Fog City Songwriters

All around the country, in places like Nashville and Austin, open events known as “guitar pulls,” where people share songs and pass their guitar around, occur on porches, in spontaneous circles and even in venues. A communal, DIY-esque song circle where each player becomes an audience member and stories are shared around in an open, uninterrupted atmosphere. It’s sometimes overlooked, in my experience, throughout the local community. Amid the pop groups with full fledged performances, the garage bands with an interactive crowd, and the other genres that fill the Bay Area, singer-songwriter communities, the type that spawned performers like Kristina Olsen and even Neil Young, seem to be buried.

At Fog City Songwriters, a name coined from the intuitive nickname for San Francisco, you can expect upwards of a dozen singer-songwriters who are each given a chance to play three songs and move on. While many of these type of events exist in the Bay Area, Fog City Songwriters has created a quarterly show where writers can come and play their songs while audience members enjoy the purity of lyrical content and lack of interruption. Their first show was this past October, and after it’s immediate success, members and beyond decided to take on the initiative to push forward the effort to unite and promote the singer-songwriter community, one that is wealthy in members, but scattered in connection.

“I started playing with the idea that I wanted to learn four chords and then write a song,” said Travis Hayes, one of the main organizers and the head of Hayes Life Presents, a show promotion company that puts on shows around the Bay Area. “I was always much more impressed and into people who can tell a story and write their heart out more than anythings. So I thought about how I could help to build the community.”

In addition to supporting the local songwriter community, each show will showcase an out of town performer and high quality live recordings for other people to listen to and check out. The order is random, but while similarly sounding to an open mic, is really focused on bringing songwriters, who have graced the Bay Area open mic scene plenty, to the forefront of the performance. This thought process which is separate and importantly distinguished from the rock ‘n’ roll bar shows that are accompanied by interruptions and distractions.

Ranging from the introverted artist to the outgoing performer, you can expect a wide range of personalities and people to grace the stage at a Fog City Songwriters event. However, one thing is for sure, each artist will be graced with a guitar (or instrument) and their songs.

You can check out a Fog City Songwriters event yourself this week.

Jenna Lavoie, Abbot Kinney, Ashley Allred, and more
January 29, 2015
8pm, $10 (all ages)