We Love Songwriters. Why did I begin We Love Songwriters? After about two years of living in the city, I felt I was witnessing a large amount of cover music, which in many ways makes sense seeing as NYC is such a money driven city, people come here to make money, and I hear it has become even more this way in the recent past. Unless you are further along in your music career, cover music is a far surer way of making money to help support yourself. As musicians, we all do what we gotta do! But ultimately, we do it for the love, we do it to express ourselves, to share with others, to share our opinions with the world, to leave some kind of mark, and to be heard.
THAT is why I created this event. I created it to make available a place where we can share our original music, hear feedback, write together, be moved together and all the while, end up feeling more connected to each other. And last Thursday night exceeded all my expectations and met all of the above criteria I was hoping would come forth from We Love Songwriters.
Thursday, August 31st.
Feature artist: Robert Brashear
Right on the eve of September 1st, we all gathered at the Shrine World Music Venue hoping to hang on to the summer’s warmth as we transition into the fall months, and the change of pace that is to come. I arrived at the Shrine, walked down the colorful steps, and walked into We Love Songwriters, looked up and saw a room full of smiling faces and instruments. Who had brought all these people? It was Robert Brashear.
It is no surprise to me that the Robert Brashear’s feature night on We Love Songwriters be one of our most successful nights thus far. Robert Brashear’s dedication, love and support for the musical community in NYC, as well as NYC as a whole, has undoubtedly left him with great supporters of him as a person and his music. I looked around the room, as I exclaimed to fellow songwriter Joel McGlynn, “Robert Brashear has pull!!”
The night that unfolded from here on was a very special one, one touched by even a hint of magic I would say.
Feature artists begin their sets at 10pm and seeing as the event starts at 930pm, there is a half an hour open to other songwriters to “open” for the feature artist. Joel McGlynn took the reins and started off our night with enthusiasm. Co-founder and member of bad-ass duo Hot Glue and The Gun (alongside his incredibly talented wife, Carrie), Joel was flying solo tonight. He graced us with his rockin’, emotive and always a tad bit theatrical performances. As a very socially conscious human and songwriter, Joel is always entertaining, but also makes us explore serious issues as he did when he lyrically embodied a homeless man, launching into monologue and song explaining that the complexities of their daily lives. Stay tuned for more on Joel and Hot Glue and the Gun !
Robert Brashear takes the stage to begin his set. I notice he has a bandage on his arm. He later announces he had arm surgery to fix nerve issues in his arm. A mere mortal might have asked me to reschedule his feature show date, but not Robert. He begins the show, guitar in hand, and launches into song. That is some serious dedication! Robert Brashear is foremost an Americana artist, but Thursday night he took us on a little ride exploring all his different sides. He brought up members of his musical posse(as I like to call them), as they accompanied him on guitar, banjo, and back up vocals for his blues tunes, his more theatrical tunes, his storytelling tunes and mainly for his down to earth American roots music.
It was a delight seeing all of Robert Brasher’s different sides, watching his body move to the guitar of Mike Handleman, as his hands rose up, and he began to feel alive! You could tell he was having a great time, as his friends and fans cheered him on and he continued to create a vibe of community during his set. This is the same community vibe he creates outside of his musical performances as well. My heart felt very warm, and I think everyone else could feel it too. Robert ended his set with his tune “Carolina, Goin’ Home”. Everyone there knew his song. On the chorus they all sang along and harmonized as he ended his set with:
Carolina, this much I know
She’s goin back to you
She’s goin’ home
May the mountains’ warm embrace
Grant you peace and grant you grace
Let their rhythms rock you then
Find your voice, begin again
After an amazing set by Robert Brashear, we continued the night with other amazing songwriters, one of which brought her piano with her to play a few tunes for us. The amazing Michelle DeAngelis.
I first met Michelle at Prohibiton NYC as we were one of the 4 singer songwriters in the singer-songwriter with which happens there every last sunday of the month. I was immediately amazed by her incredible piano skills, accompanied by incredible soulful lush powerful vocals And last Thursday was no exception. Michelle begins to sing, and she is the kind of performer that makes people stop and listen, and focus on every word and note she shares. A true raw talent. We will be having Michelle on as a feature on We Love Songwriters soon, so stay tuned for that!
Ida is such a joy to be around. Her energy and spunkiness easily win your heart over in a second. And although she is spunky and playful, the songs she performed on Thursday were highly emotional songs. Songs about longing for ones we cannot be with, and songs about human thresholds and how we sometimes find ourselves at our “Breaking Point”. The audience was highly receptive to her and her music! In fact, an audience member later told me her music moved him so that he cried, (what a compliment for Ida!). Another audience member was so moved, that as I asked if anyone else would like to perform, he said yes, but wanted Ida to keep playing the chords of the tune she was last playing! So she did, and there it happened, We Love Songwriters’ first live co-write! Now my heart was REALLY full.
“Verse” rapper MC, began singing a melody line with lyrics that came so effortlessly it was impressive. He sang:
Bad things happen to good people
I know you don’t like how it sound
Good things happen to bad people
I wish it was the other way around
I just stared as I watched this highly political song unfold about his experiences as an African Amercian man in the USA and how it feels for him just to walk around outside in society. We all sang along to his chorus and I was overwhelmed with feeling. Robert Brashear turned to me and said “This is why you do this CC.”
Another wonderful performer rapper MC and supporter of our event is Future Da Great, who often fills my heart with his kindness and appreciation of the other artists and their music. He shared the stage with Verse and Michelle DeAngelis as more amazing songs began unfolding from such raw and beautiful places!
Robert Brashear was right, that is why I do this. Thursday was and is everything I hope We Love Songwriters can be, a place for people to express themselves, create and share life and our experiences together. Thank you to everyone for last Thursday. There is no other place I would rather have been. Tim’ next Thursday.
Cc Eve. 🙂
One thought on “We Love Songwriters: The Magic of Robert Brashear”
This is a wonderful article, beautifully written and touching… !!