Best Bets: Logen to tell tales of tunes for Dover shows

Nashvillle-based singer/songwriter Michael Logen will share the stage with local performer Sol Knopf and Cassidy Catanzaro Nov. 16 at the Patchwork Playhouse and then perform solo Nov. 17 for the Sunroom Songwriters Series house concert, both in Dover. (Submitted photo)

For Americana/folk artist Michael Logen, getting a chance to talk about his songs while performing brings a whole added dimension to his work.

“I love it. I just did a month-long tour of the UK with that kind of format and it’s a unique kind of show,” he said.

“A lot of folks have never been to a show like that. The feedback I get is always very positive because once you hear the story behind the song, where it was written and why and how it was written, and then you hear the song, the song almost becomes a different song. It’s personalized, very different from hearing it on the radio.”

Mr. Logen, a prolific songwriter from Nashville, will get the chance to talk and sing twice next weekend in Dover. He’ll perform with fellow singer/songwriters Cassidy Catanzaro and Smyrna’s own Sol Knopf Nov. 16 during a Songwriters and Storytellers show at Kent County Theatre Guild’s Patchwork Playhouse. The following night, he’ll perform solo for the Sunroom Songwriters Series house concert.

Mr. Logen grew up in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He was raised listening to Americana and folk greats like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Gordon Lightfoot. He comes from a musical family. He learned to play guitar from his father and recorded a folk project with his brother, Dave.

His songs have been featured on many TV shows including “Nashville”, “Suits”, “Parenthood”, “The Fosters” and “One Tree Hill.”

His 2016 album “New Medicine” includes his original, acoustic version of a song he wrote with Jennifer Hanson called “Breaking Your Own Heart,” which was covered by Kelly Clarkson on her platinum-selling, Grammy-winning album, “Stronger.”

Mr. Logen’s folk song, “Couldn’t Ask For A Better Friend” played prominently throughout the 2016 Rio Olympics when it was chosen by Folger’s as the theme for their award-winning ad.

He has performed in every state in the continental U.S. as well as in the UK, Denmark, The Netherlands, France and Spain, opening for such artists as John Hiatt, John Legend, Jason Isbell and India.Arie.

His songs have also been recorded by many other artists, including Jonny Lang, Mat Kearney, Brandon Heath, The Greencards, Paul Carrack, Will Hoge and Sister Hazel.

Sol Knopf will join Michael Logen and Cassidy Catanzaro Nov. 16. (Submitted photo)

He says he doesn’t necessarily set out to write songs specifically for other people.

“When you really focus on just writing the best song that you can write that day, that’s when it usually finds a home,” he said.

“But I do remember when I was 12 or 13 writing a song and hearing Alison Krauss’ voice singing that song in the back of my head and thinking back then that I would want to write songs for other people.

“Some ideas I have aren’t for me to sing and other times the songs fit me just right. It’s very different. It can vary.”

He says working with a music publisher helps to work all that out.

“Then I can try to keep my analytical mind out of it,” he said.

“They can see it from a different angle and see if it can find a home. Creatively I enjoy the challenge writing beyond just for myself. I think country music provides an amazing way to tell stories and be fairly philosophical about it. Country music has a way of talking about life and what it’s all about.”

Mr. Logen said these days those stories have also gone into the folk and Americana realm.

“Those genres have really taken over that role with people like Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Margo Price. It may come from the roots of Appalachia and Ireland with folks telling stories sitting around a campfire.”

For his latest album “New Medicine,” Mr. Logen headed to a cabin in the Tennessee mountains with a few books, covered all the clocks and had no TV, internet, phone nor radio.

“It’s harder and harder to get that kind of space. There are so many finely tuned distractions designed to keep our attention. As creative people we all struggle with this — how to some way get the most of out of our brains,” he said.

“It’s certainly not original with me to go out into the wilderness and spend time creating. For me, it’s all about focus and being able to stay in an intensively creative space long enough to create something.”

