Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shantel Adams, Ben West, Scott Jarman, Denise Benson, Bluebird Cafe 11/25/08

I am always surprised and flattered when people I haven't met before find my blog and tell me they've read it. I'm also humbled when people extend to me special invitations to their shows. So it was when Shantel Adams invited me to hear her in a Bluebird round. I already knew two of the other writers in the round, Scott Jarman and Ben West. When Denise Benson arrived, I realized I'd met her previously as well.

Native Canadian Shantel Adams was the new one in the group to me. She's had some successes with charting songs in Canada and is currently doing well with a Canadian Christmas song. She has a lovely gentle voice with, as was pointed out in the round, an Anne Murray type quality. Her songs received a most favorable reception from the crowd, among those being a beautiful Christmas song called "Thank God For Christmas", "He Sure Cleans Up Good" (on which she was joined by co-writer Janice Gilbert on vocals), "That Makes You You", and a fun tune a lot of us can relate to which urged us to "just say no to your high school reunion." Shantel is certainly one to keep an ear out for.

Two words aptly describe Kentucky guy Ben West: country gentleman. He's a traditionalist all the way and a charming entertainer. He amused and enlightened us with his autobiographical tunes "Cause I'm Country" and "This Hat Ain't No Act", "Grinnin From Gear To Gear", and touched us with "Nothing To Lose" about leaving home to make it in Nashville.

Dallas, TX native Denise Benson showed us some very strong material, starting us out with the very fun "Hunk of Bubba" and "I Must Be in Texas" (because there was salsa at the buffet). One inspirational highlight was the song co-written with Brandon Maddox, "Enough Grace".

Scott Jarman, who I run into often at songwriter events and rounds, is a solid singer/songwriter. Unfortuately, I didn't hear most of his song titles. Memo to artists: help out us bloggers, writers and fans and tell us the names of your songs! I really liked the first love song he did, as well as one he set up with a Civil War metaphor.

Overall, a very nice evening of good songwriting. As always, my good wishes and prayers going up for these folks hoping to get hit cuts in this town.

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