Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Couch by Couchwest 2014

You've probably heard of South by Southwest, a music and film festival based out of Austin, Texas. Thanks to our local music duo Still Married, I learned that there is an online alternative to South by Southwest called Couch by Couchwest. As the folks running CXCW explained on their website, "Let’s face it, we’re all too broke to go to Austin, and even if we had the money, we couldn’t get out of work anyway. There’s this pesky thing called “life” that keeps getting in the way. Allow us to introduce you to Couch by Couchwest.CXCW is an annual online music festival that is for everyone. No badges, lanyards, bracelets, parking fees, ticket lines, exclusive parties, VIP tents, porta-potties, babysitters, dogsitters, expensive beer prices, or crappy hotel rooms…just the sweet comfort of your own couch. Here’s how it works, artists and bands from all over the globe record a video performance for us from their living rooms, kitchens, porches, bathrooms, you name it…pretty much anywhere but a stage…and we post them during the week of the festival (March 9 – 15, 2014)."

I've lived in Shasta County for twenty years, but as much as I love live music, I've hardly explored the local music scene until recently. But, after seldom playing the guitar for thirty years, last year I picked it up again, prompted by my son Dylan's interest in branching out from classical music on his upright bass. I started singing some folk and alt-country songs while strumming the guitar and singing, accompanied by Dylan on the bass. We had loads of fun. One thing led to another, and with the encouragement of Rhonda and Dylan, I sang a few songs at an open mic in town. Nobody booed or threw anything at me, so a did it a few more times.

And then I read Erin's post about Couch by Couchwest. I thought about videoing myself singing a song to submit, but I was kind of chicken. Then my new friend Jonathan Foster, a singer-songwriter I met as a result of sticking my toes in the local music scene, mentioned that the deadline for submissions loomed.

So, I drove out to the "monolith" here in Redding, equipped with my guitar and an iPad, and I did it, covering "Too Late" by Andrew Duhon, a singer-songwriter out of Metairie, Louisiana.

Erin Friedman and her husband Craig also submitted a song to CXCW, "The Best Damn Man." Erin wrote the song - she's been writing songs since in her teens - and Craig sings it.

My new friend, casual mentor, and fellow singing sasquatch Jonathan Foster submitted one of his own creations, "Two Wheels."

As much as I love covering songs by songwriters who deserve more notice - such as Erin and Jonathan - come next year I'd like to submit one of my own songs.

I'd better get started.

Hal Johnson – Too Late (Andrew Duhon)


Erin said...

It's only March 18th, and now you've already got me looking forward to CXCW2015. Congratulations, Hal, on taking a leap of faith.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing all this with us. I've passed along the info on CXCW to someone I think might be interested in participating next year.

You're a man of many talents.

quid said...

More! More!

Love the Couch by Couchwest premise. So much music comes to this part of Florida from Jan-Apr, I'm embarrassed to admit I can't squeeze out enough entertainment $$ to see the folks I like.

I have always known about your penchant for music with meaningful lyrics...didn't know you could perform! I admire the fact that you haven't lost your voice. I had a band in the 70's but I'm afraid I have very little voice left. Saw the Eagles in November and observed the same thing about Glenn Frey. (Although Don Henley hasn't lost a beat.

Anyway... more! Open mic videos, please.

Bob said...

This is great Hal and it is so good to hear from you! A man of many talents indeed!