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 Debut Performances reviews (July& August 2000)

Clay Jackson - August 18, Jason & Paul’s Coffee Shop

Clay opened his set with some good guitar/vocal pieces which were played and sung in a soft, straightforward manner. He then showed his muscle as he switched over to piano. These piano pieces really captured Clay’s talents as he performed them effortlessly. Also, he showed where his influences come from by playing Simon & Garfunkel’s “For Emily.” Overall, Clay demonstrated his songwriting and musicianship superbly.

Shawn Morse - August 12, Ormond Central Perk

Shawn has a great personality on stage as he doesn't shy away from his eccentric side. This lack of concern of how he is perceived makes for a very enjoyable and straightforward intimate performance. His song contents included a recollection of lost love in “One to Amanda,” and comical references about Mormons in “Utah Kind of Love.” If you missed his debut performance you probably won't get another chance until he returns from Chicago where he attends college.

Crickette Stevens - July 21, Jason & Paul's; August 12, Ormond Central Perk

Sometimes a debut performance does not do justice to an entertainer's talents as was the case with this act. Along with power guitarist Rodney Dorrough and power bassist Jim Faulk, they proved they needed the open air to breathe to fully showcase their wide range of styles of ballads, contemporary rock and heavy blues/rock. The setting of their second performance where they all shined under the moon and stars filled the air with Crickette’s powerfully rich and melodic vocals, Rodney’s extraordinary leads and rhythms and Jim’s tasteful slam in bass. They sure put the decimal meter to the limit on some of their final pieces, which was the loudest to date for an SSA show. 

Mark Hodgson - July 21, Jason & Paul’s

No one has paid their dues as a performing artist in the Daytona Beach area during the last 20 years more than Mark Hodgson, and it sure showed in his performance. He showed the audience how a true professional/veteran entertains. As he took us back on a journey of his life he made sure he let us know that his roots have been derived from the blues. This was evidenced by songs such as “Growing Up Lucky,” and an unannounced titled a capella and harmonica piece about his Howling Wolf revelation where he implemented and narrated the sounds of trains, frogs, and thunder and whatever else your imagination would allow. He ended his set with “Romeo’s Bleeding,” a beatnik jazz number which showed Mark's well-rounded strengths, and which received a thundering round of applause and cheers.


 David Sanni - July 1, Ormond Central Perk

Although he may not have been a crowd pleaser, I thought David’s overall style showed similar roots to Bob Dylan, James Taylor and/or Willie Nelson. All his songs did carry the same country/folk progression. If you are not a fan of this sound, you probably would not have liked David's performance. Sometimes you have to have empathy for an artist to really appreciate them for what they are trying to convey. PW 

  Repeat Performance Reviews
July-August 2000

Tracey Piergross - July 1, Ormond Central Perk; July 7, Jason & Paul's

Tracey spread her wings as she brought some newer songs to these two shows including “Mr. Bird,” a beautiful rendition of smooth poetic lyrics. Guitar wizardry was provided by Paul Santa Maria.

Tim Frye - August 5, Jason & Paul's 

Tim performed a very short set. However, the songs he did sing were outstanding, especially “My Gold Ring.” Tim definitely sings from the heart and knows how to craft a well thought-out song. 

Sam Pacetti - July 12, Rockefeller Gardens

Sam continued to prove that he is one of the finest finger-style guitarists to come this way. He truly mesmerized the audience of 300 or so while he played his guitar and sang with sure grace. He amazingly combines his original and standard tunes in his set reflecting that he stays true to his mentors i.e. Gamble Rogers and Mr. Martin Simpson.

Joe McCarthy - July 28, Jason & Paul's 

Well, Joe said he was tired of singing his most popular 'hits' so he did his "B" side songs. If Joe ever writes a bad song I'll probably enjoy that one too, believing he is putting us on. (By the way, he hasn't.) "Let's Go Smoke," "Your Mamma Was a Beauty," and "I Lost the World" rank right up on top with his "A" side songs.

Philip Weidner - July 28, Jason & Paul's; August 19, Ormond Central Perk

Some of Phil's less often performed songs were greatly appreciated by this reviewer. "Whittler," "Deciduous Trees," and "King of My Domain" demonstrate how deep Phil's well of talent really must be.

Jeremy Mix - July 28, Jason & Paul's; August 19, Ormond Central Perk

Jeremy’s songs are starting to sink in above his already excellent stage persona. With songs such as “Jail For Sale” and “Wooden Clothes,” he has a natural ability to play a flawless set comprised of rich vocals and tasteful vibrant acoustic guitar. Jeremy will be releasing his next anticipated CD on September 8 at Jason & Paul's. 

Little Johnny and the Tone Dogs - August 4, Jason & Paul's 

This is John Jennings's big blues band which opened J&P’s Customer Appreciation Night. You couldn’t ask for a much better way to do this than by having John and the gang play their full sound to a packed house. The band is comprised of piano, bass, drums, lead and rhythm guitar and, of course, John's wailing harmonica. For a blues-filled evening you won’t want to miss their next performance at J&P’s on September 22.

