This tour, while short, has been a good sampling of different types of shows that an independent solo songwriter might play. As Sara and I made the very short trip to Annapolis on Day 7, I geared up for the gig that evening: an event called 12 Voices.
David Glaser, an Annapolis-based songwriter, hosts this monthly concert series at 49 West, a great coffee shop and restaurant in downtown Annapolis. Every month David brings in a featured artist to share his or her tunes. He’s hosted songwriters from all over North America. Every show also includes a “cameo” artist, which in this case was me. David plays a few tunes to kick off, then introduces the cameo, then the featured artist plays. We take a break, then reconvene to perform an in-the-round set where we’re all on stage together, accompanying each other, impromptu style.
The beauty of a gig like this is in its empathetic nature. It’s a show for songwriters, hosted by a songwriter. David uses his extensive knowledge of the touring life to cater to the needs of his fellow performers. He, unlike many hosts, knows exactly what we’re looking for in a show. This is not a knock on other venues, but more of a praise for folks like David. He does all that he can to create an intimate, comfortable environment that’s conducive to a human connection.
David’s favorite part of the evening is the in-the-round set, when all three performers sit on stage together and share stories and songs. Spontaneous song circles like this happen all the time at conferences and festivals like Folk Alliance and the Kerrville Folk Festival. After being a part of many of them, David wanted to bring some of their improvised magic to a concert setting. I’m not sure if the results are more fun for the performers or the audience, but it seemed Monday night like both parties were enjoying the moment.
These times wake up the guitar nerd in me. David is a very good guitarist and mandolin player as well, so it was great fun to play off each other. When you go on tour you end up playing the same 10-15 tunes every night, so it’s refreshing to be thrown into a situation where you’re playing along with a song you’ve probably never heard before. It’s almost as if you upped the stakes a bit. Living a little more dangerously. And when everything works out, it’s that much more exciting when you strum the final chord.
I want to thank David for facilitating a great event in his hometown. Check out his music here. Also, please check out the featured artist from this show. Her name is Ellis, and she’s originally from Texas, now living in Minnesota. Her songs, even the sad ones, are some of the most uplifting you can find. I dare you to see her live and not smile. It’s impossible.
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