Jackrabbit Lounge on Wednesdays: New Live Music Night, New Vibe

Southwest Arts and Music and Jackrabbit Lounge are up to a new collaboration: an original live music showcase -- the only of its kind -- held every Wednesday night in the Valley of the Sun.

I know, I know, Jackrabbit Lounge, right? Well, after being completely refurbished, the managers are trying something a bit different to attract a new crowd.

Every Wednesday starting at 9 pm, a showcase called "Soliloquies" takes the stage. Hosted by talented writer/performer Jeordie (daughter of folksinger Melonie), the evening features a couple of local musicians open-mic style topped off by a special guest (tonight, the Jason Gerardo Band takes the stage).

I've shown up a couple of times, and my girlfriends and I now regard the Wednesday night showcase as a weekly highlight. One week, we enjoyed reggae duo jamming bongos and a ukelele. And the next musician who hopped up on the stage for an acoustic set? Scotty Johnson from the Gin Blossoms. And he was followed up by Nick Scropos from Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers.

Oh, yeah, and did I mention there's no cover?

"I think that this showcase is really the only live music night like it in the Valley, at least on Wednesdays," says Perry Bennett, the general manager of Jackrabbit. "We really are just trying to present this rounded picture of the local music scene."

It's only been going on for a couple months, but it's starting to stand out for a reason.

"[Southwest Arts & Music] created the Soliloquies idea simply as a way to highlight the best of local songwriting," explains Bob Henschen, SAM's founder. "It turns out that many of the better bands are led, of course, by cool songwriters, so those folks are sometimes fun to hear in a stripped down solo spotlight. We've got some great writers coming up in June, and we're always looking for more. Phoenix is still so spread out and unfocused. This is just a concept for concentrating a lot of great talent in one place at least once a week."

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