April Meeting Recap, Club Cafe Changes, and 2019 CD Project Launch

Hey songwriters,
Five songwriters were added to the Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle members list at the April 3 meeting, where a half dozen interesting “disaster relief” songs were showcased. Attending the meeting was member Gil Bigenho ( and new member Chuck Wiedrich (, whose band is playing a Salvation Army benefit show this summer. The assignment was linked to their search for a song about disaster relief to be played by its writer at the Salvation Army show. Gil said he’s talking with songwriters who showcased songs about disaster relief, and anyone who didn’t present a song but wants to be considered in the project should contact Gil at the address above. Jay Michaels ( played a genre-bending set a his memorable featured performance.
Sadie ( will be showcased at the group’s May 1 meeting at Club Cafe. The suggested assignment is to finally finish a song that has been languishing in you’re “uncompleted” pile. Open the website’s Monthly Assignment page for details.

Club Cafe
When Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle moved to Club Cafe, the venue’s open mic was seeing most attendees play before 9 p.m. The venue hoped our presence would create a second wave of open stage players that would keep the performances going after our meeting ended. Our 9-ish p.m. to 11-ish p.m. second wave is doing well — a total of 19 players plus the featured performer played at the April 3 open stage. Most, however, were Songwriters Circle members who came downstairs following the meeting. During a long phone call last week, manager Dave Romano said the open stage’s earlier wave has become a trickle. Many Club Cafe open stage regulars now join the group meeting upstairs. When people stop in to play before 9, they see a mostly empty room and leave without playing. When invited to join the meeting, some have told the club’s staff they find it intimidating to go upstairs and enter a room while a group they don’t know is playing songs.
The absence of an 8-9 p.m. open stage crowd has two significant drawbacks: it’s made attracting new players during that time difficult because the room is empty and the event looks dead, and the drop in attendance has made it difficult to cover the staffing expenses associated with running an open stage. That can not happen. At Dave’s direction we’re making some changes:
1) Starting May 1 the 7-9-ish p.m. Songwriters Circle meeting will be held downstairs in the showcase room. It will be a more welcoming environment that’s not closed off, upstairs. And it will show potential players who peek in between 8-9 that the event is well attended, not an empty room.
2) Calliope Songwriters Open Stage at Club Cafe will start at 9 p.m. (no longer 8 p.m.). Open stage players who don’t want to sit in with the group will wait at the bar until the meeting ends. Of course all will be invited to play an original song. The venue will alert its Facebook and mailing list subscribers that the open stage now starts at 9 p.m. and appropriate signage will explain what’s going on.
3) This part isn’t from Dave, it’s from me: If you’ve been attending the meetings and haven’t bought something at Club Cafe — at least a soda — you’re correct in feeling some responsibility for the venue’s dissatisfaction. Businesses don’t program no-cover open stages and allow groups to meet in their spaces at no charge out of a love for music. It’s a business. Show your gratitude by contributing to it.

Songwriters Circle Album Project
The deadline for submitting the $100 duping/participation fee is May 6. Send it to John Hayes, 101 Daggette Dr., Buena Vista, PA 15018. For project details please open the website’s 2019 CD Project page.

Art All Night
Circle member Brian Junker ( will once again run the Art All Night Coffeehouse Stage for singer-songwriters. Art All Night is happening April 28 at The Highline (formerly the Terminal Building) 198 South 4th Street, Pittsburgh [South Side] PA 15219. If you are interested in playing please email Brian at the address above with the subject “AAN Coffeehouse Stage” and the following information: Performer’s name or names, website address, email address, cell phone number, type of music (acoustic/singer-songwriter preferred), configuration (e.g. one player – acoustic guitar plus vocal; or two players – one with accordion, the other with penny-whistle, etc.), time range when you’d prefer to perform. Brian needs to receive your email by Fri.,  April 20 to give him time to contact you, organize stage, etc. Performers will be chosen on the basis of available slots at their preferred time, and suitability.

Pittsburgh Marathon
The Songwriters Circle members join dozens of local bands in playing at the Pittsburgh Marathon Sun., May 6. Most runners, except the inhumanly fast Kenyans, pass our corner at North Braddock Ave. and Kelly Street in South Homewood between about 9 a.m. to 1-ish p.m. Member Dennis Malley ( runs the sound, he and I show up between 5:30-6 a.m. to set up our tents and generator. We make it a breakfast picnic — bring something to share. Braddock Avenue closes at 7 a.m. for the Marathon. Use Google to approach Kelly Street from the east.
See you soon,
— John