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SAW Notes

  • 11/22/2017 9:08 AM | Jay Keating (Administrator)

    The first time I listened to Gaelynn Lea, it was with my eyes closed. I was letting videos cycle on the computer while I took a break and noticed this unique sound coming out of my speakers. A violin that seemed different. A voice unique, emotional and affecting. And the words struck me, “Our love’s a complex vintage wine, all rotted leaves and lemon rinds…”.  The effect on me was a mournful joy that Celtic music seems to convey so effortlessly.

    When I turned to the screen, I was greeted by the image of this amazing woman playing violin like a cello. The winner of NPR Tiny Desk Concert 2016 was the You Tube headline. She was small and in a wheelchair and I would be lying if I said that didn’t affect me. I watched with equal measures of respect and curiosity. She finished her song and began to talk. Her presence, the solid joy and confidence in her voice taught me some silent lessons that I am still trying to fathom. Her music, her infectious upbeat grateful presence. The way she sang with her eyes closed and her head lifted.  I became a fan. 

    Then I forgot about her until SAW luminary Michael Roth brought her to my attention.  Could SAW’s new president help her find a gig?  I jumped at the chance and she graciously agreed to do a SAW Serves fundraiser where we split the money. The concert we put together was a frenetic jumble of tasks, decisions, negotiations and deadlines. Some great folks in SAW and at Bethesda United Methodist Church did a lot of the heavy lifting to make things happen. I was my usual frenetic nervous wreck until that moment when she started to play for the small crowd we assembled.

    It happened again. Her music, her words, her presence all conspired to make me listen, let go, relax and as she says in one of her new pieces, just breathe. It was the best beginning to a thanksgiving Week I have had in a while. If you missed it, we will post a video or two but know that the 50 or so folks who were there were the lucky ones. Bob Boilen of NPR’s All Songs Considered came and stayed for the show and afterwards.  He thanked SAW for finding her a place to play.  

    Songwriters come from every and all places. And in that crowd, Gaelynn Lea sticks out for me. As Ron Goad opined, “More talent per pound than any other performer!” Thanksgiving can be a stress eating jumble of a holiday. This Thanksgiving I am better aware of my own gratitude and will hold that closely if I get into any political arguments with Uncle Ned.

    SAW will have her back again in May.  I would encourage you to find the time to see her then

  • 11/02/2017 6:09 PM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    SAW is partnering with the City of Gaithersburg and Domenic Cicala to present a music business workshop with Charlie Faye & Concert with her group, Charlie Faye & the Fayettes on November 18.

    Charlie Faye is known for having an innovative way of doing things. She put herself on the map back in 2010 when she did a 10-month residency tour living in a different city each month, putting together a new band of local musicians, and recording a new song in each city. Charlie Faye & The Fayettes
    (YouTube video) has garnered major media attention and critical praise, rising into the top 20 on the Americana Radio Chart and getting songs placed in major network television shows. 

    Charlie often does consulting for other independent artists, using her knowledge to help other musicians get their projects off the ground. She works with newbies who are releasing a record for the first time, and experienced artists who have been in the business for decades. Charlie will answer questions about recording and releasing an album, marketing, publicity, radio promo, sync licensing, self-management, and efficient touring, among other topics. 

    SAW president, Jay Keating will interview Charlie as part of this workshop. There will be a Q&A session following the interview, and participants. Sign up for both the workshop and concert and receive a 20% discount (use code "SAW20" to get the discount). See Facebook event.

  • 11/02/2017 6:07 PM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)
    Last week, students at Magruder (Gaithersburg, MD) and Centreville (VA) High Schools were treated to a special presentation (sponsored by SAW and Focus Music) from Rick Udler, an amazing Brazilian guitarist who played several other local gigs while he was in town. Rick shared some of his music to packed rooms and answered questions about his experience as a musician and songwriter. Thanks to Ron Goad and Jay Keating for setting up this great outreach program, and to Ron, who also acted as Rick’s agent, host, chauffeur, and percussionist during his visit. 
  • 10/20/2017 12:15 PM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    2016 NPR Tiny Desk Contest Winner, Gaelynn Lea, is a unique and transformative folk musician. Steeped in a Celtic sensibility, she creates a world of music like no other. Along with Dave Mehling she will perform a concert in support of SAW Serves & in partnership with Focus Music (focusmusic.org) on Monday, November 20 at Bethesda United Methodist Church. See Gaelynn Lea's website and watch her performance for the Tiny Desk Concert here.

    Tickets are $15 advance; $18 at the door. Purchase tickets here.

