territory - Afganistan, Iran, how like turkeys are we? This is available as a MP3 download from his page on the Washington Post local artist MP3 site. This is one to share with liberal friends - gobble gobble... Take a listen for yourself at

Paul Iwancio introduces John Seay as a man who joined the Baltimore Songwriters Association (BSA) circle and week after week brought in a song that blew the group away. John's Set includes:

Ain't Nothin I Wouldn't Do - romance is motivating!

High on the Appalachian Trail - and John is wearing a Green Appalachian Mountain Club shirt.

There Ain't Nobody Normal Round Here - surely John you didn't mean it when you hinted this might be a good BSA theme song!

I Miss Bill - John asks us to think about that TV show we loved that was cancelled. We felt we lived the drama with the characters and we really miss a character when the show is gone. John has a character he misses too. He misses Bill. This song is not sentimental - it is witty and reflective about what we had (the good and the bad) and compares this with what we have…. OK there were some women in this drama we don't miss, but there were qualities to think about … this is so so clever…

She's Into Me - another love song

After the break Paul Iwancio, BSA President, shared a few upbeat songs -

These Shoes - the morning after a late night with friends bit of philosophy

Do You Know the True Worth of Things? - Paul left his backpack full of jury notes and music in a taxi, and it was not found. What if we loose some things we think are important? This is a peppy, yet hard hitting song. It is such fun to hear this with Eliot on drums and John Seay on bass.

Thesarus - who else but a songwriter like Paul I. would turn to a thesaurus when in love? The gift of a songwriter - a search for superlatives for his lover. And for the audience, the gift of toe tapping, feel-good music.

Opened Heart Story

Find a New Way - "your mind's roller rink"

These are happy energy songs to hear over and over. Luckily Paul Iwancio is working on a CD "to warm up" our winter.

Back to John Seay and some social commentary in :
Thank God for Giving Me the Victory - a new song about how people give God credit for getting what they want. Do you control the "miracles" you get? Are they "ordered in"?

Oh Yeah You - John says he is making a needs list, a wish list and then a third list... these lists are, this song is, so gentle, so thoughtful, so loving... I wonder, what would my lists say...

Here in This New Century - "cold blue world" with machines we don't totally understand - progress sometime doesn't warm…

Didn't Think I'd Miss You but I Do

In introducing Eliot Bronson, John tells us that Eliot turned 21 the same month John turned 50. John implies Eliot was born writing songs. Eliot does one song for us. This is just a teaser, with the understanding he will have an evening at this venue soon. Since Eliot's new CD will be out soon, Lea hints that maybe Eliot can do a CD release party here in November. The audience calls out some songs, and Eliot settles on one of the many many many crowd favorites:
Woolen Socks - sometimes comforts are tangible, and connections are metaphorical

Taking back the stage, John shares that is feels like a risk to follow Eliot

This Might be My Lucky Day - there are days when everything goes wrong, so sometimes one is thankful that a day is "just as good as any day"

I Got Cats - a fictional song musing choices a cat lover may have to make when dating.

I agree with Paul Iwancio, the world needs to hear John Seay's songs. I realize I haven't heard John Seay do full sets before, and these thoughtful lyrics are so worth hearing. I want to hear more. The CD's I take home will have to do till the next time. Thanks John for sharing all this music! And oh where can I get "I Miss Bill", it not on a CD yet? NPR should be playing this one!

On the first Friday in October Joanne Juskus will be here at Aletha's (8 pm). Reservations recommended! And maybe Eliot on the first Friday in November.

This is a new venue, and I overhear someone talking who obviously doesn't know that this incredible singer-songwriter talent is still around, that it wasn't just a 60's and 70's phenomena. The woman expresses wonder at the evening. She says oh this is just like a hootenanny, but my sister here (pointing to a woman a bit younger than herself), she probably doesn't even remember what a hootenanny is.

Someone else tells me, for an opening night this is unbelievable. It fells like a well-established coffeehouse that has been going on for years and years. The crowd is so warm and friendly. I totally agree. I go to lots of singer-songwriter venues and this is just so perfect.

I will look forward to seeing Eliot here, oh I hope in November! Eliot is now back living in Baltimore; and Eliot fans out there you can email him at and welcome him back.

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