By Heather Meyer
Special to The PREVIEW
The South Fork Music Association has announced the eight singer/songwriter acts chosen to compete in a singer/songwriter competition being held on Saturday, June 15, at the Rio Grande Club in South Fork at 7 p.m.
Three of the acts are from Pagosa springs.
Jason & Denise, consisting of Jason Rose and Denise Chaney, have been performing and writing folk, blues and Christian music together for two years. Jason & Denise started singing together after a friend asked them to do a duet he’d heard, “Barton Hollow,” by The Civil Wars. The idea sparked the duo they are today. Their style is an acoustic blend of folk, blues and rock. They love to write, arrange, record and perform their original songs. Their writing comes from their own personal, honest, reflections on life, faith and the ups and downs they face each day. Their first EP, “Song of Hope,” was released in July 2012 and they have been working hard on their first full-length album to be released later this year.
Jacques Grant describes his musical style as “Christian Blues.” Jacques played for 30 years in Austin and has played venues with some of the best players around that area since the late ’70s. He moved to Pagosa Springs a year ago with his family.
G. Michael Roth has been writing and singing folk, light rock, blues, gospel and sad loves songs for over 20 years and has been performing with some San Luis Valley favorites for 12 years. Gary started playing in a little garage band back in high school called the Pushers. Since that garage band, Gary his own style of songwriting, singing and playing the guitar and ukulele.
Steve Baxter and John Goss, of Creede, have been performing together for five years and Steve has been writing his own music for the past 35 years. Steve grew up just outside of Nashville, where music is a way of life. His mom was a big band singer in the ’60s and he still has cousin’s performing professionally. Steve has always played music for self-gratification and has had a few songs considered for publication, as well as one song that is currently being considered for recording by a major recording artist.
Eric Shiveley, of Alamosa, has been performing his haunted western pop music for six years. Raised in Nashville, Erick played in high school bands with drummer Brad Pemberton (Ryan Adams), guitarist Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin), guitarist Jeff Cease of The Black Crows and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Nguyen of Bonepony; however, he didn’t start writing and recording his own music until well after college. As a solo artist, Eric has opened for DeVotchKa, Mason Jennings, Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson, Brenden Benson and other national acts. He runs a home recording studio and was recently featured on NPR’s Talk at Ten, which called him, “a great, great songwriter, producer and filmmaker.”
Bittersweet Highway, featuring Wayne McKinzie and Rene Janiece of Jaroso, Colo., have been performing progressive folk music together for a year and a half. Bittersweet Highway is a singer-songwriter duo from “the borderlands” between northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. They are quickly becoming known for a style they call “progressive folk.” Blending elements of jazz, blues and folk music, their writing is fresh and hard to categorize — meaning they have a truly original sound. Evocative story-telling and captivating musical phrasing are trademarks of their songs. Compelling harmonies combine with dynamic acoustic guitar to create tunes that echo long past the first listen.
Maya Muse, of South Fork, has been performing a cappella for over 40 years. Maya was born into a musical family and began singing melodies before she could speak words. Starting with a radio show at the age of 4, she performed solos throughout her childhood. While she says she has been called to other creative endeavors through her adult life, she has continued to sing for varied venues. Songwriting has been a natural extension of her creative flow.
Sweet Radish, consisting of Abe Rosenberg, Morgan Velasquez and Marcus Newell, of Alamosa, have been performing folk and Americana music together for two years. Sweet Radish was formed in 2010 and has been playing in Colorado and surrounding areas with a passion. With influences from all around and genre-merging styles, this acoustic band creates a unique variety of sound. With deep roots in agriculture, Sweet Radish sings from the soil and the hearts of their strings.
The singer/songwriter competition is free for the public to attend. The winner of the competition will be chosen by the public in attendance. The public is asked to make donations to the SFMA by placing money in the jars/buckets of their favorite performer(s). The performer(s) raising the most money for the SFMA will be named the winner and will be opening the eighth annual Rhythms on the Rio Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 10.
For more information, visit www.southforkmusic.org or call SFMA board member Heather Meyer at (719) 480-1525.