Long Island Pulse Singer-Songwriter Series—November 2011

There really is no such thing as an ending. Things pause, transform, get reborn. But nothing ever ends.

I’m thinking about endings right now because this past month’s installment of The LI Pulse Singer-Songwriter Series at The Cinema Arts Centre will be it for a while. We had a great year of shows (scroll down this page to review and reminisce), and we’re metaphorically flying south for the winter to take some time and reflect on the idea behind the series and how we might continue to innovate and bring wildly imaginative voices to new ears.

Our final installment featured (fittingly) two emerging artists, Cassandra House and Jeff Beauman. Cassandra creates a kind of newish Americana and singer-songwriter music that fans of Neko Case and Kathleen Edwards might like. Her songs are earnest explorations of relationships, love, and whatever exists in between and create an interesting juxtaposition with her seemingly whimsical personality and lighthearted exterior. I, for one, enjoy profundity born out of whimsy…especially when delivered with a mellifluous voice and that lovely seal familiarity stamped all over it.

There are certain musicians who carry the indie moniker in their wallets and there are some who truly embrace the spirit of independent music. Jeff Beauman is of the latter. He (along with a super group of beautiful friends who function like a family) has been making music in bands for several years in the Philadelphia area, on Long Island, and in NYC, but you probably wouldn’t know it. This is due to a combination of a serious case of shyness and perhaps a lack of a desperate need to get the music “out there,” so to speak (although I’m glad I left the show with a new CD of his newest songs recorded with friends). But isn’t that the case of so many of our favorites? I’m thinking of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, and other introverts that have come and gone, some tragically and way too soon. Jeff’s music, centered on hypnotic and pulsing acoustic guitar lines is subdued but wrought with the tension associated with 90s alternative rock bands like Superchunk and Sunny Day Real estate. These comparisons might also be informed by Tony Magliato’s spacey-melodic guitar playing. Together, Jeff and Tony wove a weird but beautiful fabric that wrapped around Jeff’s murmurs (think Michael Stipe circa early 80s or The Sea and Cake’s Sam Prekop) and guttural moans.

It felt right to close the series down with two “new” voices for you, our beloved readers and audience. I hope you will stay with us when we resurface. I want to always be left with the “new” the “what’s next” in the world. It’s kind of what this magazine embraces and certainly what this writer/musician/teacher/occasional visual artist wants to put out there in the universe. Something real. Something imaginative. Something new. Thanks for a great year!

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alan semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a writer, musician, English teacher, and occasional visual artist. Besides LI Pulse, his work has appeared in Newsday, Adbusters, Chain, The Lyric Review and numerous other print and online publications, anthologies, and chapbooks. His first full-length book of poetry is In the Architecture of Bone (Genpop Books 2009). You can visit him digitally at alanarts.com and find out about his music at alansemerdjian.com.