To kick off the continuation of the series, Moore has invited Hoboken music veterans Bob Delevante and James Mastro to join him on stage in the back room of the former Liquid Lounge (which has not only been revitalized by its current owners Fran Azzarto and Michael Ferentinos, but has also been renamed The Goldhawk after the London social club and home of The Who).
Founded by Scott E. Moore in March of 1998, The Writer's Hang is not a typical songwriter's circle. Rather than hosting a roomful of musicians, Moore invites only two or three contemporary singer/songwriters to join him on stage at a time. Tweaking the de facto etiquette even more, between making music, Moore interviews his guests.
"Musicians are usually reluctant to talk about their work," Moore said last week. "But I can usually get them to open up. It's got kind of an Inside the Actor's Studio-vibe. And the crowd gets really into it."
Since its incipience, The Writer's Hang has attracted an impressive rooster of artists from around the country. Past guests include Chris Barron, Ricky Byrd, Toshi Reagon, Willie Nile and Rebecca Martin.
To christen The Goldhawk's first Hang, however, Moore has decided to summon some local talent. Longtime Hoboken resident Bob Delevante made a name for himself in the '80s with the local roots-rock band Who's Your Daddy? Delevante, who moved to Nashville in the early '90s, is flying in especially for The Hang. And then there's James Mastro. The 40-year-old musician not only owns The Guitar Bar and The Pigeon Club (a recording studio), but he was also a member of The Bongos and the lead singer and songwriter of the recently dismantled Health & Happiness Show.
Scott E. Moore was born and raised in Rutherford, N.J. He moved to Hoboken in the early '90s and quickly became an integral part of the city's burgeoning music scene, playing with acclaimed local bands like The Gefkens and Gimmethegun. During his early years in Hoboken, Moore supported himself working as a television and video director. He even helped develop One to One, the staid precursor to VH1's delightfully trashy documentary series Behind the Music. (Working on One to One, no doubt, is where Moore acquired his aptitude for the interview.)
In 1995, Moore began to focus on music full-time. "I don't really watch VH1 anymore," he said. "Behind the Music is a little too Hard Copy for my tastes." Today, Moore spends his time working on his own music and cultivating The Writer's Hang, a project he would like to extend beyond that of a local monthly show. "It's a Britney Spears world out there right now," Moore said. "I want The Writer's Hang to become a brand name for people to discover modern adult singer/songwriters."
Moore is currently developing a Writer's Hang web site that will not only promote the series, but will also act as resource for fans of the genre. He is also developing a CD entitled The Writer's Hang Volume I - Modern Singer/Songwriters You Need To Hear. The CD will feature 15 studio performances by artists who have participated in the Hang, including Larry John McNally, Dayna Kurtz, Ben Arnold, Julia Greenberg, Tom Ferund, Rebecca Martin and Bob Delevante.
"It's kind of like a CD you'd find in a Starbucks or a Banana Republic," Moore said. "It's a total major label-quality project."
Moore hopes to launch both the CD and the web site later this summer.
Fans of the original Writer's Hang may be in for a surprise on Thursday night. Since they acquired the Liquid Lounge from Joe Borzotta three months ago, Fran Azzarto and Michael Ferentinos have been working hard to spruce up the joint. In the back room - the lounge where The Writer's Hang takes place - white walls, purple drapes and a fluorescent-lit pool table have been replaced with plush throw-pillows, fashionable furniture and a swanky collection of vintage clocks. Magazines ranging from National Geographic to Modern Drummer line the Dijon mustard-hued walls.
"They've done such an amazing job with the bar," said Moore. "The back room looks like a hip loft."
Last week, Azzarto reciprocated the respect.
"I've known Scott for years," said Azzarto, who is not only The Goldhawk's co-proprietor, but also a Hoboken-based musician. His resume includes drummer for The Gefkens and frontman for Skanatra. "As long as Scott keeps [The Writers Hang] going, we're more than happy to keep it here. It's really neat to hear what songwriters have to say. Me - personally - I wouldn't disclose anything, but it's great that other songwriters do. And James [Mastro] and Bob [Delevante] are old friends. So, it's very cool that they will be the first to perform."
Of course, songwriter's circles are anything but a novelty: acoustic musicians can be found jamming with other acoustic musicians in clubs and coffee shops across the country. Nonetheless, Moore prides himself on having created and maintained a wholly unique environment.
"Songwriter's circles are not original to me," Moore said. "But, with The Writer's Hang, I tried to create my dream gig. I wanted to create a listening environment where the music is not wallpaper. The backroom [of The Goldhawk] is totally isolated from the rest of the bar, so you have to listen. It's like, 'If you build it, they will come.' And people totally do."
The Writer's Hang, featuring Bob Delevante, James Mastro and, as always, Scott E. Moore, will take place at The Goldhawk (936 Park Ave., Hoboken), tonight, Thursday, June 7 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information call 420-7989.