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 http://mp3.washingtonpost.com/bands/lea_jones.shtml
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and welcome him back.
Monday, September 08, 2003
George Wurzbach and Dan Pelletier at the Panzer House Concert on September 1, 2003
There are no guitars, but two keyboards fill the front of the Panzer living room. This is "acoustic sing-songwriter" music on keyboard. Although there is just barely room for both keyboards, is there rooms for 2 such larger than life personalities? I won't say ego, that is too trite - though George does allege co-writing with God, and when Dan re-enacts the battle of good and evil the space for this drama includes the aisle, and then it reaches up - down - over and reverberates through the room.
In introducing George Wurzbach, our host Steve lets us know they share a hometown, Brooklyn, NY. Although they share this in common, Steve and George have many differences. For example, Steve is not wearing red sneakers tonight, and Steve has never talked about annoying his dad by writing songs about him, or alleged co-writing with God.
I Wonder What My Dog Would Do - George wrote this song before he had a dog. When he got a dog, the dog was very impressed with this song!
2 songs about George's father, and one is true:
This Old Dog Has a Few New Tricks to Learn (this one is about his father not his dog) and My Father Looks like Moe (yes he has the photos to prove it).
It's a Relatively Simple Life - George alleges this is one of the many songs written about relativity theory.
The Winds of Change - a lovely relationship song. George says he changes and grows, but only when his wife insists. (This from a man in a group whose web site says: "youth is fleeting, but immaturity can last a lifetime")
Just Ask the FBI - Is George a wanted man?
Slither - this is about a snake but it is not a pet song. This story is not in the Bible yet, but George is working on that.
Song co-written with God - obviously a pretty good song
A Much Better View of the Moon - George brings a different perspective to living
Dan Pelletier's songs include:
It's Been A Long Day All Day Long
Cat Song (it's you and me cat - for a while at least)
Don't Ever Trust the Moon - Dan discovered from a WWII navigator that because of the parallax phenomena, sailors navigate by the stars. But "the moon, that beacon of romantic love is unreliable" as a navigation tool. And maybe other ways too.
Wild Heart Rodeo (title song of his new CD)
Spoken poem about Good And Evil
Ace is the Dog
I Want all the Trouble Lovin you Brings
Three Chances to Make me Love You
They are listing all my credits, but it's my debits that they show
Dan continues the pet theme giving both a cat and a dog a spotlight. His earlier CD is titled Mr. Sunshine, but Dan's humor comes in spite of long day all day long experiences, trust issues with women (and the moon), and wresting with questions like does love conquer all (in wild heart rodeo and his dramatic poem).
The evening includes a discussion of which keyboard is best - Dan's Yamaha or George's Roland (with an American Flag). There was the usual ribbing and attempts at one-upmanship you'd expect with 2 comic songwriters with an attitude like these guys. As you'd suspect, belly laughts, and emotional rollcoasters - but also some gentler satire, and quirky perspectives on living and loving.
Afterwards I asked the Panzer's and the Moore's if they had yet recovered from their volunteer experiences at the Country Roads Festival on Saturday. Sherry had a whirlwind weekend with the festival and guests, but things will get back to normal on Monday when she goes back to work.