I first met and heard Deb Ziems a year ago at the JPF showcase at Lyrix. It was her birthday and she gave me beads. It was hard to believe a year had passed since then. When I got her MySpace invite to come down to the Commodore Grill, I decided to stop by. It had been a while since I've gotten out to a writer's night other than at the Bluebird, so I went to wish Deb well and also see the newly remodeled venue. The outside of the Holiday Inn is still a work in progress, but indoors it's looking and sounding good, the food is great and the waitstaff is very attentive.
Deb was gracious to invite me to sit with her other friends and her magnificent birthday cake. I met some other really nice folks and other artists. Deb started the evening with a very fine solo set (although she wanted some others on stage with her!).The lineup included many new to me artists and a few familiar faces.
Since the main mission of this blog is to bring recognition to these singer/songwriters, sometimes the toughest part for me with covering writer's nights which feature many artists is getting down all the names of who is playing when. Often times, people just get up on stage and don't introduce themselves or no one does it for them. I appreciated that Debi Champion, who ran sound, introduced everyone frequently, but from where I was sitting I still missed hearing a few names. This is where MySpace really comes in handy. I went to Deb's page and saw that among the friends on her page were some of the artists who played that evening. Then, I went to those artist pages and found some of the others they played with. (Of course, I added as many as I could find to my page!)
So with all that out of the way, let me give you the names of those I know that I did hear when I was there. In the "those I've heard before category" besides Deb were Scott Jarman, Frank Knapp and David Seger (I know I heard David somewhere--hopefully I will remember where!). "Heard of but not heard live" before were CJ Watson and Don and Karen McNatt. I recognized Don right away because I often watch his songwriters show on local cable. I'm sure I watched it while I've visited town before I moved, because I recall thinking "wow, if I lived here, I could see these shows all the time!" So of course, now I do and I do. Accompanying CJ was Jeff Jergenson, who was a member of the Dillards and who blew us away with his playing. Others new to me were Mike Mayo, Vickie Raye, Lisa Shaffer, and Jon Eben. My apologies to any whose names I didn't get or who I may have missed after I left. It was a musically solid evening.
I've got a birthday coming up next month (the 9th). I can't think of a better way to spend it than to go to a writer's night here in town, so that's what I plan to do.
Thank you, Deb, for your hospitality and for introducing me to all the great new artists and people I met and heard that evening. It was a sweet evening and it's a sweet town.