The new year has arrived. I hope one of your resolutions for 2007 is to experience more live music. And there is no shortage of great choices in the area for this weekend, so enjoy!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5: Downright jazz trio with Gillian Grassie at Steel City Coffee House. 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville. 8:30 p.m. $10 advance, $12 day of show. For more information: 610-933-4043; steelcitycoffeehouse.com. An interesting pairing of young performers at the top of their game.
Downright (downrightjazz.com), led by twin brothers Jon and Chris Coyle and Marc Dryburgh, have performed at Steel City since their mid-teens. They started out playing primarily traditional jazz standards and have since added originals and more eclectic selections to their repertoire. Their last few shows at Steel City have been sell-outs, so get your tickets in advance.
Gillian Grassie (gilliangrassie.com) takes her instrument of choice, Celtic harp, to a new level. Her debut recording, To An Unwitting Muse, an EP, was released in 2005. Her goal with the recording was to "break... stereotypes of what harp music should sound like." Her interesting and often humorous songwriting is punctuated by her sweet soprano voice and shows influences of many genres including folk, pop, rock and jazz.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5: Prima Donna, Dan Fisher and Katherine Mundy at Chaplin's: The Music Cafe. 66 North Main Street, Spring City. 8:00 PM. $10 advance, $12 day of show. For more information: 610-792-4110; chaplinsthemusiccafe.com.
Prima Donna (primadonnamusic.com) is a rock band that believes that the most important thing in music is the song. Their music is described as "a modern edgy rock sound with hook-oriented pop." Dan Fisher (myspace.com/danfishermusic) and Katherine Mundy (myspace.com/katherinemundy) are also on the bill.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6: Freedy Johnston and Nik Everett at Steel City Coffee House. 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville. 8:00 p.m. $16 advance, $18 day of show. For more information: 610-933-4043; steelcitycoffeehouse.com.
Singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston (freedyjohnston.com) released "The Trouble Tree" in 1992, for which he received widespread critical acclaim. But it wasn't until two years later with the release of "This Perfect World" on Elektra Records that he truly took control of the critics and the airwaves. In a short time he established himself as one of the premier contemporary songwriters. Rolling Stone named him songwriter of the year for 1994, writing, "Freedy has joined the elite cadre of songwriters Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Elvis Costello, whose brilliant pop compositions turn magical with the addition of a defiantly idiosyncratic singing voice." Quite the praise for someone who had only three albums to his credit at that point. Though Freedy has released several albums since then none received the attention that was bestowed upon This Perfect World. His long-awaited release Rain on the City will come out this year, and he will preview some of its songs at this show.
Nik Everett (nikeverett.com) first appeared on the music scene in the late '80s. His album, "Surrender Tonight," was voted Best Indie Release by the Philadelphia Music Foundation, and he has continued to receive critical acclaim for his brand of pop-rock with occasional country and folk overtones. He is currently composing the score for the documentary "Greetings From Asbury Park," and he plans to release a new album of original music this year.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6: John Eddie at Chaplin's: the Music Cafe. 66 North Main Street, Spring City. 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. $20 advance, $22 day of show. For more information: 610-792-4110; chaplinsthemusiccafe.com. Rocker John Eddie (johneddie.com) had a hit in the '80s with "Pretty Little Rebel" and he's still going strong. Steph Hayes (goodproblems.com) of The Good Problems, Slo-Mo and formerly of Stargazer Lily, opens the 10:00 p.m. show.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 7: First Sunday Concert Series at Steel City Coffee House. 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville. 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. FREE! For more information: 610-933-4043; steelcitycoffeehouse.com. Featuring David Kleiner (davidkleiner.com), The Rivers and Drew Calvin. Hosted by Eileen Tipping.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10: Steel City Sessions at Steel City Coffee House. 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville. 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. FREE! For more information: 610-933-4043; steelcitycoffeehouse.com. This week: David Janes (myspace.com/daveyjanes) and David V. Dougherty (myspace.com/thedvd).
Be sure to check back next week for previews of more great shows, including Downingtown's young talents Liz Longley and Sarah Zimmermann as they descend upon Chaplin's.