  • 10/17/2017 8:02 AM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    Congratulations to SAW member, toolbox regular, and songwriter extraordinaire Eryn Michel! Her song "Old Habits", which she first presented at the MD Songwriters' Toolbox just a month or two ago, has been awarded first place in the American Songwriter Nov/Dec lyric contest. From Eryn:

    At my first SAW writer’s workshop in Rockville, Jay Keating challenged us to write something every single day, no matter how little. I don’t know what happened, but something just clicked. I’ve written every single day since. Because I was already in the habit of writing every day, I was ready when the opening lines of “Old Habits” popped into my head in early September. I attribute that directly to the support I’ve found and what I’ve learned about songcraft through SAW’s workshops and events. I’ve learned discipline and accountability without losing any of the fun of why I write songs. 

    To any SAW members who are sitting on the sidelines, worried about going to an event or workshop by yourself, don’t fret! The hardest part is just showing up. Bring a supportive friend or come and make new friends—heck, come find me and I’ll be your friend. I joined SAW last autumn, but I wasn’t able to attend any events until the June 2017 Community Day. I was admittedly scared because I didn’t know a soul there, and I hadn’t played in front of anyone but family for half a decade. I was pleasantly surprised to meet so many instantly supportive musicians and lyricists at all different stages and genres. Whatever your goals with your songwriting, you’ll get out what you put into your membership, and that starts by coming out to a workshop, a SAW open mic, or any of the wonderful showcases or events SAW puts on. See you there!

    Read Eryn's interview with American Songwriter and visit her website.

  • 10/05/2017 9:41 PM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    GoodDeedSeats (a national ticketing agency) recently selected the New Deal as one of The 35 Best Folk Music Venues in the U.S. No doubt this honor was made possible thanks to the outstanding monthly open mics (held 1st and 4th Thursdays of the month) run by Paige Powell and Lynn Hollyfield (pictured here), respectively. Many SAW members have performed at this Greenbelt institution over the years, often with the well-balanced Frank Kayser running sound. If you haven't been to the New Deal, you owe it to yourself.

  • 10/03/2017 8:04 AM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    The Songwriters' Toolbox sessions expand into the District with a monthly time slot on the first Saturday of the month. Please join us at Takoma Park Neighborhood Library on Saturday, November 4, starting at noon. Our Toolbox sessions continue to be very successful and are a great way to connect with your fellow songwriters and get some thoughtful feedback in a respectful, positive environment. Remember to bring copies of your lyrics, as it really helps the discussion. The next Maryland Songwriters' Toolbox is Saturday, Oct 14. The Songwriters' Toolbox sessions are organized by Jay Keating, Jay@know1else.com. Feel free to contact him with any questions or to get involved.

  • 09/20/2017 7:58 AM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    SAW will once again be hosting a late night “guerrilla showcase” at the North East Regional Folk Alliance in Stamford, CT on November 9 -12, 2017. If you are planning on attending the NERFA music conference, and would like a showcase slot, please email Loralyn Coles at loralyn@mindspring.com

  • 06/28/2017 8:02 AM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    Our annual Community Day (held Saturday June 24) brought songwriters from Frederick to Fredericksburg together for a fabulous day of, about, and for song. Many songs were sung, instruments were played (including the saw!), techniques and critiques were shared, old friends reconnected, new relationships began, and much fun was had. See the SAW facebook page for many more photos (thanks to Jay Keating).

    For anyone that missed Saturday and may be curious about how Community Day's critique sessionswork, Jim Thorne provides a recap:

    First Impressions:  A group of six panelists from various parts of the music business listened to the first 60 seconds of all the original songs submitted by the attendees. There was quite a diverse range of music styles and arrangements, and the panelists reacted by offering helpful suggestions. After the feedback, the song creators identified themselves and offered their own explanations of the recordings.

    Performance Critiques: Three music reviewers from SAW filled out detailed score sheets as they listened to several live performances. The performance categories included things like stage presence, microphone technique and instrument tuning. The audience got to enjoy a showcase of many songs, and the performers collected their score sheets afterward for reference. 

  • 01/03/2017 5:40 PM | Kelly Diamond (Administrator)

    Playing out more, maybe? And supporting local music? SAW offers lots of opportunities to do both, including these monthly events happening this week:

    New Deal Cafe open mic (1st Thursday)
    Singer-Songwriter Showcase at Outta the Way cafe (1st Thursday) - with Know1Else, Rob Gould, and Barry Fantle
    Open Mic at Rockville Legion Hall (1st Friday)
    Friday Nights Live Music (1st Friday)

Songwriters' Association of Washington is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


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