A sampling of the performers

August 19, 2004

Susan Werner

Performing songwriter Susan Werner describes her original tunes as "new songs done in an old way." She borrows from the popular songwriting tradition established by such legends as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers to create new compositions reminiscent of a bygone era, according to her Web site at

On her newest release, "I Can't Be New," Werner performs a dozen original tunes in a songbook style that's been described as contemporary folk. She boasts a master's degree in classical voice, has toured with Joan Armatrading and other musicians, recorded four albums and appeared in a PBS special about Peter, Paul & Mary.

Malcolm Holcombe

Lucinda Williams has called singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe a "modern day blues poet." Rolling Stone magazine gave the North Carolinian's "A Hundred Lies" four stars. A 25-year music industry veteran whose gravelly voice often is compared to Tom Waits', Holcombe has toured with Shelby Lynne and Cat Power, Merle Haggard and Wilco. To learn more about Holcombe, go to on the Web.

Steppin' In It

Michigan-based Steppin' In It performs American roots music. The group includes Dominic Suchyta on upright bass and triangle; Josh Davis on vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo and triangle; Joe Wilson on dobro, steel guitar and fiddle; and Andy Wilson on harmonica, Cajun button accordion, trumpet, ukelele and whistles.

The group celebrates genres from blues to western swing, according to the Steppin' In It Web site at

Darrell Scott

Songwriter, recording artist and instrumentalist Darrell Scott combines elements of rock, folk, jazz and country to create a sound all his own.

The two-time Grammy Award nominee performs his original tunes and has written songs for more than 40 other artists, including the Dixie Chicks ("Long Time Gone" and "Heartbreak Town"), Garth Brooks ("When No One's Around") and Travis Tritt ("It's a Great Day to be Alive"). His prowess on guitar, dobro and mandolin has led to pairings with such notable musicians as Steve Earle, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis and Susan Werner on stage and in the studio, according to Scott's Web site at

Robbin Thompson

Since launching his recording career in 1976, Virginia-based songwriter Robbin Thompson has performed with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and other recording artists, according to his Web site at

He's co-written songs with Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles, won the American Song Festival twice and written music for commercials and films.

Thompson's newest CD is "One Step Ahead of the Blues."

Kenny White

Songwriting pianist Kenny White of New York stepped into the spotlight from behind the scenes when he released his debut album, "Uninvited Guest," in 2002. Critics have praised the work's intelligent lyrics in arrangements that range from jazzy to '60s rock- influenced.

White has recorded with Linda Ronstadt, Keith Richards, Gladys Knight, Aaron Neville and other notable musicians. He's also written music for hundreds of commercials and such films as "Message in a Bottle" and "Ed TV," according to his Web site at White's new album, "Symphony in 16 Bars," will be released Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Devon Sproule

Critics praised 21-year-old Devon Sproule's third album, "Upstate Songs," for its clarity, honesty and innocence. The Virginia native has been touring nationwide since age 16 and sharing stages with the likes of the Dave Matthews Band and Eddie From Ohio, according to Sproule's Web site at "Upstate Songs" is a folk rock, departure from the grittier, electric sounds on her previous two albums.

The Herald-Mail Articles