Podunk Nowhere duo Heather and Johnny Janiga found out about Songwriters Acoustic Nights at a Gregory Page show. The Janigas were promptly invited to take seats at the monthly musicians’ gathering, which features the “Writers Round” format at Swedenborg Hall in University Heights.
Along with location, the link between those events is Mitch Feingold, who also hosts and participates in “Improv sketch comedy shows” at Libertalia in Hillcrest. The entertainment producer regales performers with “preshow patter” in the green room at the Swedenborgian Church, which is “dedicated to supporting spiritual growth through the arts, education, fellowship and service.”
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Feingold says he discovered the “round” format in Nashville and cites organization of “14 hours of music for the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival in 2009 and 2010.”
When did you start Songwriters Acoustic Nights?
“November of 2008. I’ve produced 40 of these showcases, along with 12 Saturday concerts.”
How did you choose performers for the first few Songwriters Acoustic Nights?
“I literally started by ‘auditioning’ performers on MySpace and then contacting the ones that I was interested in showcasing. Once I got it going, I added performers based on referrals from others that I thought were talented. They would send a link and I would audition them online. At this point, I have people handing me their CDs at events. I always listen to their music before I make a decision as to whether or not I book them.”
You use themes for some shows. What are some of them?
“Generations, Women of Song, and Christmas — being Jewish, it was a natural for me.”
How does the writers’ round structure work?
“There are three performers onstage. Each does one song per round. Other performers may harmonize or back up the one whose turn it is. We do four rounds per set and two sets per show. Typically it ends up being six performers doing a total of 24 songs.”
March 20, Songwriters Acoustic Nights at Swedenborg Hall — the Duet Show — will feature Amber Tope with Brad Carter, Rusty Jones with Tori Janaya, Sven-Erik Seaholm with Brooke MacKintosh, and Podunk Nowhere.