This past weekend I had the honor of sitting front row center at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge for an incredible night of music and I’m still reeling from the experience. Many weeks worth of Monday night open mic winners went head to head in the Main Event! and myself and two other judges had the difficult task of slowly eliminating all but one winner.
That one winner was Seamus Galligan, a New Bedford-based musician whose voice and songwriting echo Nick Drake and Donovan yet somehow still sound all his own. Each song he did would silence the room, drawing us in and leaving us shaking our heads. Seamus doesn’t have music readily available online, but that’s something that will soon be remedied!
Meanwhile I’ll start by introducing you to the runner up – Mark Whitaker. Mark plays the banjo but not in a conventional way. I think even those who can’t stand the sound of the instrument would be impressed by his non-offensive, guitarlike banjo-playing. At the competition, his skill on the instrument was clear, and he also had a comfort on stage that seemed to put the audience at ease. Above all else, it was Mark’s songwriting that stood out. Each tune he played seemed to have the perfect amount of words with the perfect phrasing…the words themselves were simple and yet so heartfelt. For me, it seemed like each song would end at the perfect moment, leaving us all with a feeling of completion and a smile on our faces. Mark plays frequently in and around Boston, you can catch him at Club Passim on May 15th.