The HARD LUCK CAFé Presents
Remember This Great Evening

Saturday, March 21, 2009



The Island Songwriter Showcase (ISS) is a Long Island-based volunteer organization of songwriters, lyricists, producers, engineers, performers, and DJ's with a common purpose: to develop and support musical talent through community, workshops, peer review and live performances. The ISS has become the largest, most visible and sought-after group of songwriters on Long Island.   Visit the ISS website

The Hard Luck Café was proud to present six of the top singer-songwriters of ISS performing a solo set and as writers-in-the-round.


Sonny Speed, Director of the ISS, introduced the performers.

Frank Gambino has been a teacher and track coach at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens for 27 years and a member of ISS for about 10 years. His talent for crafting songs can be heard on his two CD’s produced by Sonny Speed: If Ignorance is Bliss, How Come You’re So Sad? and the new Backin’ Out Ass First with the Semi-Casual Silver String Mezzanine Band. His writing style is varied, according to a review in the ISS newsletter: “Some songwriters are funny, others are philosophical, and yet others deadly serious. Frank manages to be all three, and sometimes all in the same song.” Audiences at ISS workshops are always looking forward to a new Frank Gambino song because you never know what you’re going to get but it will be good!

Jim Baron, singer-songwriter, is best identified by his haunting vocals his evocative lyrics and his elaborate but catchy songs that he welds out of folk, pop, rock and blues. Jim is primarily a soloist and has always allowed his instincts to guide him through adventurous changes throughout his musical career, exemplifying his image of creative freedom and independence. Though originally hailing from Huntington, Jim spent several years busking the streets and subways of New York, Boston and Montreal with just his acoustic guitar and harmonica. He has performed at folk festivals as well as having teamed up with cowpunk bands, rock groups, latin rock and power pop acts, and he has even shared the stage with Pete Seeger. With his latest CD release Chameleon, Amplifier Magazine wrote: "Within the wiry voice of Jim Baron exists the wit, wonder and melodic prowess of Lloyd Cole, Billy Bragg and Robyn Hitchcock..., Baron has the goods to compete with any star on the contemporary singer-songwriter scene and then some."

Vincent Crici has made a career of music. He has played in various bands and duos over the years and is just as comfortable as a soloist and still has found time to earn both a B.S. and M.S. in Music Education. Known as a writer’s writer among the singer/songwriter community, his melody and harmony are standouts and his vocals are smooth and personal, all of which has brought him favorable reviews on his recent solo CD release Against the Moonlight. Vincent has been interviewed on Cable News Network Channel 12 (Long Island)…chosen as Country Star of Tomorrow (1996) by Modern Screen’s Country Music Magazine. His songwriting has been described as: “so strong that today's younger country crowds should be able to easily get behind it as will older, more sophisticated pop listeners.” Vincent was also the subject of a feature article in Newsday. When not playing in Tornado Alley, Vincent keeps busy as an independent producer and studio musician in his own recording studio. Vincent has received many songwriter awards from both the Island Songwriter Showcase and the BACCA Songwriting Contest including overall "Best in Show" and 1st place in the Blues/Country and Popular categories. Vincent says he enjoys crafting songs and playing in Tornado Alley, and feels he is breaking new ground as a writer. "It’s great fun to do three-part harmonies. It’s an awesome experience!"

Tim Dillon began performing back in the early 70’s with the acoustic rock band Full Circle. He began writing songs and was influenced by the music of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). He was also very inspired by some of the local artists who were performing around Long Island at that time. He writes about the people, places and life experiences he has encountered along the way always leaving a little room for hope in his songs. Tim has won the ISS Writers Choice award on a few occasions and has become one of the favorite voices of the group with his soft tone and heart felt songs

David Bailey is a talented, up and coming, Long Island singer-songwriter. He's an active member of the Island Songwriter Showcase (ISS), a Long Island-based volunteer organization of songwriters, lyricists, producers, engineers, performers, and DJ's. David has been a featured performer at several local venues, and he has played open mikes across Long Island, including many FMSH open mikes. He recently shared the bill at our Hard Luck Café and performed to great acclaim. He has just released his first CD.

Lois Morton, a clutterholic, began writing songs in the 60's and continues to this day. She has recently performed in cabaret at Don't Tell Mama on Restaurant Row in NYC, and has worked with the renowned teacher and performer Helen Baldassare. She now focuses on clever, humorous songs of social commentary on such subjects as clutter, cell phones and other topics. She sings in several languages with a special emphasis on French and the songs of Edith Piaf.

  Opening tonight were our featured open mike performers:

Our host tonight was Ira Perlman, and our open mike featured performances by:

  • Walter Sargent
  • Katie Pearlman
  • John Taylor
  • Bob Mist
  • Dave Sette
  • Nina Et cetera
  • Estelle Henrich
  • Newland & Miller
  • Kenny Baum & Denise Romas
  • ...and Hank Stone

  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...