Tuesday, March 13, 2012

February was Full of Album Writing in Delaware!

2012 FAWM'ers onstage at The Queen
I've said it a hundred times, but it begs repeating: There is so much talent here. And all the evidence you needed was in the house at World Cafe Live at The Queen on Sunday evening. Fourteen local singer-songwriters showcased their talents at the February Album Writing Month (FAWM) Showcase---nine as first-time participants.  Our local "FAWM'ers" hailed from throughout New Castle County and surrounding areas like Landenberg, West Chester & Philly.

Their charge?  Compose 14 songs in 28 (well 29, really) days, then show us what they've got. And, show us they did! The line-up and styles were so diverse, there really weren't any that I didn't enjoy, from a much-respected artistic POV.  Each artist presented three original songs, most accompanied by guitar or piano; several collaborated on pieces, enhancing the whole group vibe of the project.  It was thrilling to see so many artists connecting to and being inspired by one another---kinda like the final show of a "Songwriter's Camp".

But I have to give you some faves, so here goes.  First, I have to shout-out to first-time FAWM-er and Delaware Arts Info blogger, Jessica Graae.  She said she was nervous, but onstage she certainly didn't let on.  I loved her second song, Waiting Patiently, a heart-wrenching widow's tale, although I would loved to have heard the potential composition about searching for a bathroom on the Jersey Turnpike.

Although we arrived at the end of his set, I loved Michael Natrin's voice and snapped up his free CD to enjoy what I missed. (I'll have to report back on that later, sorry Michael.)  My gal pal and her daughter cracked up at Nancy Huebner and her dog Rusty's lovesick tale: The Doggie Dance, and we all belly-laughed through Todd Chappelle's musical romps: Beige, That's My Soup and More Than BaconErin Magnin, who collaborated on a few numbers throughout the night, struck me with her beautiful ode to a girl who paints her dreams on her body (Violet's Dreams); she simply drew me into Violet's world and made me wish I could do the same!

But I was mostly taken in by the voices of Evangelina Guajardo, Chelsea Sue Allen and Matthew Halley. Evangelina's voice was soulful, rich and quietly powerful. Her piece about a young hitch-hiker made my heart ache. Chelsea had the most interesting sound---a deep, smoky, haunting voice that blended well with her guitar-playing and garnered some of the biggest applause of the night. My friend and I were trying to pinpoint who she reminded us of and finally settled on Fiona Apple.  Matthew Halley (and hope he's not offended by this because I intend it as complimentary) had a wonderful, easy-going and mellow/folky sound that reminded me of the 70's songwriters I love: Glen Frey & Don Henley; Dan Fogelberg; England Dan & John Ford Coley.  I loved his collaboration Finding My Feet with Erin Magnin and Em McKeever, the event organizer. The three of them should tour together.

You can check out all the FAWM'ers on the website below.  Hopefully, you'll revisit the project next year and see what else they have in store for us.  In the meantime, seek out these artists and enjoy their talent...they're some of Delaware's hidden gems!

See www.fawm.org.