A little over two months ago, I had the opportunity to check out a weekly series called Songwriter Mondays at the Room 5 Lounge in Los Angeles. Organized by the L.A.-based Jay Nash (MySpace), Songwriter Mondays features a rotating group of singer-songwriters who perform onstage and engage in lively conversation about music and anything else that comes to mind.
That night, the lineup included the L.A.-based Chris Pierce (MySpace) and Adrianne (MySpace) as well as Jessica Sonner (MySpace) from Chicago and the aforementioned Tristan Prettyman (MySpace) from San Diego.
It was quite a special night, as Jessica and Tristan are fans of each other’s music (they’re also in each other’s Top Friends lists on MySpace), and this may have been the first time they had appeared onstage together. Meanwhile, Tristan, who usually performs in much larger venues and who like Lily Allen (MySpace) has quite a MySpace following, quietly debuted three new songs I hadn’t heard before, but also threw in her cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” which like Nickel Creek (MySpace)’s version, always manages to thrill the audience.
The L.A. Times covered Songwriter Mondays last June:
In what has become a Monday night routine, Nash will take the stage at Room 5 with Garrison Starr, Adrienne and Joe Purdy (who’s sitting in while one of the lounge’s regulars, Gabriel Mann, takes a paternity leave) and engage a crowd of twenty- and thirtysomethings with mostly original material.
These are singer-songwriters in the classic sense — all acoustic guitars and bruised hearts — but there’s something in the performance that suggests a brutal authenticity that’s made them word-of-mouth favorites in the L.A. music scene. These performers are also regulars at the Hotel Café, a venue that’s become the go-to singer-songwriter hub in L.A., as other cozy Hollywood clubs — including Highland Grounds and Largo — also harbor similar, equally vibrant scenes. …
Tonight that art is loose, gorgeous, melodic songs, full of confidence without swagger. Each songwriter’s style is supplemented by contributions from the rest of the group (which includes two percussionists), and the camaraderie brings a shine to whatever they do. There’s no push for perfection — rather, the band strives for improvisational authenticity.
“When you’re playing on someone else’s song, you have to be very careful of what you’re going to play,” says Nash. “But it’s an amazing feeling when you come into the chorus the second time and you realize that everybody on stage totally gets where you were coming from when you wrote the song. That’s been par for the course for these Monday nights.”
More photos from the May 8th show here.