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EGPhest 7 Performers
The cast of the 2023 edition of the Phest
EGPhest is the (mostly) annual birthday show where I invite songwriters and performers from around the Bay Area to help me celebrate my birthday by having the serenade me with my own compositions. They are invited to give their performances their own special spin and make the songs their own. Amazingly, this is the seventh time I have managed to put this sort of event together — every one has a splendid time and there is cake and there are rubber duckies.
This edition is scheduled for Sunday August 6th at Bazaar Cafe in San Francisco.
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Below is the roster of performers.
Chained to the Sun
Mitch Rocket is a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from San Francisco, CA by way of Boston and the Ecuadorian Amazon. What started as a solo bedroom project has grown into full-fledged, rip-roaring 5-piece rock band with the addition of a crack team of veteran Bay Area musicians. Since June 2021, the Mitch Rocket band has been electrifying audiences around the Bay Area with a setlist that ranges from folk rock to hard rock to jazz fusion.
Checkout Mitch's latest on bandcamp:
This will be Mitch's first Phest.
Ken Newman is a San Francisco-based Singer, Rock guitarist and Songwriter. He performs solo and with his drummer, David Rabkin. His album, “What Am I Afraid Of?” produced by Scott Mickelson, was released in April of 2022 to critical praise (and included a cover of the E.G. Phillips song, The Fish Song, I might add). The music videos of three of the tracks have been awarded at over 40 International Film Festivals.
Ken also executive produced and was a contributing artist on a compilation album, “Blanket the Homeless.” Also produced by Scott Mickelson, this double LP, features 15 artists, (including 3-time Grammy Award winner, Fantastic Negrito, The Stone Foxes, and Goodnight Texas), all of whom donated their time and talent to help support Ken’s outreach organization, “Blanket The Homeless.” All sales of this album, as well as a percentage of his recent album, benefit BTH as well.
Check out Ken's music at:
This will be Phest number 6 for Ken.
Sean Cody (aka Shawn Byron)
That May Not Be Good Enough
Sean Cody, aka Shawn Byron, is a Phest mainstay and a newly minted father.
Having spent most of his life in Virginia and Southern California, Byron presently resides in the San Francisco Bay. Working as a full fledged patent attorney, Byron moonlights as a folk balladeer. It is hard to miss his biggest influences—the singer-songwriters of yore: Paul Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, and Van Morrison. Dig deeper, and you will no doubt hear the likes of Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke as well.
Shawn released his first album "Doing Business As Shawn Byron" in 2020 and it features a cover of "Lighthouse at the End of the World" — a song he performed at the very first EGPhest.
I look forward to seeing him tomorrow at the very big show, which is memory serves is Phest 5 for Sean who holds the record for most E.G. Phillips song covers.
The Flesh of Birds
Oscar Plziga aka the lonely dingo (or is it the social dingo now?), in addition to playing such jazzy Bazaar Cafe favorites such as Potato Vodka, Beep Beep, and Loosey Goosey is also both a talented culinary artist and a versatile visual artist working in a variety of mediums, notably guitar cases as well as clay and dinosaurs. He provided the artwork for last year's Phest.
Oscar was there for the very 1st EGPhest and I'm glad to have him return for the latest edition.
The Richmond Line
Alabama native Zeke Ketchum of course is the host of Bazaar Cafe's open mic, or as he puts it, he is the "price of admission." His love of performance his rooted in old folk classics (he frequently breaks into a rendition of Dave Von Ronk's "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me", citing it as a seminal influence) and he's fond of improvising, ready to accompany other open mic performers at a moment's notice. Zeke is a member of numerous San Francisco based outfits, including Harlow's Monkeys and the Lonely Dingos.
The Octopus Song
Elliot Racine uses instruments and concepts from traditional music styles from all around the world to create music that is danceable, thought-provoking, joyous, melancholy, meditative, and humorous. The bass is his primary instrument, and Elliot Racine’s music is built from the bottom-up. But as Rachel Milani of tourworthy.com puts it, “He’s primarily a bassist but that doesn’t even begin to describe the diversity this musician incorporates into his music.”
