A local music executive has created a space where songwriters can build a community and gain confidence in their skills.
Sam Cox, emcee for the event, said the idea for the Songwriter Showcase, which takes place at Dewain’s Place, came from seeing similar acts in Texas.
“Fall [Ragland] and I spent a lot of time touring in Texas and there are pretty famous venues like the Blue Bite and another place called Cheatham Street that have songwriter nights and they’ve been doing them for a decade or two and I wanted to bring that something for Tahlequah,” Cox said.
The free exhibition began in the summer of 2023 and continued to take place on the first Wednesday of each month at 18.30 or 19.00 at Dewain’s Place.
Cox said the event is similar to an open mic with six to 10 songwriters performing two to three songs. Original songs are not required of participants, but they are encouraged.
Instead of having the usual Wednesday night weekend vibe, Cox said they’re trying to make it more casual so the audience can sit and listen to the contestants.
“It’s a little different when someone is up there singing a cover tune like ‘Wagon Wheel’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ You know that song,” Cox said. “If you hear an original song you’ve never heard before, people are actually trying to listen to it for the first time, so it’s just a little bit different.”
When it comes to the performers, Cox said he wants them to know there will always be a room and a crowd that will hear their original music.
“I think the songwriting community in Cherokee County is really good,” Cox said. “It almost has a kind of friendly competitiveness to it. It’s almost like you go out there and play a song and you hear a bunch of other songs that are super cool and it just makes you want to make better songs and become a better artist.”
Cox said he not only wants to expand the community of songwriters in the area, but also help them gain confidence in their abilities. Some artists have a full circle moment as they might meet another musician at the showcase and perform or do a song with them later.
“It’s just really cool to see people come together for that thing, then a few months later someone will play a song up there and they’re like, ‘Hey, I wrote this song with so-and-so during a co-write.'” It is really cool that they met there, then they met on their own terms and wrote a song together, and then they came back and performed it.”
For those looking to get involved in the Songwriter Showcase, Cox said participants should contact him at [email protected] or 918-207-2701.
The next songwriter showcase will take place at Dewain’s Place on December 6th around 18.30