March Meeting Recap and 2019 CD Project Launch

Hey songwriters
A full-house including several new members showed up for the March meeting of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle. In addition to songs written for, or in the style of, Fred Rogers, the group discussed and critiqued a wide range of songs, and talked about a bunch of new performance opportunities, listed below.
Jeffrey Frielander ( picked through a great featured performance, and helped to manage the open stage in a new setup that makes the featured set a paid gig.
Newish member Jay Michaels (Javon Thorpe, will play the featured set at the next meeting 7 p.m. April 3 at Club Cafe.
The songwriting assignment is linked to an unusual performance opportunity. Write a song about “disaster relief,” as you interpret the phrase, and bring 30 copies of a lyric/chord sheet to the April meeting. The writer of one of the songs will be invited to perform it at a benefit concert for the Salvation Army held at a South Hills church venue in August. Read more about the assignment and performance opportunity on the Monthly Assignments  page on this website.
Songwriters Circle album project
Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle launched its 14th compilation CD project at the group’s March 6 meeting. Read all the details at the 2019 CD Project page. In short, the songwriter retains all rights to the song. Each participant pays a $100 duping-participation fee, due May 4. The recording fee is $30 for each of the first three hours, $40 for additional time at Electric Eye Recorders on Polish Hill, due at time of recording. A series of deadlines moves the project along through the final recording deadline Aug. 31. If you’ve attended a Songwriters Circle meeting, you’re eligible. To talk about putting one of your songs on the CD, contact John (, 412-335-1446) or producer Mike Hickman (, 512-785-2132).

The Acoustic Guitar Project
The Songwriters Circle has been invited to participate in a novel songwriting project that is underway in 50 cities worldwide. Five invited participants will each write a song in one week using the same acoustic guitar. They’ll record a rough video demo of the song and perform it at a Club Cafe show.
Here’s how it works: Interested Songwriters Circle members should email one song via .mp3 or a YouTube video link to John ( They will be forwarded to the New York and Colorado organizers of The Acoustic Guitar Project, who will pick five Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle members to participate in the project. An acoustic guitar and video recorder will be on loan to each participant for one week when they’ll write and record a new song. At the end of the week the guitar and recorder will be passed to the next participant. When the last of the five participants has finished, the guitar and video recorder will be returned to the Project, recordings of participants talking about and playing their songs will be posted at The Acoustic Guitar Project website, and participants will play short sets including their Project songs at a show at Club Cafe.
Participants retain all rights to their songs; organizers may use parts of the songs and videos to promote the project. At the show, Club Cafe will be paid for use of the stage through admission fees. The Acoustic Guitar Project gets the next 20 percent to support the ongoing project, and the five project participants will split what’s left from the door.
The timetable is kind of loose, for now, but it is expected The Acoustic Guitar Project show will be held in November. Learn more about The Acoustic Guitar Project at

The Barn, May 4
Songwriters Circle member Howard Davidson ( books a great listening room called the Penn Hebron Garden Club, or The Barn, in Penn Hills. He has scheduled a Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle night on May 4. Howard picks 10 Circle members to perform. Each pays $20 for four tickets at $5 each, which are expected to be sold to friends, family, fans, etc. Sell more than four tickets and keep the profit. Each player performs three songs.
The Circle pays $200 to the Garden Club for use of the room, and the house gets proceeds from the sale of snacks and half of the tip basket. Performers split what’s left. If you’re interested in being considered for this gig, tell John in an email message sent to

Pittsburgh Marathon, May 6
Songwriters Circle members will again perform as some 18,000 runners pass our corner in Point Breeze/Homewood. We play round-robin style from about 9 a.m. when runners start passing our spot until about 1 p.m. when the bus picking up stragglers passes. Bring kids, family members, friends and noisemakers to help cheer on the passing runners. Bring donuts, bagels, fruit, juice, etc. (John will bring coffee) to make it a fun breakfast picnic. Dennis Malley ( will provide sound. He and John arrive early to set up sound, generator, canopies, etc. Our spot is at North Braddock Ave. and Kelly Street. North Braddock closes at 7 a.m. to accommodate the race — approach Kelly Street from the east. If you’re interested in performing at the no-pay gig state your intention in an email message to John (

Other gigs
Club Cafe and Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society have agreed to include some Songwriters Circle members as opening acts. Details including the amount of advance notice and pay, if any, are still being worked out. But if you’d like to be considered for opening a show at Club Cafe, and/or performing for the incoming audience at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Shadyside, include your name, email and phone number in an email message to John (
See you soon
– John