Elliot Racine to early inspiration from fusion jazz artists such as Herbie Hancock and Weather Report before shifting his taste towards rock ‘n roll and then expanding his passion for music by collecting recordings of traditional music and instruments from around the world. After finishing at Berklee College of Music, Racine, re-located to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to perform regularly, either under his own name or various band monikers such as All One Thing, All One Thing-Plant, and Band of Musicians. He began working on his album Curiosity in 2012, and finished and released it in 2016. Currently, he is in the process of creating material that will be released on his next album.
Learn more about Elliot and his music at:
Elliot is making his first appearance at the Phest.
George Cothran leans heavily into country and folk music for his inspiration. A regular participant at open mic night at Bazaar Cafe, he also plays regularly at the Chit Chat Cafe and Rosalind Bakery in Pacifica. More than anything, he loves telling stories in song - so much so he thinks the characters in his songs are real. Don’t attempt to dissuade him. It would be very disruptive to his emotional well being.
This is an encore performance for George after his debut last year at EGPhest 6.
Nina Jo Smith
Ode to the Wildhorse Cafe
Nina Jo Smith likes to eavesdrop. She borrows stories from small town cemeteries and kitchen confessions. She imagines what her underground neighbors might be saying.
Nina Jo is wrapping up a new album — subscribe to her newsletter to catch it when it comes out:
This will be Nina's (rhyme's with China) second appearance at the Phest, having turned in a previous performance as part of EGPhest II. She'll be playing a song she inspired.
A Bridge Too Far (MacArthur Station)
Grace Renaud has graced my upcoming EP with her vocals. Grace is a vocal coach and minister of music. She is currently the music director at St. Paulus Lutheran Church as well as pianist and cantor at Grace Cathedral. She has also served as the interim music director of the Queer Chorus of San Francisco and directed Soul Shine, a jazz combo accompanied by a choir of 25+ volunteers and professionals.
Grace’s vocals will grace my release of “A Bridge Too Far (MacArthur Station)” which is out Wednesday August 9th.
This will be Phest number 1 for Grace.
The Mockingbird’s Repertoire
Kevin Seal is Midwestern transplant (like myself) who enjoys long walks on the beach, sesame seeds, and the sound of glass shattering. Kevin has played keys on my album "Alien from an Alternate Earth" and my upcoming EP "Outlaw the Dead" — he's also lent his vocal arranging talents to tracks such as "Chained to the Sun" from "Mental Maps." In addition to being the lead vocalist of his new project Seal Party (which he co-founded with AfaAE and OtD producer and fellow Griddle alum Chris McGrew), Kevin plays organ for the San Jose sharks.
Check out Seal Party's upcoming shows:
This will be Kevin's first EGPhest.
The L.A. Song
Theo McKinney, or SNAZZ, was the driving force behind Local Vocals, which afforded me many evenings of playing at the Hotel Carlton during their wine service.
This will be Theo's first appearance at the Phest.
Kitten on the Keys
Til I Wash You Away
Kitten On The Keys (aka Suzanne Ramsey) is a Bay Area native known for her unique interpretations of 1920's Tin Pan Alley, Burlesque Blues, Classic Rock ala Bowie and Queen, Broadway Standards, naughty cabaret originals and much more.
Find out more about Suzanne at:
This an encore appearance at the Phest as Suzanne first joined us last year for the 6th edition.
The Time Space Vortex
Making his rounds throughout the San Francisco open mics, Percy Moon is a singer-songwriter who writes with a passion for rhythmic sound. As a recent newcomer to the Bazaar Café, he has performed at Hotel Utah, The Riptide, Winter’s Tavern, Neck of the Woods, and The Center. Percy employs rhythmic guitar playing and improvisation to compliment his cavalier, unorthodox songs.
Moon’s shining hope is to polish darkened memories through his music that’d otherwise be taken to the grave. He writes with capacity to tell new stories that define his waking moments.
He loves persimmons.
A last minute addition to the roster, this is Percy Moon’s first Phest.
This Year’s Visual Artist: Sarah Befish
The artwork for this year’s poster (and cake!) was created by Sarah Befish, a 23 year old girly who's a full-time Commission Artist, Live2D Rigger, and ENVTuber. She draws cute girls in thigh highs, makes VTuber Models, vends at conventions, and claims that that's about the extent of her personality. I saw her artwork on some of Phest alum Ben Visini’s recent releases and decided to reach out to her — her commissions are almost always open.