Katrina’s $1,000 Singer-Songwriter Challenge – Week 1

Katrina’s Bar & Grill presented Cape Ann’s first $1,000 Singer-Songwriter Challenge.  This challenge is an 8-week, performance event open to all musicians. Starting on Tuesday, November 1st, this weekly event will select a finalist at the end of each night for 7 weeks. On the 8th week, all of the weekly finalists come together and perform for a piece of the $1,000 cash prize.

This weekly event, hosted by Chris Langathianos, will showcase musicians – solo performers, duos, trios & bands.

Tonight’s showcase of performers included solo and duet acts from all over New England.  These artists included:

These performers played before a panel of judges.  After each performance the, judges provided feedback to the performer with praise and suggestions for improvement.. This week’s judges were singer-songwriters: Chelsea Berry and Brian Alex and Aurelia Nelson from North Shore 104.9.   

Artists were judged in the following categories with a maximum score of 45 points from each judge.  

  • Instrument Performance (up to 10 points),
  • Vocal Performance (up to 10 points),
  • Song Selections (up to 5 points),
  • Audience Engagement or Story-Telling (up to 5 points)
  • Original song bonus ( 5 points)
  • Original Song Lyrics (up to 5 points)
  • Original Song Arrangement (up to 5 points)

The combined judge’s scores would give a maximum overall score of 135 points for a “perfect” performance of amazing original music.  All of the artists performed well and this was evident by the final scores.

With an overall score of 122 points Charlie Russell placed third.  Charlie Russell performed three original songs “I Pretty Pretty Will” and Irish folk song; “Santa Let Me Drive the Sleigh”; and “Shook a My.”  Each of these songs reflected Charlie’s sense of humor and had a crowd pleasing upbeat tempo.  I must say that Charlie won me over singing a Christmas song since this kind of music has a special place in my heart.

Captain Paul “Sasquatch” Cohan scored 125 points to secure second place in the judge’s rankings.  Sasquatch came to the stage saying “If I was in it for the money would be rich.  I am just in it for the music.”  With is deep rich voice and command of his guitar and the haunting lyrics of his first two songs he showed us that he was definitely in it for the music.  His first two songs were about broken hearts and love lost but he ended his set with a crowd pleasing song that was an ode to the Gloucester fishing and sailing community.  I learned that much like the Irish are known for their drinking songs Gloucester has a rich tradition of songs about the sea and those that make a living on the waves.

With a total score of 126 points Renee & Joe won the first week of Katrina’s $1,000 Singer-Songwriter Challenge.  Renee & Joe featured strong vocals, lush harmonies, and arrangements.  There music was a mix of sad folk  and blues tunes all in D minor..  It was obvious that this duet spends many hours working together to perfect the blending of the voices and music.  Take a listen to either of their full length releases, Red Bird or Dreamsteering, and see Gwendolyn’s review of Red Bird here at Libro Musica.

At the end of the night we got to hear two of the judges, Chelsea Berry and Brian Alex, practiced what they were preaching with as they blessed the crowd with a couple of original songs.  I was impressed with each of their performances as they borrowed a guitar from a fellow artist and showed us all why they were worthy of giving advice.  Their vocals, cords, lyrics and audience engagement were phenomenal.  These performances were a perfect way to wrap up the night of music.

Stop by Katrina’s every Tuesday night between now and December 20th to hear more great artists in the $1,000 Singer-Songwriter Challenge.  If the caliber of music from tonight is any indication you will thank yourself for taking time to stop by.