Mr. Logen is currently working on a followup to “New Medicine.”

“The machine is always running in my mind. I find that being on tour is a great time to capture an idea for a song but not a great time to finish a song,” he said.

“It’s the whole idea of it being 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. You’ll have a great idea and get out your iPhone and write down something but then you need that five hours to sit down and face the fear of rejection and failure to and dive in and really sweat and put in the work crafting the idea and putting it to music.”

As a songwriter himself, Mr. Knopf knows the hard work that comes from doing what Mr. Logen does for a living.

Mr. Knopf said he came upon Mr. Logen’s work through his mentor Craig Bickhardt, who has written hit songs for The Judds, Steve Wariner, Kathy Mattea and others.

Mr. Bickhardt has worked extensively with singer-songwriter Lizanne Knott, who in turn has worked with Mr. Logen.

“With Michael being from Pennsylvania, there’s this web that gets weaved with regional musicians,” Mr. Knopf said.

“I became a fan of Lizanne through Craig and through following her, I saw she spent time with Michael Logen. I looked up his material and he just blew me away. It’s exciting to see someone have such good success with writing songs and have such major artists record those songs, which is something I’ve always wanted to happen with my songs.

“I’ve always thought he would be perfect to do a show like this here. But for a few years we’ve tried to get it together and he’s been doing these tours in Denmark in November. This year he said he wasn’t going to be touring over there and would be available and I was just sky high. I was so excited.”

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show on Nov. 16 with Mr. Logen, Mr. Knopf and Ms. Catanzaro, who has performed in Dover with Mr. Knopf twice before to enthusiastic audiences, are $20 and available at SolKnopf.com.

The Patchwork Playhouse is at 140 Roosevelt Ave. in Dover.

For Mr. Logen’s Nov. 17 show at Sunroom, the suggested donation is $15. Email nmaliwes@icloud.com for the address. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Palko at State House

Friday, Delaware Friends of Folk will present the second event in their 2018-19 Old State House concert series, inside the Old State House on The Green in Dover.

Musician Shane Palko has played in five continents and 20 countries. (Submitted photo)

The featured artist for the evening will be Shane Palko, an independent alternative folk musician and environmentalist from Pennsylvania. He has performed his original music across five continents in over 20 countries. He has released nine studio albums to date.

His most recent release, “Pick Me Up” contains songs with an unusually positive perspective. His songs range from the boyish bliss of an adventure gone wrong to the tentative hopefulness of maturity. He recently spent nearly three months touring across Africa, Asia, and Australia to perform his original music, at the same time working with video and his blog to examine and document the importance of place and the functions of music.

The series is produced in cooperation with the First State Heritage Park and is supported by grants from several local businesses.

The concert is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. Seating is limited.

Rachel Andie at library

In more music doings Friday, Kent County Public Library, located at 497 S. Red Haven Lane in Dover, welcomes Philadelphia independent recording artist Rachel Andie for a free, solo acoustic performance from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Ms. Andie is the front woman for popular Philly alternative folk band, Rachel Andie and the V Element, who will be releasing their first full-length album later this year. When she is not performing, she works as a music educator with eight different schools in the city of Philadelphia.

Seating for the performance is limited; first-come, first-served. Her appearance is sponsored by The Happiness Project Music Festival.

‘A Christmas Story’

The Caesar Rodney High School Stage Crew & Thespians will open Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story,” as adapted by Philip Grecian, on Thursday at 7 p.m.. in the Rider Theatre.

There will be additional performances on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.

This play is based on the classic movie of the same name. The group says they even make it snow.

Tickets for the show are $7 at the door for all price levels. Discounted tickets $5, plus a small online service charge, are available on the Thespian website at www.crscat.org.

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch 3D,” Steve Carrell in the family drama “Beautiful Boy,” the thriller “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” and the World War II drama “Overlord.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “The Meg” and Mark Wahlberg in “Mile 22.”

To share news of your entertainment group, venue or event, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment