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Songwriters stage food bank benefit

Being a songwriter in the Capital District is often a solitary pursuit.

Local songwriters often perform solo, taking the stage at local coffeehouses with just their guitars and the music they write.

Kevin Wayne found himself wanting a little company.

I thought it'd be so much cooler if my songs were filled out a little, he said.

So Wayne got some fellow songwriters together, and they found a drummer and a bassist to accompany them. They regularly jam at Wayne's house, and on Sunday, Nov. 22, the Songwriters Jam Band will hold "Singing for Their Supper," a benefit concert for the Regional Food Bank. The First Unitarian Universalist Society in Albany will host the concert from 2 to 6 p.m.

Like Wayne, Chrissie VanWormer, the only female songwriter taking part in the event, likes the way the Songwriters Workshop fosters a spirit of collaboration.

"Music is more about a few people doing it together," she said.

If that's the case, why not join a band? Wayne said bands are hard work " it takes a lot of effort "to get everybody dedicated."

He became dedicated to songwriting about eight years ago, roughly two years after he'd started playing guitar. He had written poetry in college, and his professors thought he was "pretty good at it," he said. So when a serious illness laid him up and he was laid off for six months, Wayne tried his hand at writing music.

Not long after, he joined the NorthEast Country Music Association, where he met several other songwriters. They began holding some impromptu jam sessions, and Wayne pitched his idea to get together on a more regular basis.

It wasn't necessarily an easy sell, Wayne said, as songwriters are used to working alone. But soon, the jams became popular.

"I think once they started hearing how good it sounded, they became more open to it," Wayne said.

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