American songwriters. They’ve helped us fight wars (“Over There” – GM Cohan/WWI, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” – I Levine & L Russell Brown/Vietnam), hold out hope for the return of loved ones (“I’ll Be Home For Xmas,” – K Gannon & W Kent/ WWII), get physical (“Let’s Get Physical,” – O Newton-John, S Kipner & T Shaddock) and laugh at ourselves (“Rednecks,” – R. Newman).
Our latest addition to the Sullivan County Songwriters Circle is Chris Orbach. Chris is a bright, shining storyteller and we are thrilled to have him up here. His songs go deep. They are witty, eloquent and full of grit. His guitar grooves float, some hoisted by the spirits of Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell, he’s an expressive, true singer and his musical dynamics as tasty as they become.
It was a very special afternoon yesterday. The level of songwriting and musicanship was in the heights. We went around the circle, sharing songs. Stacy Cohen joined us to sing and play “Sweet Memories.” When Stacy picks up her guitar and sings, there is so much beauty that comes forth. Keep writing, Stacy.
Lucas Rotman was back in the house. He rocked out on guitar and banjo. BTW…Lucas is a good sport. We tease him about the banjo and he laughs along with us. To repeat Mark Twain, “A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo..and doesn’t.” We admire your pluck, Lucas.
Brewster Smith arrived and we coaxed him to join us from the bar. Come on Brewster….play us some of those crafty songs… …and so he did.
Here’s how we went around the circle:
I started with “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (Fats Waller & Henry Brooks), to rev up the writers with a nod to the Great American Songbook. Lucas played, “Expect Long Delays.” Chris introduced us to his songs, “Some Friend,” and “Fleetfooted Dan.” BTW, many of Chris’ songs are available for streaming and download on his website. Stacy sang “Sweet Memories,” after warming up her hands applauding Chris and his “smart” tunes. The rest of the songs:
Lucas: “Appalossa Song,” “Slim’s Last Roundup”
I played “Enlightenment.”
Chris: “Rule of Three”
Brewster: “Always” (a gorgeous tune)
Moi: “The Ballad of Belle Starr”
Brewster: “Stalker Love” (yes… you got that right)
Me again: “Deliver Me”
Lucas: “Mining For Melody”
So this is how the circle goes. I must say, yesterday’s 2 hour session was rich…as fine as anything you might see on Austin City Limits…but more intimate. We are so grateful for this community.
Hope to see you Saturday. I am solidifying the lineup today and shall post it. You will get to hear Chris, our 17 year old punk-flav musical poet Anna Helmick, our Americana heartbreaker Karen Hudson, our working man’s troubador Craig Martin, Moi and, a few interesting musical storytellers TBA.
American songwriters keep us going and let us know we are not alone.