I spent a very enjoyable few hours last night at the John Prine Hoot Night and fund raiser for the Open Ears series of concerts! It had been awhile since I had listened to my John Prine collection as I prepared a couple songs to play and I fell in love with his music all over again. He's simply one of the best! And as someone mentioned some time during the evening, many of his songs are just three chords and the truth. That's all it takes for a great song... In the right hands of course. The Open Ears concerts are great! If you live in Austin or find yourself visiting when one is scheduled I highly encourage you to come. The audiences are there to listen and the shows are intimate no matter the number attending. Peace!
James and Cliff were great tonight playing songs from their joint CD called All Wood and Doors. They have created great acoustic arrangements of Doors songs, with great harmonies and guitar parts. Their own songs are even better! As they closed out the night with "Soul Kitchen" by the Doors, I could envision Jim and Ray looking down from rock n roll heaven with big smiles seeing and hearing how well acquitted their music was performed tonight. Do you really die if your music plays on?... I'm thinking perhaps not.... What do you think?
Well, I'm still feeling the positive afterglow from attending the ASG's Symposium! It was a fun filled, rewarding educational, performance and networking event! A huge thanks to Lee Duffy, the Executive Director, and Rick Busby, the President, along with all the volunteers who made it such a great success! I appreciate Chris Oglesby recognizing something in my song, "In Your Arms Tonight", and choosing me as his music publishers pick of the day. But beyond that, I appreciated also his kind but honest suggestions for my songs too. I will never forget the honor bestowed.... The world class songwriters who attended, taught and performed were awesome. It could not have been better! Not when you have Marc Beeson, Bob Cheevers, Chuck Cotton, Austin Cunningham, and Chris Wallin all in the same room! There were some world class songs played that they wrote, and I have to say they were even more compelling played by those who wrote them in uncluttered arrangements played on acoustic guitars... But I thank them even more on sharing all their insights and wisdom on the creative act of songwriting, on co-writing, on alternate tunings. Robert Cross' 4 part series on knowing your personal brand and the fountain of ideas on maximizing your brand in the indie/DIY landscape were truly invaluable. I could go on and on, about the friendly camaraderie, the blast I had listening to great songs in the nightly song circles.... It was simply outstanding and will fuel my songwriting creativity for a long while. Thank you again Lee, Rick, and so many more!!
I spent an awesome Three plus hours at the Cactus Cafe listening to one of all time favorite singer songwriters, Ellis Paul! Rebecca Loebe opened and she was very good too, and Ellis asked her onstage to sing harmonies which she did for over half his set. Ellis song book is now quite deep, and he played some songs going way back to new ones not recorded or at least not released yet. Wow, that's all I can say! His song writing is amazing. I had tears in my eyes when he played Heart Tattoo and Hurricane Angel... And he played 3,000 Miles, digging further back in his song book. The new song from the perspective of the Empire State Building is wonderful, but he had me choked up again with Plastic Soldiers. The jazz infused chords were quite different but the lyrics stand out with his ability to paint a visual and emotional picture that just pulls you in with seemingly no effort to stand in the scene, well it's genius in my opinion. So thank you Ellis and Rebecca too! You fortified me musically recharging my batteries.
I've posted a new song on my reverberation.com/philgreer site tonight. While there is a vocal pop from being a tad too close to the condenser mic's, I'm proud of this song. I hope it strikes a chord, so to speak.. If it does, please drop me a line. Thank you!
I have been floored and grateful to all the songwriters, musicians and bands who have become fans as of late, and for all your encouragement for my songs. I'm no youngster and coming back to songwriting later in my life. Your kind words gives me incentive to soldier on. Thank you all, and the one thing I've found is that songwriters and music people support each other. I will pass it on, because I know how fulfilling it is to find our creativity!
Wow! Enjoyed a great concert tonight with Steel Wheels!! Combine Bluegrass, old timely music, add a little modernity and some great musicianship and incredible two to four part harmonies and that is my description of their music! A great time had by all!
I attended the ASG Symposium this past weekend and a great time was had by all! There were great songwriters I got to see and hear for the first time. Sonny Throckmorton, Gary Burr, and many of Austin's finest - Will Sexton, Betty Soo, and so many more. I really enjoyed my friend, Richard Paul Thomas' Showcase on Saturday night. Performing in front of Austin's songwriters might be intimidating to some, but RpT sounded great and looked comfortable and in his element. I met a young songwriter named Matthew Santos. His 'One Man Band' sound with loops of rhythm, guitar and vocal harmonies provided an intriguing alternative especially when you have to open for rock bands in noisy venues. And his voice and songs were amazing too. If you are a songwriter or simply like to hear great writers and learn more about the business, this is a great event and I highly recommend it. Thank you to Rick Busby and Lee Duffy for a 'class act' Symposium!
Last Thursday I got a chance to attend the Open Ears concert at St Andrews in Austin. Five of the six Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Winners performed in a songwriters circle. Grace Pettis, AJ Roach and all the others were great. And to think it only got better than this. On Sunday, I got to see Eliza Gilkyson, Lucy Kaplansky and John Gorka together at One World Theater in Austin. There were brilliant moments when each of them played. Perhaps the best of the best was Lucy going behind the piano and doing Eliza's song called "Sanctuary". It was absolutely beautiful. But knowing it was Eliza's song and the respect and friendship you could see and feel among all three, was amazing. John's story of the first time he met Lucy was really enjoyable. He was playing at one of the Greenwich Village folk clubs along with Lucy and Shawn Colvin. He walked up to Shawn and Lucy and asked them to sing harmonies on a new song of his. They gave him the NYC look but listened to him play in the Ladies room. They had no backstage and it had great acoustics. Lucy and Shawn agreed to sing with him. Lucy said they were blown away. Anyway, what a most excellent week to hear so many great songs...
I had an opportunity to play with Richard Paul Thomas, Rick Bussey and John Dunnam last night at the Salado Springs Music Hall. If you get a chance to, head to Salado next Thursday. Richard has another line up for the circle, and I've not attended one that wasn't great fun and filled with heartfelt songwriting!