Many musicians working locally will tell you it's hard to be heard, to fill a house, garner a following and, after all of that, to get paid for their efforts.
In bona fide "e pluribus unum" fashion, Justin Trawick -- himself a local singer, guitarist, songwriter, band frontman and musical entrepreneur -- found a solution to this performance dilemma when he created the 9 Songwriter Series back in 2008. To date, more than 60 different artists have participated in this musical event staged in venues all over the District and beyond.
"The 9," as they are commonly called, can be seen onstage at the Hamilton for a Sunday evening show beginning at 7:30 p.m.
"The idea behind the show is for my friends and me to get into good venues and [draw] the amount of people that these good venues want," Trawick explained. "So I created a collective of musicians. The idea is, with nine of us on the bill, it's much easier to pack venues. With each [musician] drawing, say, 15 people, that's 135 in the audience."
|The 9 Songwriter Series|
|Where: The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW|
|When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday|
|Info: $12; 202-787-1000; thehamiltondc.com|
Trawick is quick to point out that "The 9" is not a showcase. That term, he feels, bears a negative connotation. "This is a professional show you would see anywhere else and pay 10, 20 or 30 dollars for a ticket, but instead of seeing one of us, you see nine of us." Trawick said.
And so, what will the paying audience see exactly? "Everybody works independently onstage; but when I go on, or someone else goes on, we sometimes collaborate with one another," Trawick explained. For example, someone else booked that night, while technically a solo act might request backup from another artist, perhaps singing or playing a different instrument. Trawick calls it a family affair with, at times, nine completely differently genres of music put out there for the listeners.
While he can't say exactly what music will be played at any given show, Trawick does select from a stable of professional musicians who the lineup will be on a particular evening. He maintains, however, that "The 9" is always a great way to experience different musicians, genres, thought processes and storytelling all in the same show and starring, he says, "a really unique group."