Roots Cafe Singer-Songwriter Series:
Anne Watts & Howard Markman
perform their own songs in the round
with your singing host Geoffrey Himes
Tickets: $7 in advance, $9 at door
Anne Watts performs and records extensively with her Baltimore-based sextet, Boister. The bands numerous recordings have won praise from critics, who have compared Watts to the likes of Edith Piaf, Thelonious Monk, and Frank Zappa. Watts and Boister have been featured on NPRs Morning Edition and have performed at the Kennedy Center, Torontos NXNE Festival, and the World Cafe Live. Watts has been commissioned to score numerous classic silent films, earning kudos from Roger Ebert and the Washington Post. The band's most recent album, Some Moths Drink the Tears of Elephants, was recorded and produced by Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, who also produced their 2003 disc, Pieces of Milk. National Book Award winner John Barth called Moths "haunting...like Dylan with estrogen." Watts last performed solo in Tokyo, where she was joined onstage by Tetsu Yamauchi of the Faces. Of Anne Watts, legendary Southern producer Jim Dickinson said, Any artist that can reference Lotte Lenya, Edith Piaf, Captain Beefheart, and Thelonious Monk at the same time is okay with me. Dark, earthtone vocals; faded, sepia band tracks; with a splash of day-glo. She makes Tom Waits sound like a sissy.
A veteran of the Baltimore music scene, Markman has played with a variety of Mobtown bands from country to avant-garde, from folk-rock to R&B. He is probably most recognizable for his stints as guitarist with Baltimores premier improvising roots band Freewater in the 70s and with Disappear Fear, featuring Sonia, in the 90s. On his 2005 solo album, "Half Smiles Blue Skies," Markman drew from the instrumental prowress of the first band and the songwriting ambition of the second to carve out a personal collection of songs, exploring a life that sometimes gets dark, sad, and lonely but can still be a wild and deeply satisfying ride. His latest album, Welcome to Smalltimore," was released last year, and he has just formed a new band called Palookaville. Three years ago, Mel Gibson's production company snagged Markman's poignant and catchy "Almost Home" for its Emmy-winning Carrier documentary, a 10-part series about life aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Baltimore Magazine praised Markman's homespun delivery and chiming guitars, offhand mentions of Formstone and the Marble Bar, and a verse that rhymes "Domino sign" with "B&O line," it exudes an unassuming confidence that suits its subject. The nine songs that follow balance world-weariness and plucky cynicism.
Though he is best known as a music critic for the Washington Post, Baltimore City Paper, Nashville Scene, Jazz Times, No Depression, Paste and others, Geoffrey Himes is also a longtime singer-songwriter who has co-written songs with Fred Koller, Walter Egan, Sonia Rutstein, Billy Kemp, Stephen Wade, Jim Patton, Ed Pettersen, Paul Margolis, Josh Charles, Timothy Bracken, Andrew Grimm, Bob Kannenberg and others. This month Himes will premiere his new song, The Pistol or Me."
Roots Cafe Singer-Songwriter Series Upcoming Shows:
March 24: The Hello Strangers Larissa Smith and Brechyn Chace
April 14: Tom Chalkley & Bob Friedman
May 12: The Polkats John Shock & Mike Barth
June 23: Tony Denikos & Alan MacEwen
September 8: Phil Wiggins & Max Ochs