April 17, 2014 · 8:00pm


We’re kicking off a new singer-songwriter showcase series curated by local songwriter Steve Patterson!

Steeped in the tradition of legendary songwriters like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Carol King, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Paul Simon, to name just a few, the Singer-Songwriter Showcase is intends to bring artists and audience together to enjoy new original music.

Each month, we will present a headliner, an established artist working in this genre, and we will follow that performance with a bill of writers who want to bring out two or three new tunes to try out on the audience.

This month’s featured performer is Jessica Smucker. Also performing: Mike P. Ryan, Mindy Nolt.

Jessica Smucker


Jessica Smucker never meant to become a serious songwriter. For much of her life, she sang for fun and dabbled on the piano, but her real passions were poetry and nonfiction writing. She published numerous poems and essays in magazines and journals during her twenties, but as time went by she increasingly found herself turning to the piano for relaxation. Moving her fingers over the keys seemed to draw out words from a different place within her – a deeper, yet more effortless place.

Once she had written a body of songs, it took her a few years to find the will and the courage to put them out into the world. Now, seven years into her music career, she still thinks of herself as a writer first – and a reluctant performer. But audiences experience her voice as a sincere and captivating embrace – the perfect sonic match to her emotionally eloquent lyrics.

Jessica has performed all over the Eastern U.S. and has won several national songwriting contests including the Connecticut Folk Festival Song Competition (2013) and SolarFest ‘s Singer/Songwriter Showcase Competition (2010). She has opened for notable acts like Cheryl Wheeler and The Kennedys, shared festival stages with Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, Dar Williams, Antje Duvekot and others, and co-billed with up-and-comers like Heather Maloney and The Stray Birds. Her second full-length album, Tumbling After, is due out in March 2014.

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Mike P. Ryan

Oklahoma-born Singer-Songwriter Mike P. Ryan creates heartfelt music about the lives, emotions, and experiences of everyday people. An award-winning songwriter and a natural raconteur Mike captivates audiences wherever he goes. Mike is the Artist in Residence at the Virginia Musician’s Workshop and the Director of the NOVA Songwriter’s Workshop. He serves as a volunteer musician for Musicians On Call, a nationwide charity that brings live music to the bedsides of seriously hospital patients. Mike’s debut CD “American Tales” is available on I-tunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Learn more about Mike, see upcoming live dates, and check out songs and videos at: www.mikepryanmusic.com.

Mindy Nolt

Mindy Nolt has been writing songs since she was a child and has continued to explore music in a variety of ways ever since. She has been inspired by artists such as Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin and Emmylou Harris. She has found songwriting to be one of the best ways to express herself, and her songs speak to life’s struggles and mysteries in a poetic and contemplative way.

Mindy has continued to write songs over the years, releasing her first album, As a Tree, in 2004. In both 2008 and 2013, Mindy had a song chosen for an album produced by the local nonprofit Music for Everyone. She recently finished recording her upcoming album, Movers and Lovers, with a tentative release date at the end of May 2014.