A little damp weather did nothing to dampen spirits at Friday’s Launch Music Conference. The panel discussions were well attended and the streets were filled with musicians of every shape and size. This is the third year of this east coast conference and it warms the cockles of my heart to see it surviving and thriving. Anyway…after spending the afternoon at the trade show venue doing interviews I got to focus my evening on my favorite thing, listening to and discovering new music. The wonderful thing about Launch is the proximity of the venues. You can literally hear music on every corner. It’s a beautiful thing.

A highlight of my night, which went way past my bedtime I might add, were hearing Morgan Erina in the Convention Center Lobby. This Pittsburgh based singer -songwriter is part of the band Broken Fences and I was lucky to hear this golden throated songstress do a solo set. Playing in Freedom Hall was Hanover based Oceans In Love who have a wonderful frontman. I then wandered over to Marion Court Room where under the cover of canopy got to see the Winter Sounds from Nashville. This energetic group of musicians featured a fiddle player and a rocking female bassist. I would describe the sound as alt/bluegrass/roots/punk[always a new label]. The songs were fun and one couldn’t help enjoying themselves watching this southern quintet bounce up and down onstage. I chatted with the lead singer/guitarist after the set and he informed me they had to drive to Columbus, Georgia, a mere 14 hours away, for a Saturday show. Whew! Thats dedication. I of course purchased one of their two song-two buck cds. Gas is $4 a gallon. Every little bit helps.

I ended my night at Lancaster Dispensing Company where Brooke Annibale, another Pittsburgh singer-songwriter was doing her sweet and understated set. Douglas September brought his quirky Tom Waits flavored songs from Toronto. Camela Widad Kraemer [Carlisle PA. via Wisconsin] rocked it old school with her excellent Shawn Colvin-Bonnie Raitt styled songs. It was wonderful see someone who really knows how to work a crowd. My night ended with the cool indie songs of Canyon. Canyon hails from Westport, Conneticut and was accompanied on guitar and percussion by her friend Andy. Her songs were fresh and literate and she is an engaging performer.

All that and it was only one night. Cool!

Douglas September and Camela Widad Kraemer  part of the Launch Music Conference                                                          at Lancaster Dispensing Company- Sat 4/23/11