In the late 1990's I lived in Nashville. In Nashville, everyone is a songwriter or musician, or both! The joke was that the most used pick-up line is, "You want to co-write?"
Writers' nights and live music were on every street corner, literally, and a stand-out amongst all the bars, clubs, cafe's and lounges is The BlueBird Cafe. There you must audition to be accepted to play the open mic and people come from all over the world to stand in that audition line. It is a tiny cafe with seating for maybe 100, if that, and those seats fill up every night of the week to see anything from aspiring singer/songwriters on the open mic nights to seasoned multi-platinum hit writers swapping tunes, new and old.
My favorite, by far, are the Writers in the Round nights where they bring in four songwriters and place them in the middle of the room, all facing each other, while, we, in the audience, surround them. What happens from here is something magical, unscripted and totally captivating as the writers seem to forget that the audience is there and they truly swap songs, licks and stories. I saw Kathy Mattea in this format and sat about 18 inches from her.
The 2012 season at Listen Live Music will feature four of these shows that we are calling "Bringing Nashville North - Writers in the Round." We were so pleased with the way our first in this series turned out this past January and we had over 30 people show up to this virtually unadvertised show!
We have a "resident" for the year who will act as the fourth writer and 2012 host, Center Valley resident Jackie Tice. Multi-award winning, Acoustic World Folk artist, Jackie Tice is hailed as “an important voice among songwriters.” She embraces and communicates an inclusive world view through the lens of her mixed Native American Cherokee and Eastern European ancestry. Her appearances at the United Nations, UNICEF, and with performers from five continents, have solidified her reputation as an International artist bridging the relationship of Nature and Human Nature through incisive songwriting, soulful vocals and spirited Native American Flute compositions.
Greg Clayton of Australia’s Spirit Horse Productions declared her, “truly unique…one of the most open and expressive vocal artists in the USA today.” Apprearing with Tice in this second installment of the series will be music industry veteran Larry Ahearn, Canadian singer/songwriter and activist Amy Campbell and NJ's all-american boy Arlon Bennett. Find out more about all of these people as you read on.....
In September of 1966, Larry Ahearn landed at Villanova University and immediately began working at the nearby Main Point in Bryn Mawr. Between 1966 and 1976 he was an integral part of all aspects of Main Point operations, booking promoting and producing many of the now legendary shows that took at the Main Point in its “golden years.” Throughout that period he also began to write and perform his own music as a solo artist, and later, with the Larry Ahearn Group (Tom Crosthwaite, Bill Cannon, Bill Shultz, Chris Shannahan, Dan Rossi).
He has shared the bill with artists like Tom Rush, Jimmy Buffett, Livingston Taylor, Jaime Brockett, Janis Ian, Elvin Bishop, Velvet Underground, Sha Na Na, Spider John Koerner, Eric Andersen, Good News, Blood,Sweat & Tears, Pearls Before Swine and John Prine.
After years of booking, promoting and producing music, sports and theatre, most notably as a team member with the worldwide Concerts For Human Rights tour with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour and Tracy Chapman, Larry found himself in China in 2004-5 with the Harlem Globetrotters. He’s back in the USA now and has returned to his first love: writing and performing songs in an intimate atmosphere – Full Circle.
Amy Campbell brings together classical training and folk sensibilities to create music that reaches into human experience and comes back with stories written from the soul. Devoted equally to lyrical craft, innovative musicianship, and engaging performances, Amy's dozen years of writing, composing, and touring have cemented her position in hearts and playlists across the world.
Seven years of touring have led to several noteworthy appearances: Campbell has performed as a supporting act to Penny Lang, Veda Hille, Justin Rutledge, Richard Bruckner, Old Man Luedecke, and Thea Gilmore (in the UK); toured as support for Emm Gryner; and is a regular at noteworthy folk venues Club Passim (Boston), Hugh's Room (Toronto), and The Blacksheep Inn (Wakefield, QC), among others. Festival appearances include "The Stan Rogers Festival" (Nova Scotia), "The Cutting Edge of the Campfire Festival" (Boston), "Ladyfest NY" (New York), an MPress Records showcase at the IndieGrrl Festival (Nashville), The Amherst Island Folk Festival (Ontario), and Island Folk Festival (Victoria, BC).
"Simply put, Campbell is well poised to one day inherit Joni Mitchell's place as Canada's quintessential female singer-songwriter," says Cindy Filipenko of Herizons.
Arlon Bennett's emergence in the Folk/Americana scene has grown steadily. His foot-tapping songs will draw chills, laughs, and the contemplative 'Hmmm...' while he engages you with an All-American 'aw-shucks' charisma that you don't see around too often. While accumulating songwriting awards throughout North America, he has opened for such acts as Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze), Jill Sobule, Michael Smith, Lesley Gore, and has sung with Livingston Taylor. Arlon also was twice selected by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, to perform in his Music2Life showcase featuring America's best songs of social consciousness. Arlon is equally proud that his lyrics to “The Ace in Grace” (from his 1999 debut, Fountain of Dreams) were used in the official statue dedication of late tennis champion, humanitarian and personal hero, Arthur Ashe.
When: April 29, doors open at 5:30, music at 6pm
Where: Listen Live Music at the Macungie Institute, 510 East Main St, Macungie PA
Details: $10 in advance at listenlivemusic.org or at the door. Seating is limited to 50. $5 fruit and cheese plates, pasteries, desserts and snacks, coffee, tea, soda, water will also be available.