Many great singer-songwriters perform at Avogadro’s Number, from all over the country, but my favorites are almost always the local musicians who grace the open mics and serve as supporting acts for the touring musicians.
This week Avogadro’s Number will be hosting a singer-songwriter showcase featuring 5 of the musicians who are familiar faces at the open mics and around the Fort Collins music scene- Derek Blake, Eric Bjella, Luke Callen, Robin Lewis and Charity Mondok. All any of these 5 musicians need is time and luck to go from local musicians to nationally known stars, but right now you can catch them all in one show, for just $5, this coming Thursday at Avogadro’s Number.
Derek is a member of several local bands, including the Free Range Pickens and Funky Tunk Heroes. When he is playing solo, he performs some of the same songs as are in these bands’ repertoires, along with a lot of great original songs that have not yet filtered into his bands’ shows, and some great cover songs. His music falls into the jam-band acoustic folk style, so if you like bands like the Grateful Dead, you’ll probably like Derek’s music.
Robin is also a member of Free Range Pickens, and a lot of her favorite solo tunes are also incorporated into that band’s shows, but her solo style is softer and more lyrical than Derek’s. Robin is an excellent folk singer and her original songs blend easily with the traditional folk tunes in her solo shows.
Tomorrow’s showcase has several folk singers, but it isn’t just a folk show. Charity Mondok, who is currently first in the line-up, plays a very different style of music, punk. Most of the time when I’ve seen her on stage she is wearing a Ramones t-shirt, and seems to be channeling their edginess into her own songs and her favorite covers. It can be tough carrying off punk as a solo artist, but Charity is quite good at it.
Eric was one of the musicians in this month’s Black Mountain Ramble. He has a daughter and his songwriting draws from his life as a husband and father, making his music quite appealing to most of us middle-aged grown-ups. He may not be playing this year’s dance-party favorites, ever, but his songs are well-crafted and may have the longevity that party songs lack. His fans will never grow out of his music.
Luke is a member of the great new jam-band/folk-rock band Von Stomper, but he has been playing music solo for years. His solo style is a bluesy folk that draws on the soft drawl and catchy rhythms of the South. He has lots of great original stuff, and also knows a bunch of traditional music, so he has a decent repertoire to draw from for his solo shows.