“Remember in December” series: Songwriters in the Round

Remember in December: finishing the year by looking back at some of my favorite concerts, through some never-before released videos.

Just released: Introvert — Morgan Creek Grill  — (Listen closely around the 1 minute mark for a good chuckle from audience response. X-D)

Every January, Morgan Creek Grill hosts the Wintertide Acoustic Series – Songwriter’s in the Round Showcase. This is the only time they have all-original music in a listening room environment. It’s fashioned after Nashville songwriters events, where three songwriters take turns sharing songs and how they came about.  We could also play/sing along with the other songwriters if we came up with something on the spot that would fit their song; that part was fun!  Amanda and I shared the stage with Jeff Liberty and Bobby Sutton.  I occasionally came up with some fun harmonies and a bit of background guitar parts to play with their songs.  A couple times the guys played guitar parts over my songs.  It was neat to hear another’s interpretation of the song and how that came out through their playing. The place was pretty full that night, and people seemed to enjoy listening.

Most gigs I play involve setting an enjoyable atmosphere, with cover songs abounding.

Not many gigs truly celebrate the songwriter.

On a radio interview when I was first getting started in Charleston, the DJ asked what my favorite part of being a musician is. I think a lot of people would expect a chick to say “I love singing for people,” with the songwriting and guitar playing developing into the basics because they want to sing. But I’ve learned that I love songwriting. It’s a way to express the deepest parts of me and the things I think are important to say (because if I have a mic, I better say something good), and it’s a craft I’ve enjoyed developing over my lifetime. There is an art and a science to it.  I can tell the difference between a beginner songwriter and an advanced songwriter… and there is a huge difference between my first songs and my current songs!   I love playing guitar and singing, but for me, this whole thing is actually about sharing these songs that I believe in. Because I think God gave me a gift to use for spreading hope and compassion, so who am I to let these songs just sit on the shelf?

With all that said, it felt great to be in a place where they really wanted to hear my songs, and my journey in writing them.  So on this one night by the creek, two other songwriters and I got to take turns sharing our songs with some folks, and for once we got to share the stories behind them. And we had a blast! Hopefully I inspired some good stuff while we were at it. 😉

I was also glad that my songwriting and my guitar skills were comparable to the two guys sharing the stage with me.  As a female in a very male-dominated field, I put high expectations on myself.  Many people expect females to be all about the singing, and not skilled at guitar.  I refuse to be a “one trick pony;” I strive to be well-rounded and excellent in each area.  I work hard to develop my songwriting, my singing, and my guitar skills… along with all the other stuff that comes with being an independent artist.  I was thrilled to feel “up to par” at this gig.

I was also proud to be able to say at this event that there were actually four songwriters on stage.  We surprised everyone by having my sister put down the supporting/percussionist role and share the song she wrote for her [soon-to-be-adopted] son.  She wrote a few songs for the band back in the day, but this was the first one she wrote in a long time. She doesn’t pursue it like I do, but when a song starts coming to her, you can tell it’s from deep within her soul, and it’s beautiful.

One of my favorite moments (besides when a couple of old friends surprised me by showing up) was when I played “Wait in Hope.”  Up until that song, people were generally paying attention, but there was some chatting.  When I played that song, the entire room went silent.  They all tuned in, watching and listening carefully. They seemed to be soaking it in.  I think hope was raised in the room that night.