Songwriters tell stories behind songs

In what he is hoping will become a regular bi-weekly happening, Dr. R.A. Lautenschlager is hosting a songwriting session featuring some of Metro Moncton’s brightest songwriters this Sunday at Plan B Lounge on St. George Street.

The inaugural session was held a few weeks ago at Plan B and featured writers including Alex Madsen from Moncton country honky-tonkers The Divorcees in addition to Robin Anne Ettles, a local musician and producer.

This week’s edition features a mix of veteran songwriters in addition to showcasing new talent. Sunday afternoon’s show is slated to feature Lautenschlager, Zwerg (also known as Eldon Thiele/Jason Betts), Sarah Cormier, Helene Godin, Jason ‘J-Byrd’ Nicholson and Julie Aube.

Asked what his motivation for putting these sessions together was, Lautenschlager says he felt that the region’s pool of songwriting talent merited having an outlet such as this to help support them.

“I felt it was necessary to provide some of the better known songwriters in eastern Canada and southeastern New Brunswick the opportunity to play ‘stripped down’ versions of their original material for an appreciative audience,” he begins.

Lautenschlager says that the sessions also inadvertently serve as a platform for the participating songwriters to discuss the ideas behind their songs and how the songs might have morphed or changed from the time they were first written.

Moncton synth-electro-pop artist Zwerg had the opportunity to attend the premiere songwriters session held two weeks ago and was so inspired by what he saw that he threw his name in the hat for this weekend’s gathering.

“It was really inspiring to be there,” he says. “There is such talent right here in our community that needs to be appreciated on a greater level. All too often, we only recognize talent when it gets recognized elsewhere so I say we should acknowledge the abundance of talent that exists in our midst right now.”

Asked what specifically appeals to him about contributing to these jam sessions, Zwerg says that he considers it a treat to play anywhere, but these sessions open a whole other dimension of possibilities for him.

“This session is particularly special because it is focusing on songwriting, my favourite activity in life. It’s an honour when writers let you in on their creative process and share what inspired a specific work. It ultimately fuels the creative fire within myself.”

Lautenschlager believes the sessions are incredibly informative for both the songwriters as well as the audience.

“These sessions provide songwriters an opportunity to be much more intimate with audiences than they normally can be when working with bands and provides a real opportunity for a two-way connection,” he says. “It also gives songwriters a chance to interact with their peers and hear some of the newer works by their peers and exchange ideas with one another in a club that is a big supporter of music and in a room has a real sweet sound to boot.”

Article published in February 25, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript