WRITER'S NIGHT DEBUTS AT BUTCHERTOWN PUB

By Jean Metcalfe


Layton Howerton was a very gracious host as he debuted Writer's Night at the Butchertown Pub. And he had done his homework, too, for the event which he calls "SongMarket." Not wanting to leave it to chance, he had lined up a number of performers ahead of time.

With the 15-minute slots pretty nearly filled up, Howerton brought on the duo of Barbara Ann and Vince Emmett (half of the Shaking Family) for an enthusiastic and entertaining 30-minute set. (Two writers times 15 minutes equals 30 minutes, but no bands with four or five writers, please.)

Paul Travelstead, accompanying himself on guitar, sang several nice originals, including "Don't Stop Believing In Love," "Millionaire Blues," and a touching Christmas song.

Host Howerton filled the third slot. He played guitar and sang an entertaining set that included a fine tune called "That Wreck Is Me." He handled well the sound problems that occurred during his set by suggesting that since he was the host it was only fitting that the sound problems happen to him. (Could the presence of the Northern Lights over Louisville have been the culprit?)

Phil Turner, a fine guitar player, performed several enjoyable instrumental numbers. Don't know how many of them were originals -- I did recognize one as a well-known television show theme song.

Louisville Area Songwriters' Cooperative President Paul Moffett, himself an open stage host (Monday nights at The Rudyard Kipling), offered up a nice assortment of originals. Saying "It's more fun to do this when you don't have to work," Moffett opened with the pretty ballad "Once-In-A-While Love." Accompanying himself on guitar, he also sang "I've Got My Doubts About You Boy," a cut on L.A.S.C.'s first album First Time Out. He closed on a high note with "Cottonmouth" (co-written with David Evans), calling on Marie Augustine and Becky & Kelly to provide harmony vocals.

Marie Augustine presented a string of her originals, one of which -- "Goodtime Gambler" -- is also a cut on First Time Out. Marie likes to write songs that make her feel good. Two examples are "Till You" and "Satisfied Me, I'm Free," which she included in her set. Marie has a lovely voice and plays proficient guitar.

Pure country was the tone of Hugh Hill's offerings. Besides "I Just Can't Make It With You Gone" and "Cold December Arms," he also performed his new gospel number, "I'm On My Way Home." He finished with "I'll Keep Drinkin'," a song that he said was prompted by "what I used to do a lot of."

The duo of Becky Bennett and Kelly Wilkinson (aka Becky & Kelly) was joined by David Evans on guitar and harmonica for several rousing cover tunes such as "That's All Right Mama" and "Train Wreck Of Emotion." The latter song, written by Louisville native Alan Rhody and recorded by Grand Ole Opry member Lorrie Morgan, recently peaked at No. 20 on the country charts.

David Evans, singer, guitarist and harmonic player, ably performed several of his originals, among them the uplifting "Fishin' Hole" and the sensual "On the Telephone." Both numbers are cuts on the recently-released Grammer Evans album Pseudolive. Nice set.

The evening ran a little behind schedule, and Howerton apologized, explaining that he'd have to remember to factor in a little transition time between performers in the future.

Except for his disregard for acceptable stage behavior, I enjoyed Willie James' performance a lot. He sang from his heart and bared his soul. I especially enjoyed the song "Tiny Photograph" that contained the line, "All I got left is a tiny photograph of a little girl daddy left behind." James' voice is somewhat evocative of Willie Nelson and I hope to hear it again sometime. His final number, "Dear Lord I'm Drinking Again" was, unfortunately, an understatement.

Those few of us remaining until the end were thanked personally by host Howerton. We echoed his thank you's and said we planned to come back again. We meant it.