Acoustic View By Aaron Rowan

I was introduced to CIYH through a bay area friend, and it quickly became one of my most useful tools for finding acoustic talent. It’s shorthand for, the brainchild of award-winning musician Fran Snyder. The premise behind this network is to provide artists with the best environments to share their music, without the noise and distractions found in bar/club settings.

This is a matter of immeasurable importance, as I know firsthand. Sometimes I will be at a venue trying to watch a gifted friend of mine perform, yet keep getting my attention pulled away by the poker game on the TV. Fail! Another time, I was starting to ignore the performer – someone I had booked! – in favor of the action flick on the TV. Fail! Fortunately, my good friend Sue Cotter (a fellow CIYH host) was sitting right beneath the flatscreen, and sneakily reached up and put an end to that distraction. Thank you for that, Sue. Friends don’t let friends miss out on great music.

For the most part, booking through CIYH means performing in someone’s living room. I’ve hosted intimate showcases in mine for over a year now, which have led to many wonderful new ventures. 40% of the artists featured at this year’s Modesto Unplugged Music Festival, for instance, were either national artists I found through the network, or otherwise had performed at my house concert series.

Downtown Modesto has some good listening room venues as well, where it’s just you and the music. One space I’m starting to work with more is Peer Recovery Art Project at 1222 J St. John Black, mastermind behind this gallery, came to the rescue recently after I learned of the loss of a MUMfest venue with almost no notice. John gave us a new home for an awesome country/folk afternoon showcase. Peer Recovery is a great spot to enjoy some live music; hold an art show, art classes, or songwriting workshops; or just to sit back and chill. As John will tell you, this gallery belongs to the entire arts community.

I open my late summer/fall run of shows there on Monday 8/5, with October Gold, a sweet guitar/violin duo from Montreal, supported by piano/trumpet/vocal looping artist Stephanie Rearick from Wisconsin, and emerging local songwriter Andrew Alvarez. Showcase runs from 6-9 PM, with a $5 cover.

Then on Wednesday the 7th, check out folk/roots quartet West My Friend (also from Canada) with central valley troubadour Al Medina, sharing his mix of acoustic rock, folk and blues at Deva Café, 1202 J St., from 7-9 PM. Only $5 for this lovely night of music as well.

Also at the Peer Recovery, there are new monthly music events – second Thursdays, PRP staff member and local songwriter Benjamin Phelps hosts an open jam starting at 7 PM. Third Thursdays, during the downtown Art Walk, come hear a local performer from 5:30-8:30. This month Al Medina will be featured. Enjoy the cool art there as well, and don’t forget to say hi to Mr. Black, a definite white hat for the local arts scene.



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