Saturday, March 19, 2011
The Hard Luck Café welcomed six songwriter-performers from the Island Songwriters Showcase (ISS). For the fourth year, ISS members nominated the performers for their talent and accomplishment. Each one is a gem, a songwriter with a voice that is truly their own. Some performed solo and some with a small ensemble. In addition, they also collaborated on a few very special group numbers. The evening was unique, varied and a lot of fun.
The Island Songwriters Showcase (ISS) is a Long Island-based volunteer organization of songwriters with a shared goal of becoming better songwriters through peer review, coaching, collaboration and performing. Now in its 21st year, the ISS has become the largest, most visible and sought-after group of songwriters on Long Island. Visit the ISS website. Anyone can join. It's free and there are no dues.
Walter Sargent, Director of the ISS, introduced the performers.
Akiva plays at synagogues, retreats, drum circles and concerts around the world. He will be bringing out his first book: Holy Drumming: A Manual for Drummers Accompanying People At Prayer. He has been asked to teach his approach at the major Jewish seminaries. He has opened a school, The Holy Drumming Institute, and will graduate his first class this spring, Gid willing.
As a teenager, Akiva played with the father of Jewish music, Shlomo Carlebach. Later he played with Paul of Peter, Paul & Mary. In recent years he has been playing with a who’s who of Jewish music including Shefa Gold, Alberto Mizrachi, Craig Taubman, Debbie Freidman and Storahtelling. Lately, he is branching out, playing in folk, gospel and interfaith settings. Akiva lives on a beach in Huntington with his wife and two children. There he runs a small shul where people come to sing, pray and dance!
His first CD The Rhythm of Gid is nearing completion. Visit Akiva's website at: Akiva the Believer
Cathy Kreger Singer, songwriter, guitarist - has been performing for more than 18 years. Her musical style is a unique combination of adult contemporary and old blues, with an alternative folk flair. Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) once said "No doubt about it. She has a great voice and really has her act together." She has acquired a devoted fan base throughout the Northeast, especially in Connecticut, New York, and Long Island, where a thriving music scene exists.
From the time she was a girl, Cathy has had the continuous inspiration of her musical parents, who toured the East Coast coffeehouses and summer camps as folksingers. A single experience, which moved her to sing at age 5, came from the feeling she had when listening to Cat Steven's "Peace Train." She realized even then that there was an opportunity for her to provide the safe place that comes from reaching inside yourself and exposing your own emotions, giving people the ability to experience theirs. This was the power she found in herself when she heard that song for the first time, the power that still drives her today. "When I'm at a show," she says, "I like to be stretched like a rubber band, to laugh, to cry, to be entertained. That's what I try to do on stage. If you're interested in feeling your emotions, you’ll want to be at my show." visit Cathy's website at: Cathy Kreger
Lois Morton began writing songs in the late sixties, and at the suggestion of Pete Seeger, had several topical songs published in Broadside Magazine. After a long hiatus, which included raising a family, teaching, writing children's books and ESL textbooks, and directing a continuing education program at the YWCA, she returned to songwriting in the mid nineties. She currently focuses on humorous songs of social commentary on subjects such as CLUTTER, CELL PHONES, PSYCHOTHERAPY, et. al., which have delighted audiences at Acoustic Long Island, the Huntington Folk Music Society, and other performance venues. Her song Confessions of a Clutterholic received a standing ovation at the National Conference of Professional Organizers.
As a cabaret performer, Lois has sudied with reknowned teacher and performer Helen Baldassare, in Manhattan and in Tuscany. Lois' multicultural repertoire includes songs in several languages, with a special emphasis on French and the songs of Edith Piaf. visit Lois' website at: Lois Morton
Sonny Meadows is a gravel voiced topical singer and songwriter who has released 10 albums of original material over the past decade or so. Some have been solo, some with his band, The Defibrillators, and some with the quintet Blacklisted and the Banned. He redid Millard Lampell's Woody Guthrie Tribute back in 2000 and 2002, assembling a number of musicians and raising funds for the Huntington Disease Association. His music has been on the soundtrack for the PBS documentary on the World Trade Center disaster and he has written theme songs for several public access television programs. Sonny has been the opening act for such folk music greats as John Hammond and Christine Lavin, and with his band opened for Leon Russell and The Zombies. His most recent CD Tolerance is an album of his inimitable lighthearted material.
Currently Sonny and The Defibrillators are working on a tenth anniversary CD featuring some of their classic material and a handful of new tunes. Visit Sonny's website at: Sonny Meadows
Turtlehead's (aka Jill Decker) mom and dad met when her father, the local piano store owner, was asked to fill in for the pianist at a college recital. The performer he was to accompany was her mother.
The biggest influence in Jill’s life has been music, as her parents owned a few music stores and manufactured their own line of electronic pianos. When Jill was a little child she was encouraged to perform before mall crowds on the big pedalboard organs to stimulate business and was given the weekly duty of arranging the sheet music in top 20 order. Not knowing how all the songs went, she would read the lyrics to imagine how they sounded. In this way she developed a 'feel' for how lyrics were structured and how they unraveled a coherent story or message. Years later, along with a degree in English literature, Jill was able to tie this knowledge to the insightful comments and suggestions offered to her by fellow members at ISS meetings.
To Jill, it only takes one interested listener for her to feel like a star, as she writes and performs out of personal satisfaction and need of expression regarding those concerns that effect her and the world.
Jill is a long time member of the ISS. You can hear her songs online at: Turtlehead
Walt Sargent writes: "I have been fascinated with music my whole life. From an early age, I have wanted to understand what made music tick. Curiosity and passion led me to piano, guitar and voice lessons. I studied theory & composition and spent years of performing with rock, blues and reggae bands. I also spent many wonderful years with Opera Pro Voce."
And now, after years of exposure to the theory and the mechanics of what makes it all tick, Walt says "it seems these are all just tools to explore the question further. Every song, every performance is a test to see if I can make something that ticks and clicks like the music that inspired me. I call it "FROJ" – folk, reggae, opera and jazz - and hope it sounds better than it sounds." visit Walt's website at: Walt SargentPHOTO BY S. RUTMAN
Opening tonight were our featured open mike performers:
Our open mike tonight featured performances by: If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...
Our open mike tonight featured performances by:
If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...