It seems to me that there are two kinds of music lovers in the world – ones that appreciate the purely aesthetic quality of a chord, or a riff, or a chorus – and the ones like me that consistently wonder what the meaning is behind the song. What they were thinking about? What was happening in their lives that they felt it necessary to write these words? Perhaps I’m just nosy, but I think it’s more than that. Not all of us were born to be songwriters, or poets, or musicians – so we seem to be continually in awe of the people who can say things much more eloquently than we ever could. This is what keeps me interested in music – the fact that no matter how universal our emotions might be, songwriters will always find a way to speak about it in a way that’s new.
So, of course, I usually jump at the chance to hear a set of a singer/songwriter, especially when they are for the most part a bit unknown. This is why the Songwriter Showcase has consistently piqued my interest. Showcase, initially conceived of by local musicians Adam Mackintosh and Anna Sacks, has grown from humble beginnings to something of a countywide phenomenon, with singer/songwriters that consistently turn up at one of the Showcases to play original material.
It’s more than your typical open mic – some of the musicians that show up to a Showcase have never written a song before; some of them have never written a song or played in front of an audience that includes more than the usual family members. Whatever the situation is, it’s enjoyable for both sides – the musicians seem to come away with a hunger for original material and collaboration that might not have existed before, and the audience gets to see something rarely seen – the humble beginnings of a musician. Having seen more than my fair share of unknown artists over the years (who eventually turn into “known” artists), it’s a pretty cool thing to witness.
On Thursday, July 16 at 7 pm, the Songwriter Showcase steps up to a larger venue – The Door Community Auditorium, but the songs and stories of the Showcase have not been lost. Chris Simmons, a fantastic singer/songwriter from London who is just releasing his first album, will take the stage. He will be preceded by Ben Teegarden, a Green Bay-based musician who had never written a song of his own before attending one of the Songwriter Showcases last year. Now his original song count is up to well over a dozen. And because the Showcase found its beginnings in Door County, local musicians Mark Raddatz and his 15-year-old son Seth as well as Adam Mackintosh and Anna Sacks will be featured as well.
Whatever you need to do in order to get to this show next Thursday, please do it. It’s a great chance to see a group of talented musicians in a different light. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 at the door, and available by calling the Door Community Auditorium at 920.868.2728 or visiting http://www.dcauditorium.org.