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Songwriters' Showcase allows musicians to be original

Monthly night at The Crystal Lounge brings out new talent and established performers

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Lachlan Hol is a busy Whistler musician.

As one half of Neverland Nights he is regularly onstage at clubs and pubs around the resort.

And he helps out with Live in the House at Moe Joe's Nightclub.

"We're ridiculously busy," he laughs.

"I love it."

But he also wanted to get back to his passion for songwriting and started the Songwriters' Showcase, with the support of The Crystal Lounge.

Cover songs are checked at the door; only original music is permitted onstage.

"I wanted a showcase for original talent, instead of the cover bands you see everywhere," Hol says.

"I play seven days a week in cover bands and I was starting to hate the music scene a bit. I needed to figure out something to allow people to play their original music in an environment that is supportive."

He says he wants to help artists who want to get more gigs. Last time it brought out three or four people he'd never met before.

"It's a great night. People tell stories behind the songs they write," Hol says.

Open mic format is open to songwriting novices and to established musicians wanting to try out new songs on audiences.

At the most recent showcase, on Thursday, Aug. 6, six performers came out, Hol says.

Jon Palmer moved to Whistler from Ontario last September, leaving his band Ladyburn behind.

Now that he is settled, he wanted to get back to his folk-blues music and the Songwriters Showcase popped up at the right time for him.

"I have been going to some of the local open mic nights and someone told me about the Songwriter Showcase... I think it's a fantastic idea to have a place where songwriters can showcase their material," Palmer says.

"It's pretty cool to find out there are a lot of talented musicians in Whistler and they seem to want to help and support each other."

Now he aims to build up his connections with the music scene and start performing regularly.

The Crystal Lounge's bar manager Jono Young says they are always looking for new ideas showcase local musicians.

"From our side of things we felt that the Crystal has supported live music for years with weekly gigs. We have the jam night, did the King and Queen of Song years ago and we've got the Whistler Music Search each fall," Young says.

"As soon as Lachie told me his idea, I thought it was great. There is no pressure on anyone to play a full night of original music. It can be hard to fill a three-hour slot."

As well, he says, many musicians don't have many opportunities to play their own songs.

"If you have two songs or even only one song, it's great," Young says.

The next Songwriters' Showcase takes place at The Crystal Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 9 p.m.

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