FAR-West Conference and Songwriters in Los Angeles

FAR-West Conference 2018

This weekend I will be attending the FAR-West conference in Woodland Hills, CA. A couple two or three hundred musicians, songwriters, venue owners, promoters, etc. While Folk music figures prominently, Folk is/has, like most musical genres, experienced a broadening over the past several years – including more blues, rock, country, and even pop sensibilities making its way into what the genre accepts and puts out.

Purist still exist – and that’s cool. But few people would call what I and many of the attendees play, folk music.

Then, at the end of the conference, on Sunday evening – October 14th, a bunch of us will descend upon Barclays Coffee & Tea in Northridge – for a post-conference FAR-West open mic. I guess I’m hosting this.?.?

October 14, 2018 FAR-West Open Mic at Barclays Coffee in Northridge, California

I found Barclays a few weeks ago when I played a solo show at the Northridge Farmer’s Market. I came into the area early, to avoid traffic, and wanted to sit and work at a coffee shop. Typically, I look for local/indie coffee shops. I’m not anti-Starbucks, per se, I just enjoy finding locally owned shops and supporting them.

While there, I met Connie & Diego, new owners (mother & son) of Barclays. I saw they were hosting an upcoming music night. That prompted me to start a conversation and book my own performance on October 19th. See the poster below but I’ll be playing with The Tiger Tops – a duo of two songwriters I truly enjoy!

Then I contacted Diego and asked if they would be interested in staying open on Sunday the 14th if I could bring in a small crowd of musicians. He agreed and the post FAR-West open mic was created. From the looks of the Facebook page and responses to the notice on the FAR-West discussion board, it could get crowded.

No Community or Vast Communities… or my own disconnect

I have, for the most part, remained on the periphery of the songwriting community in Los Angeles, since moving back to California from Arizona a few years ago. The reasons are varied.

First, when I say “songwriting community in Los Angeles,” that is misleading. There is no “community” or it is so vast and disconnected, it would be better defined as a series of songwriting semi-communities. Los Angeles is an entertainment juggernaut and cutting through the din is a curiously isolating endeavor.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken part in many songwriting events, spoken for and performed at Jimi Yamigishi’s SongNet, Songsalive!, Musicians Institute, the IMC, and any number of events. But I’ve also failed to attend the Topanga Banjo Festival and, in general, have missed the type of songwriting community I left in Arizona.

This is probably (definitely) my own fault. Until recently, my youngest lived with me and we had our life near downtown to attend to. I’m not complaining in anyway. Actions indicate priorities and I’m satisfied that my priorities were with my youngest and the “stuff of life.”

But she is now married and living with her husband. This means, other than my dogs, I’m an empty-nester. And so, I plan to be a bit more intentional about taking part in music communities and in playing music live. To that end, I have the above mentioned date (and the below embedded folder). My band, Arrogant Sage, will be performing a couple times in November and December.. Plus, we are finishing some recordings. They’re really good! That’s my unbiased opinion. My biased opinion is that they are “AMAZING!!!! THE BEST EVER!!”

And so, I will join up with the FAR-West group this week. I will meet people, play some music, get little sleep (from what I hear), and, in general, try to become a little more immersed into the local and not-so-local songwriting community.

Oh.. And I plan to play out a LOT more in the coming year.

Matthew Moran and The Tiger Tops Los Angeles songwriters at Barclays Coffee on October 19, 2018

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