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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Local musicians show songwriting savvy skills at Tucson Songwriter Showcase


    Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat
    Local songwriter and Tucson Songwriter Showcase host Ron Pandy plays an original song titled “Raining Cats and Dogs” at Himmel Park on Tuesday. The song was written on an airplane, because, as Pandy said, “If the plane goes down, there in the wreckage, they’ll find the last words of Ron Pandy.”

    Local musicians and their creativity will be in the spotlight the second Wednesday of each month as the Monterey Court holds the Tucson Songwriter Showcase on its courtyard stage.

    Ron Pandy hosts the annual show in addition to participating in the showcase. The event, according to Monterey Court’s official website, is inspired by the success of the Nashville Songwriter’s Showcase. Each month, there are nine new performers — three groups total — in the lineup who spend the night swapping songs. 

    “Each group has time to play four songs each,” Pandy said. “They also are encouraged to play along if they can on the other’s song.”

    All styles of music are represented at the showcase, from folk and country to jazz and rap. While the performers take the stage, people of all ages are invited to dine or grab drinks from the café and watch the show for free. The target audience, Pandy said, is anyone who enjoys creativity.

    “There are some who reserve a table every month and bring their friends,” Pandy said. “Monterey Court is an outdoor venue, so kids are welcome … [and] some people bring their dogs.”

    Periodically throughout the night, Pandy will take a brief pause from the music and ask the musicians a songwriting question. These usually encompass questions such as, “Which came first, the music or lyrics?” or, “What part of writing this song gave you a headache?” By answering these questions, the songwriters have a chance to express the meanings behind their songs and explain a bit about the journey it took to write them.

    The performers’ experience varies, with some having performed for decades and others having only just started writing. The list of musicians for this month’s event includes Kenny Williams, Denise Lane, Dal Hodges, Don Armstrong, Ron Pandy, Marilyn Ryan, Eric Hansen, Vicky Smith and special guest Beth Fitchet Wood, the winner of the Tucson Folk Festival songwriting contest in 2009 who is on tour from California. 

    Monterey Court has been open since November 2011, and the Tucson Songwriter Showcase has been going continuously for over a year now, according to Greg Haver, the owner and booking agent for Monterey Court. Over the course of the year, more than 100 different singer-songwriters have attended and been a part of the event.  

    “[Pandy] has been putting together an ever more diverse group of singer-songwriters and has increased the interest by the public many fold over the past year,” Haver said.

    The Monterey Court not only hosts the Tucson Songwriter Showcase but has also had acts including comedy troupes, classical music quartets and clowns perform on occasion. On the equinox and solstices, the venue invites Native American tribes to come sell their artisan wares at a weekend gathering at the Court.

    The next Tucson Songwriter Showcase is today at the Monterey Court from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The event is free to the general public and is open to all ages.


    Follow Chelsea Cook on Twitter.

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