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Songwriters Showcase features Anthony D’Amato and Thom Chacon

It wasn’t hard to convince Anthony D’Amato to play a local concert. The New York City-based D’Amato has grown to love the Southwest and Durango in particular, coming to the area as a kid with his Dad who would be on assignment to photograph the train, and ultimately marrying into a family who have a home north of town. Pairing D’Amato to play the show with local singer-songwriter Thom Chacon was icing on the cake for the invite: The “Songwriters Showcase” featuring D’Amato and Chacon will take place on Tuesday at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

“The genesis of the show was Charles Leslie of the Concert Hall reaching out and asking if I was coming back to Durango anytime soon; I spent almost a year there during COVID times. Charles invited me back and then we were talking about options about what we could do for a show, where we could play, and he brought up teaming with Thom again and doing it at the Concert Hall,” D’Amato said. “That was all the convincing I needed.”

This is not a show where one musician opens for the other. Both musicians will be on stage side by side, alternating tunes. And while they’ll likely operate with a set-list, there’s also a casual, influenced by each other vibe that can influence ignoring the set-list.

If you go

WHAT: A Songwriters Showcase with Anthony D’Amato and Thom Chacon.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

WHERE: Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.


MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.durangoconcerts.com.

“We take turns going back and forth, and for me that kind of show is a lot of fun because you know, I might come in with an idea of what songs I want to play, but once I hear what Thom plays it might spark and idea for me of something different,” D’Amato said. “Then I play something, then what I play reminds Thom of something else, then he plays something he wasn’t expecting. The show then takes a lot of twists and turns when you do it that way that it might not have if you were just by yourself.”

The night before the show (Monday), the musicians will host a songwriters workshop at the Smiley Building. The workshop will also have a casual vibe, as there isn’t a right or wrong way to write songs, there’s just the way of the songwriter. Think of it as a songwriting classroom that doesn’t assign, but influences.

“It’s not about telling anybody how to write a song or the right way to do this or the wrong way to do that. It’s more about having somebody, like an outside set of eyes that can look at what they’re working on with you and say, ‘have you considered this, have you considered that?’ And those are tools that you can take away with you from a session like that and use forever when you’re writing songs,” D’Amato said. “It’s about giving you ways of thinking about what you’re doing rather than telling you how to do it.”

“I think what the goal would be overall for the songwriting class, is just process,” he added. “What is Anthony’s process? What is Thom’s process? That doesn’t mean it’s the right process, but that’s what we’re going to present. That’s the only thing I know how to present, so it’s ‘hey, here’s how I do it.’ Maybe you’ll glean some tiny bit of information that will help you finish that song you’re working on.”

At Tuesday’s show, the entire lot of attendees, musicians included, will be on the stage. It’s a way to give the show a coffee shop, folk-music kind of vibe, a show where there is no barrier between performers and the public.

“It’s a cool, intimate chance to sit on the stage, but also to just get a really personal, close-up performance” D’Amato said.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.