Area music fans will get a rare peek at the songwriting process when five area musicians discuss and perform their original songs at Writers in the Round.
The event, the first of its kind in Brainerd, will be held at 7:34 p.m. Tuesday at the Dryden Theatre at Central Lakes College. Admission is $5 and doors will open at 7 p.m.
Steve Anderson of Merrifield and Donny Vosen of Lake Shore will be joined by Fargo-Moorhead guitarists Darrin Wentz, Keith Axtman and Eric Addington. The event, which focuses on the stories behind the songs rather than the songs themselves, will be recorded by Michael Harvey of the CLC Technical Theatre faculty.
"This concept is not new," said Anderson, an instrumental music instructor at CLC and a regular performer at Bar Harbor in Lake Shore. "They are common in Nashville, and more recently they've become popular in the Fargo area."
Writers in the Round originated about five years ago in Fargo when Wentz and Axtman -- and later other musicians -- gathered privately to jam and talk about songwriting. Recently, they decided to perform publicly. They will sit in the center of the theater with the audience surrounding them.
"My Music Industry class students are among those who may find this quite interesting," said Anderson. "Last year these students produced a CD, and an event such as this could inspire more of the talented writers out there to continue with their creativity."
"This kind of event offers a different perspective for the audience," said Vosen, another veteran of the Bar Harbor scene. "It serves to educate and entertain. The songwriters I have witnessed at 'writers in the round' venues in Nashville and Fargo share their experiences and help aspiring musicians find their voice."
The featured songwriters:
Addington, who performs solo and in the acoustic duo Flatlands, combines folk and finger styles with subtle blues influences on the guitar and writes songs that evoke an emotional and intelligent response. "He is an acoustic Everyman, singing about things his audiences can relate to," Vosen said. Addington has shared the stage with BB King and Indigenous.
From 1974-96, Anderson was a full-time club entertainer. His work-and-play-for-pay journey led him from Wisconsin to Montana before he trimmed the mileage to nurture his love for teaching at CLC. Aside from teaching and directing students and community volunteers in CLC bands, Anderson remains active as an entertainer and is relentless in his devotion to the tuba, the instrument he majored in at St. Cloud State University. He annually coordinates the Tuba Christmas serenade of shoppers at the Westgate Mall.
Axtman's powerful vocals take rock and country roots over the edge. "He prospers with carefully thought-out melodies and lyrical hooks," Vosen said. His guitar speaks volumes, based on a reputation earned as lead vocalist and guitarist for the country-rock band Lonesome Run. His song "Woman Don't Want My Love" placed him in the top 1 percent of the Billboard Songwriters contest. Today he has settled into a regional performance schedule. His first CD is due out this year.
Vosen has more than 20 years of experience on stage and in the studio. Anderson considers Vosen's artistry to be the "benchmark for singers/songwriters in this area." Vosen's voice bears a mature and smoky timbre that wraps around a lyrical message to lead the audience exactly where he wants it to go. His recordings, "The Beginners Guide to Donny Vosen" and "After Hours," spotlight melodies that stretch from jazz and rock 'n' roll to country swing and contemporary pop.
Wentz is a clever, wry and catchy songwriter whose melodies are colored with "an evocative and supple brush" painted by a "soft, deep voice and serious approach," said Vosen. Wentz is compiling original music for an album to be released this summer.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.