Jay Taylor - August 5, Ormond Central Perk

Jay stuck to his heartland sound along with vocalist Joy. Together they brought to the stage up-tempo acoustic sounds filled with great enthusiasm and flair. Jay’s songs are written from the traditional standpoint of that pure '70s sound. They also threw in some crowd-pleasing cover songs to make for an overall strong performance.

CharLee & Louie - September 1, Jason & Paul's

It is always pleasing to hear CharLee’s rich powerful vocals over Louie's swift guitar accompaniment. Even though they have performed many of the same songs they have done in past performances, it always is entertaining to watch and listen to their well-structured songs. Their songs very seldom follow the conventional verse/chorus format which gives them the flexibility of transcending melodies and guitar solos.

Jeff Merrill - August 18, Jason & Paul's

Each time I hear Jeff's songs, I enjoy them more. This last performance, I didn't watch, I only listened. After the set, I had to ask if all the songs were original, since they have become so comfortably familiar. His lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking, his melodies are soothing, and his singing and guitar playing are in perfect balance. Please make a CD, Jeff -- soon -- I'll listen until I wear it out. 

Josh Sherman -  August 19, Ormond Central Perk

Josh performed his best show to date at the OCP. His vocals were smoother and his guitar playing blended well with his pre-recorded drum tracks. Josh has an excellent sense for distinctive melodies for ballads and up-tempo songs which is one of his greatest strengths. 

Monica Rabino - August 12, Ormond Central Perk

Monica performed another all-out performance filled with spunk that showcased power-driven acoustic guitar strumming and picking, and emotional vocals. In past performances she has always closed her set with her rockin' funky song “Frustrated,” but this time she opened with it which was equally as effective and immediately showed off her vibrant personality. She also threw in a couple of new songs which were more on the ballad side that showed her more sensitive/compassionate side. 

Mark Chiriboga - August 18, Jason and Paul’s 

Mark continues to show his versatility as he dazzled the listener with many different sounds. He accomplishes this mainly with his guitar synthesizer that allows him to loop over tracks while he sings, plays guitar and flute (seen in photo). His World Music style is impressive and seems to be a excellent direction for him. 

Debut Performances
June-July 2000

Mike LaSage and Butch Calkins (of Beautiful Mess)
6/9 Jason and Paul’s Coffee Shop

This band, minus the drummer, really performs 100 percent pure energy and fun. Their sound could be compared to Bare Naked Ladies with a southern flare. On there song “Beer Goggles” you really can hear this influence. Mike is the songwriter and rhythm guitar player for this group who adds his witty lyrics and swift guitar strumming, while Butch’s bass playing and harmonies are tastefully upbeat that blend nicely. Together they really show you what it’s like to have a good time playing music. -PW


Mark Chiriboga 6/10 Ormond Central Perk

Wow! Mark made his presence known with sure power at his debut. The versatility of this writer/performer has gone where no other SSA performer has gone thus far. He accomplishes this mainly with his guitar synth by blending many different sounds by visually painting a masterpiece on stage. Mark also ads depth to his versatility with beautiful flute solo’s that are played over looping guitar effects. Mark also is a fine lyricist which touched many different subjects. His encore appearance at J&P’s was just as powerful, a sure delight to see. –PW


6/2 Jason & Paul’s Coffee Shop

Josh performs his songs with a great gusto with his aggressive guitar playing style and his belting vocals which cut right to the matter at hand. “Happy Song” was one of his best songs which left me singing it for days. Josh then performed the following night at the Perk which he performed with even more gusto. –PW

Eric Groves 5/13 Ormond Central Perk

Eric gave an outstanding debut performance that was very easy to listen to. Blues, jazz, ballads, he shows us a great variety. This reviewer especially enjoyed his “Song for Jennifer” and “Trying to Hold On’. His lyrics are guaranteed to take the listener to unexpected places. Guitar pickers will especially appreciate his skill with the six string as he plays his smooth jazz progressions. On 6/16 at his encore performance at J&P’s he continued to be consistent with his skill as a writer and musician with his set becoming more refined.-RLO


Tim Frye 5/5 Jason & Paul’s Coffee Shop

Tim showed the audience that he is a true veteran as a performing songwriter. His feel good songs are filled with rich acoustic guitar playing and positive lyrics. He touches on many different subjects that reflect his personal experiences. Tim puts his heart in every song he performs. He followed his debut performance with an encore appearance at the Perk (seen in photo) on June 3rd that surely showed his remarkable passion to his music.-PW


Jay Taylor 4/29 Ormond Central Perk

Jay’s straight forward approach made for a good introduction for his debut performance. His style can be compared to the heartland writing styles of Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. Jay added back-up singer Joy at his encore appearances on 6/10 (seen in photo.) This addition has given him quality to his performances.-PW


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Songwriters Showcases of America