The first show of the second season of what is usually a quarterly event, the Songwriters Spotlight, took place Saturday night at the New Hazlett Theater.
Hosted by Joe Grushecky and Rick Witkowski. The guest songwriters were Greg Joseph (The Clarks), Maddie Georgi and Jeff Schmutz (Good Brother Earl).
The format: Each singer-songwriter performs two to three of their original songs, then each performs a cover of a song that they wish they wrote, and the two hours of music ends with a group collaboration / sing-a-long.
The hosts Mr. Grushecky and Mr. Witkoswki are at each end of a semi-circle with the guest singer-songwriters in the middle.
Mr. Grushecky offered "The Sun is Going to Shine" (East Carson Street), "Another Rainy Day in Pittsburgh (Fingerprints) sounding like it was from Jimmy Webb/Burt Bacharach 1960's era, "Beauty Fades" (A Good Life), along with his cover of The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses". He also reminisced, on the anniversary of Elvis Presely's birth, about a visit to Graceland before it was open to the public, which gave way to an impromptu short medley of Presley's songs.
Mr. Witkoswki sang the rocky hip hop Gothic "Do You Have it (Guts)" and a song from the "Prog Rock" group Crack the Sky's 3rd album that he wrote with his wife that had the 1940's feel to it "A Night on the Town" (played on the ukulele). He covered the Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned "Will You Love Me Tomorrow".
Mr. Joseph performed "Mississippi Mud" (with a sampling of "Delta Dawn" at the end), "Snowman" (a children's song about cocaine), and "Magazine" along with a cover of David Gray's "Babylon" which was spot on.
Ms. Georgi is a freshman in college, who found herself center stage amongst the more seasoned songwriters. She sang "Shades of Green", "I Like The Way That Feels", and "Already Gone" (about your senior year of high school going by too quickly). Ms. Georgi's cover of Leonard Cohen's "'Hallelujah" was simply breathtaking.
Mr. Schmutz songs included "Glass Tiger" and "Firefly" with a cover of the Hank Williams Sr. song "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" which gave him a chance to yodel.
The final number was Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" with the audience accompanying the talented singer-songwriters each time on the chorus.
It was the 3rd Songwriters Spotlight I was able to attend and I look forward to future installments to discover more local singer-songwriters.
Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host
greg joseph jeff schmutz joe grushecky maddie georgi rick witkowski singer-songwriters songwriters spotlight