Last Thursday night at the World Cafe Live at The Queen, a woman with a cream tank top and blonde hair took the stage as part of Songwriters in the Round. Lizanne Knott, or “Lizzy” as she called herself, approached one of three microphones while a man dressed in black from head to toe hopped up on stage. Introducing himself as Michael Logen, he closed his eyes and tuned his acoustic guitar, concentrating on the music he was producing and fiercely focused on making it perfect. Lizzy warmed up the crowd, while a Gavin Degraw look-alike named Jesse Terry moseyed his way over to the stage, a glass of water in one hand and a wine glass in the other.
When Lizzy began to sing, I was moved by this warm, soulful voice that sounded remarkably like Steve Nicks’. As she performed, she closed her eyes and tapped her left foot back and forth. Poetry glided out of her mouth and surrounded her audience. With soul crushing lyrics like, “Get me out of this place/Get me out of my skin,” and depressing realizations like “You coulda been my man,” Lizzy’s songs are the kind that you listen to alone while drinking whiskey on the rocks. They’re honest, powerful and genuine.
During Lizzy’s performance, Michael would chime in on his guitar or harmonica when it just felt right. What mattered was the sound, not the spotlight. When he sang, he embodied a true jazzy-blues sound. His notes and riffs were crisp and clean while his lyrics were heartbreakingly relatable. He captured the crowed with the song “Mystery,” featuring lyrics like, “Cause she wants to be a mystery and I know I’ve never found her really/She wants to be a mystery to me/She wants to be a mystery so I wrap my soul around her because/She’ll always be a mystery to me.” After he performed that song, the crowd cheered louder than for anyone else that night.
Jesse was the last to play. It’s hard to describe his sound because it wasn’t distinctive. It sounded new, inexperienced and just like everything else. By the end of the show, I had written him off as unimpressive, but then he performed a song that completely blew me away. “The Devil Will Dance” sounded just like today’s country music with a little rock and roll mixed in. It was so intoxicating that even Michael picked up his harmonica to keep up with Jesse’s pace. The song stuck with me and I couldn’t get it out of my head even if I wanted to. He had me wondering: Where has this guy been?
These three singer-songwriters were nearing the end of their ten-day tour of the Northeast. They wore it well – exhaustion masked by cups of coffee. They knew each other’s songs as well as they knew their own and sang along with them in the background. And even though they were tired, they played the World Cafe Live at The Queen like it was their first and only performance. They earned the title “singer-songwriters” and although there were only a handful of people there that night to watch, these three played as though it were a sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden. If they ever come back to Delaware, I’ll be the first in line to experience them again.
To learn more about each of these artists, please visit their websites: