It’s rare to witness six high-caliber performers share the stage on a given night, even more so at the exact same time. But Opolis’ Saturday Song Swap features six standout Oklahoma musical artists collaborating on one another’s songs, with the performers delicately adding their own little flourish to their colleagues’ ditties.
“Everybody’s mic and guitar will be on the whole time. As you feel led, you can add to your fellow songwriter’s song,” said Samantha Crain, a featured artist who also helped organize the show.
“That’s the fun of it. It’s a more public sort of jam session for songwriters, which is something you don’t see very often.”
This is the second year for the swap, with plans for it becoming an annual event. Crain amassed a healthy smattering of local songwriters and friends like Ali Harter, Penny Hill, Brine Webb (pictured), John Calvin and Jesse Aycock to play at this incarnation.
It’s an exciting and unfamiliar experience for these solo performers who typically opt for the seclusion of their bedrooms to write and assemble their most intimate thoughts and feelings.
Hill said she is looking forward to the chance to stretch herself beyond her normal comfort zone.
“It’s fun and exciting and vulnerable and nerve-wracking all at once,” she said of collaborating.
“You’re nervous it might come out jumbled, but you’re excited to hear new life in something you maybe have moved past already.”
Webb feels much the same, although he said he’s most excited to have influences like Crain and Aycock there to add to his own works.
“There’s the fact that we as songwriters often discuss ideas of collaboration, usually in the form of side projects, but it’s hard to get those ideas going,” Webb said.
“With this show, it’s kind of an instant forced collaboration, and whatever comes from it is the show. No hard work, no second-guessing, no arguing. Just collaborating. I think it is a useful exercise, if nothing else.”
The somewhat structured progression of the show, with each performer playing one of his or her own songs before moving on to the next artist, should prevent any sort of full-on jamband session.
Gaudy guitar solos and 30-minute bongo breakouts are likely to be replaced by something a little more purposeful.
“Songwriters are a little more thoughtful with what they add,” Crain said with a laugh. “It’s a different perspective than the typical jam.”