June 3 was our first night in a new series of twice-monthly Friday showcases at The Porch Cafe in Santa Margarita. John Nowel added fiddle to showcase host Steve Key's opening set, two songs from the discography of the late great Guy Clark, "Old Friends" and "Come From the Heart."
The Porch has changed a little bit in the four years since we last did a showcase there. The wall separating the two storefronts has largely been removed, so that listeners can sit in the original storefront and watch our performance at a distance. Or they can sit a few feet away and enjoy every note. The music room has added stage lights, which allows us to turn off all the overhead flourescents for a romantic touch. There is a piano in the stage area, but so far no one has tried it out.
Rob Kimball said his first Songwriters At Play showcase was at The Porch, back in our three-year run of Thursday nights (2009-12). He returned for the new Friday series debut, also adding a couple Guy Clark songs in his four-song set.
John Nowel kept the Guy Clark theme going with "Dublin Blues", and several originals. Showcase newcomer Trent Babb added a guest set, and then we closed out the night with featured act Jim Conroy.
Although he's played many of our events, this was Jim's debut at The Porch, and he turned heads, as cafe regulars wondered who was that guy with the booming baritone voice and dynamic stage presence. Jim told a very toucing story about his 96-year-old mother's recent passing, and played several ballads from the "Live at D'Anbino" CD by his band, The Mystery Brothers.
Next show at the Porch on Friday June 15 features Luis Oliart, with his many guitars and various musical styles, plus Lauren Tannenbaum, PJ Robertson, and Amie Richie. Steve Key kicks it off at 7pm.
Thanks to our generous venue hosts, Sarah and Byron. Great to see old friends Marilyn, Sue, and other friendly faces in the crowd. Come back! Photos by Bonnie Nelson-Key.