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Press Telegram

Weekend Section: Keeping the talent at home

By Tim Grobaty

 The second showcase holds even further promise in terms of witnessing the art of song styling. Long Beacherian Mike Martt, who you might've seen in such swell bands as Thelonious Monster and Tex & the Horseheads, or more recently in the Brazilian version Joe Woods TSOL, to say nothing of his current band, the League of Rhythm Voters '96 fave The Low and Sweet Orchestra, has put together a monthly series of songwriter showcases at Long Beach's Blue Cafe that he's calling Song Shop.

 The third-Monday-of-the-month series kicks off Monday with a round-table affair featuring Martt with guests David Baerwald and Bill Bottrell (both collaborators with Sheryl Crow in the Tuesday Night Music Club), along with series jumper Johnny Jones

  "I played one of these round-table things with Peter Case",said Martt, "and it worked out really good, so I asked him if I could steal the idea, and he said ,"Sure I didn't think it up."

  Case's project featured songwriters showing off songs they'd written in the last two months, so Martt looked for a different hook,"I thought it'd be cool if songwriters would bring in songs that they could work on right in front of the audience. Thats why its called Song Shop. Its like working on your car. I want them to bring in songs that need tinkering and get them running.

  "Or they can just fool around with existing songs," he said. "Maybe add a verse, play it in a different key, add a new bridge, play it in a different way,whatever. I just like the idea of it, like what we do when we're sitting around in the living room, except in front of people."

  Martt, who's getting ready to go back into the studio in February for Low & Sweet's second album, hasn't firmed up any future dates yet, though they should include, among others, his ex-Thelonious Monster bandmate Bob Forrest, Peter Case and hometown buddies Dee Dee and Joe Wood.

 

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