Local songwriters tell their stories one verse at a time

Scheduled for this weekend at Cherry Hill Campground in Darien, Folk Faces Festival offers dozens of groups, numerous activities and a showcase of songwriters.

“It’s a group effort where everyone shares songs and works together to bring out our best stuff,” explained Tyler Westcott, festival promoter and lead singer of Folkfaces. He will be one of the songwriters to perform on Sunday’s Showcase.

“One person sings a song and tells a story, then the next person hopefully is affected by that song or story.”

Mikey Strongmen will also appear in the Songwriters Showcase. He appeared in similar events in Kansas City and Nebraska.

“For me, songwriting is deeply personal, but I try to please everyone and make a connection,” Strongmen said.

“I feel like once you write a song, it’s yours. But once you play it, it’s not yours anymore and it’s there in the ether. It can change. It can turn into something else.”

Tyler Westcott and Mikey Strongmen talk about their composition.

Strongmen bears the marks of experience, with his long beard and weathered face. It contrasts with two other songwriters in our discussion, Courtney Ann and Sara Elizabeth. They connected at Zoom events during the pandemic. Now they write together and perform as Tuesday evening.

“It’s a conversation with yourself,” Courtney Ann said of songwriting.

“It’s therapeutic, in a way, sorting things out from your past or dealing with them in your present.”

Courtney Ann and Sara Elizabeth discuss their songwriting and the music they share as members of Tuesday Nite.

Sara Elizabeth says she has been writing since she was 12, playing classical guitar and working with poetry.

“It’s really cool,” she said of writing songs together. Their work is “introspective” and “determined” and is stimulated by their stage performances.

“Being able to experiment with our communication is really fun. Not just with our bandmates, but with each other and getting to know how each other works on stage,” explained Sara Elizabeth.

“It keeps you on your toes.”

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