September Meeting

Hey songwriters,
Taking a second (or third or fourth) crack at old unfinished songs resulted in some clever make-overs or refinements of still-emerging material.
With one new member in attendance at the September meeting of Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle, the group exchanged thoughts on the revisions, and about the songwriting process in general. Howard Davidson ( plugged his upcoming Bluegrass in the Park event, 7-10:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Universal Park, Crawshaw Shelter No. 3, Penn Hills. Nick Powers ( filled the featured slot with a good showcase of progressive acoustic songs.

Mark Bennett ( will be the featured performer at the 7 p.m. Oct. 1 meeting at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (4412 Liberty Ave., 412-682-8611). Theresa Schneider ( chose the optional songwriting assignment: “color.” You choose how to interpret it.

Album project
The recording portion of our ninth annual compilation CD is complete with works by 25 songwriters: Luca Zan, Richard Kobertz, John Hayes, Alex Meleshenko, Donna O, Patrick Loughlin, Frankie Lee, Peter Donovan, Bruce Hoffman, Alex Spore, Haley Rohlf, Gerard Rohlf, Greg Wojo, Susan McCluskey, Kate Snow, Marty Zundel, Chris Rohlf, Mark Bennett, Tom Beckman, Alexander Olsen, Mo Nelson, Steve Gallo, Sue Gartland, Dennis Malley and Laurie Shea.

Behind the scenes, September will be a busy month as producer Doug Wilkin ( masters, Steve Gallo ( completes graphic design and the project is proofed, packaged, shipped and uploaded for replication and printing.
See a draft of Steve’s cover design — open the attachment.

To accommodate a busy fall booking schedule at the Roots Cellar stage, our CD release event has been moved up a month from previous years. Mark your calendar and tell friends, family and fans:
Fri., Nov. 1 at the Roots Cellar at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside (6300 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232, 412-361-0873).

Doors 6 p.m., show 6:30 p.m. $7 admission (no charge for stage performers). Free parking in the PCA lots.
Whether or not you’re on the CD, your attendance will support the project and help fellow group members to celebrate a job well done.

Tenth anniversary retrospective
Next year will mark 10 years since Songwriters Circle launched its unique album series compiling the works of amateur and semi-pro songwriters from the Pittsburgh region. It’s a remarkable achievement that I believe has not been duplicated by anybody anywhere.
For a couple of months I’ve been talking with several project veterans, Doug Wilkin and Tricia Tanner, executive director of Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society, about how to celebrate the project’s tenth anniversary. Here’s what we came up with:

In 2014, in addition to creating our annual album, Songwriters Circle will also release a retrospective disc including one song from each of the series’ 10 years. A work group from Calliope will pick the songs. With the writers’ permission, songs will be included on a work-for-hire basis (like our regular albums, no percentages owed or paid). Copies of the CD will be presented to the artists included, offered as premiums to Calliope members, sold to benefit the group at the release event and on, and distributed to the media.
To finance the project, for the first time Songwriters Circle will seek a grant — Calliope has contacted an arts foundation requesting an invitation to apply for a matching grant. We’ll raise the other half — about $600 — ourselves.

I’ll solicit sponsors and in-kind donations. Do you know anything about Kickstarter or other fund-raising websites, or would you like to learn? The group needs volunteers to run that part of this unique and exciting project. Your donation to the fund-raising campaign, and distribution of the promotion through your mailing list, will be appreciated.
The retrospective’s fall 2014 co-release with our annual compilation album is still a long way off, but we have to start organizing now. Gimme a call.
— John