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First Fridays at Annie's
by Scott Truman

Looking for an intimate place to go and get up close to the music without a lot of noise and distraction? You'll find it at Annie's Coffeehouse, 1728 SW Broadway. First Fridays at Annie's offers honest original songs sung from the heart, sans amplifiers, sans artifice, and sans smoke.

Every First Friday of the month, Doug and Dana Fulton host a Songwriters-in-the-round night that is more than just entertainment. These accomplished songwriters bridge the gap between performer and listener, creating a place where a deeper connection is possible. Wayne Richards, President of the Portland Songwriters Association says, "When you see Doug and Dana perform you see joy that spreads across their audience like a warm wave. Even if you see them for the very first time, their songs make you feel like they have known you personally your whole life, and you're better for it."

Doug and Dana also bring talented singer/songwriters to Annie's each month. Doug says, "We want this to be a venue for sincere artists to be heard and appreciated. We've discovered some amazingly inspired and heart-centered songwriters who don't play out much because they dislike the club atmosphere. Also, there are a lot of folks like us who don't go out to hear local music very often because of what you have to put up with in nightclubs and noisy bars. Not that that isn't fun sometimes, but at Annie's we want to create something different and perhaps more profound. We call it Naked Music because it's about stripping away the blocks and barriers between people and allowing a certain kind of intimacy instead. I sang in nightclubs for years and I just refuse to do that kind of gig anymore."

The atmosphere at Annie's is right for something a little more magical. Walk in and you'll see a fireplace and several musicians gathered in a semi-circle trading songs and encouraging listeners to get involved. Songwriters and audience converse. There is attentive silence when a song begins.

And there are some great songs to be heard. Local folk-guru Connie Cohen appeared in April along with poet-sage Doyle Marvin. Upcoming performers include powerhouse singer/songwriter Anne Weiss and also Southern Nights, featuring the wonderful story-songs of Wayne Richards with Karolyn Laster's sweet, intuitive harmonies.

Plus you'll here the magic of Doug and Dana. Dana's songs are passionate, sensitive reflections on real life. Doug is receiving high praise for his first solo album "Take A Look At Your Shoes," an eclectic blend of songs reflecting the influences of James Taylor, Neil Young, Paul Simon and The Beatles.

Music starts at 8:00 p.m. every First Friday of the month. Annie's is at 1728 SW Broadway, across from Portland State University. Lattes, teas, and sandwiches are available and children are welcome.