After a most successful kick off to our New England Songwriter Showcase Series, we’d like to recount the night’s events, and look forward to what is still to come.
It was a dark, cold January evening. The town of Brattleboro was buzzing with anticipation. Six individual beacons coming together to offer a brief respite from the darkness. Like moths to a flame, people from around the greater area were drawn to the light. Those in attendance ranged in their description, the one unifying factor being their hunger. They all hungered for entertainment, for contemplation, for a piece of the collective soul. All of which, we were there to deliver.
“These events can be so serious, and for good reason, but sometimes you just need to have fun.”
As with nearly all endeavors, things did not go according to plan. However, they did happen exactly as they needed to. When two acts notified us that they would be unable to perform, we had a decision to make. Do we trim the show down to four acts? That would be plenty, each would get a longer set, and that would seem to be fairly reasonable. However, at Oak Honest Records, we are unreasonable. We had promised a night filled with different ideas, stories, and perspectives. We intended to deliver that experience to our fans, no matter what it took. We made some calls and to say we pulled it off would be an understatement.
The night began with a set from New Hampshire based Becca Myari. Becca is a special talent who is able to command a boisterous audience, bring them down to a whisper, and draw them deeper into the experience. Becca’s music tells stories of love found and lost, while also exploring themes of a spiritual nature. She blends traditional folk sensibilities with a new age approach and subject matter. This was our first time working together, and should it be up to us, it won’t be the last.
Next was our friend and recent collaborator, Tobias Moore. Toby is a longstanding figure of the Brattleboro music scene and it was an honor to feature him in this kick off event. Tobias laid it all on the line with songs from the heart and songs from… somewhere else. Mr. Moore is a serious songwriter who arranges impressive material, but his fun loving sense of humor is what really elevated the mood. These events can be so serious, and for good reason, but sometimes you just need to have fun.
Now that everyone had been loosened up, it was time to raise the energy in the room. Stepping up to the plate to deliver some rock ‘n’ roll fervor was OHR and Riley Lücifer’s own Double J, Jason Jensen. Jason brought the same rambunctious ruckus that he would bring to a RL show, and even some of the same songs. He displayed his band’s material as well as his own solo songwriting prowess with ease, and defied genre boundaries with his authenticity. While in some cases, the atmosphere at acoustic shows can be morose; Jason had everyone riled up, engaged, and in full on ‘good time’ mode.
It was at this time that we began to anticipate what we thought was perhaps the best set of the night, that of James Goyette. James is a Brattleboro local who can often be found at open mics and local shows, both as a performer and an audience member. While he may be mostly unknown to folks outside of town, he writes songs like a well traveled folk veteran, similar to that of John Prine, Blaze Foley, and the like. We started this label with folks like James in mind, and moments like his set are why we work to bring awareness to the vast talent in the New England area.
After all that had occurred, you’d think that there was nothing more that could be done, and well, you’d be wrong! Our long time friend Greg Eichler, who was celebrating his birthday, treated our fans to a set that had folks jammin’. Greg is a full time musician who, through various projects, has put in serious work in growing his reach in southern New England. He and his band Allovous brought their captivating styles to our first label showcase back in November, and this solo performance was no different! Jaws hit the floor, people were dancing, someone passing by would not likely believe that this was an acoustic songwriters showcase!
Closing out the night was label owner Derek O’Kanos. Derek is known, if at all, as a vocal powerhouse who kicks out the jams in a rapid fire manner of delivery. Derek brought some new material, some time tested favorites, and even some acoustic adaptations of O’K and the Night Crew material that were heard for the first time. The boss man did what he does best and that is to take a crowd, earn their respect, and send ’em home happy.
This was a night of communal story-telling, of getting together to share memories, experiences, and ideas. Though, above all else, it was fun. The kind of fun a person needs, not just now and again, but as often as possible. Life can be difficult, especially in the uncharted territory we now find ourselves in. This showcase has proven that it can be a light source for those involved. Come share that experience with your friends here at Oak Honest Records!
Our monthly traveling showcase has only just begun! Next month a new line-up of talented performers heads down to the Grady Tavern in Manchester, Connecticut. Each month, you’ll find us in a different New England state, with a different cast of characters. Here’s a look ahead at the schedule:
Feb 11 – Grady Tavern – Manchester, CT
Mar 26 – Castle Island Beer Co. – Norwood, MA
Apr 23 – Definitive Brewing – Portland, ME
May 21 – Liquid Therapy – Nashua, NH
Jun ?? – TBA – TBA, RI
We’ll be seeing you on the road! Come see what all the fuss is about!