Thursday, March 3, was the seventh anniversary of the Writer's Hang, and it was standing room only, if you could fit through the door.
Host Scott E. Moore www.scottemoore.com was joined by Jim Boggia www.jimboggia.com and Hoboken-familiar Freedy Johnston www.freedyjohnston.com. The three singers sat on one end of the room holding their guitars as the audience listened intently.
Moore is a New Jersey native who plays with a blend of folk, blues and soul. His diversity is evidenced not only in his own music, but also in his regular accompaniments of Writers Hang guests who include some of the leading acoustic performers in the country.
Johnston got his start on Hoboken based label Bar None Records in 1990. He moved to Elektra in 1994 for his album This Perfect World, produced by Butch Vig, spawning his U.S. hit, "Bad Reputation", He tours the world, but occasionally pops back into Hoboken for a night like this.
Boggia describes himself as a writer of pop songs, "like the kind found in record collections when record collections were on....well, records," he says in his bio. He penned the song "Glory," which was a #1 Billboard Contemporary Christian Music hit, and was named Artist of the New Millennuim at the 2000 Philadelphia Music Conference.
"This is a song that celebrates distance between people," said Moore before launching into "So Far, So Good," from his album Mr. Misunderstood.
Someone in the audience wanted to hear Johnston's hit "Bad Reputation"
"C'mon, buy the record," answered Johnston. This wasn't a night for hits, or ego. This night was about sharing. Boggia went into his song, "Driving into Connecticut," a song with a nice percussive introduction.
"About four bars from this song are on the new record," he said. "I've never done that before, where you disassemble and reassemble."
He admitted that he wasn't actually driving when he wrote the song, which chronicles his musings about dealing with record executives. He also clarified that he really didn't have anything against the Strokes, referring to the line, "He told me I play the notes/ too perfect, I should be more like the Strokes."
The song resonated well with Moore and Johnston, who eagerly joined in with backing vocals of "Weasel, weasel, weasel, weasel" that Boggia prompted for the last verse.
Johnston was impressed with the accuracy with the song.
"We are troubadours," he said. "We are telling you the news in song."
As they prepared for each song, they entertained the crowd with banter.
"I'm a self-taught guy; I can't do like real musicians do," Johnston said.
"I can't do the tunings," interjected Boggia.
"I like onions," added Johnston.
The Writer's Hang is the first Thursday of each month. Freedy Johnston will return to the Goldhawk on April 20.