When Noah Cope and Alex Poteet performed at Montage Cafe on April 21, they closed out Darke County Center for the Arts’ Coffeehouse Series season with the perfect mix of skilled musicianship and congenial interaction with their audience that makes these shows so appealing.
Their wide-ranging song selections crossed genres and eras with something to please everyone, while their amazing instrumental dexterity and intuitive vocals captured and kept the attention of all in attendance at this uptown event with a down-home feel.
Generally speaking, Coffeehouse shows provide performances that people living in big cities can access almost any night of the week, but that are rare in smaller communities; highly talented artists are presented at an affordable cost in an inviting comfortable setting where food and drink are also available. A Coffeehouse show is an incredibly pleasant experience that leaves you feeling good, feeling happy, feeling content; and that’s just what DCCA officials had in mind when they introduced the series ten years ago; mission accomplished!
The 2015-16 Coffeehouse Series began on Sept. 17, with a memorable performance at the charming Arts Depot in Union City by Great Lakes troubadour Lee Murdock. In addition to performing a vast reservoir of authentic sailing songs from past eras, Lee combines historical research with contemporary insights and a poet’s way with words to create his own original songs about the people who live and work along the freshwater highways of North America. Lee’s songs speaking of hard work, hard living, ships that go down and ships that come in created a sense of timelessness spanning centuries as well as generations and celebrated people who have shaped our heritage.
Sisters Adelee and Gentry Grant brought their sunny personalities and sparkling talents to The Bistro Off Broadway on Oct. 29, lighting up the bustling venue with their rootsy folk/pop songs. Their voices complementing each other as only siblings’ voices can, these West Alexandria natives aptly demonstrated the impressive musical mastery and the amazing songwriting chops that caused Billboard magazine to designate the duo “artists to watch” as they gain notice around Nashville and throughout the nation. The excitement of watching rising stars up-close combined with the comfortable surroundings left a distinctively positive impression on Coffeehouse patrons.
Soulful vocalist Kristine Jackson captivated the audience gathered at The Bistro Off Broadway on Feb. 25 with her natural ability to express herself through song. Whether performing an old blues song, channeling rock icon Janis Joplin, or singing one of her own compositions, the feisty performer maintained an intense connection to each listener directly communicating diverse emotions and leaving an impression that lingers long after the show has ended.
The powerful, richly beautiful voice of folksinger Sarah Goslee Reed gloriously filled the room at Arcanum Historical Society’s Wayne Trail House on March 31. In this inviting cozy space that feels like your grandma’s parlor, Sarah and her cohort, masterful instrumentalist and singer Kerry Kean, sang of the natural world, the passing of time, love and loss, and more, warming hearts and evoking wonder. Sarah’s music is down-to-earth, while at the same time uplifting, achieving the perfect balance of colors and moods to kindle joy and soothe spirits.
DCCA’s entire season was focused around the theme “Voices;” the Coffeehouse Series provided a stunning array of distinctive voices offering delightful experiences fulfilling the hopes and desires of numerous audience members. When one leaves a Coffeehouse show, one instinctively understands that this is the way life should be lived, and appreciates the opportunity to partake of the remarkably enriching moments experienced at these low-key but indelibly momentous events.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.