Top Five Must-See Shows This Week

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Monday, July 16: Simon Joyner @ Trunk Space

If Simon Joyner weren't already living the life of a world-weary singer/songwriter, he could probably find success as a fiction writer. Armed with a dozen releases and a dedicated cult following, Joyner's songs flow like well-developed novellas, yet each is but a few minutes long. There's a focused clarity found in each ballad, more than enough to evoke powerful feelings and relationships with each character and his struggles.

"I want to depict a real situation even if it's a difficult one -- characters who are acting like real people do or are suffering like real people do," Joyner explains from his home in Omaha, Nebraska. "For me, the process of writing in a realistic way is about interpersonal conflicts. It's not just woe-is-me kind of stuff. These are usually pretty serious struggling characters who are conflicted, but I don't really have an interest in any kind of wallowing. The fact that the characters are struggling at all shows there's also hopefulness there."

Joyner's characters come from real-life situations, but not necessarily his own. He admits to frequently being affected by events close enough to him to be personal, like a divorce or suicide, that compel him to put his deeper feelings to song. Still, he says, he tries to take a fictional approach and stay out of the picture.

"[My songs are] generally informed by living," he says. "But there have been times in my life where certain events have taken over my imagination because of the gravity of the situation and dealing with it. It occupied my artistic base. as well. Even in those instances where I'm writing about a failed marriage or the death of someone close to me -- actual events in my life that lead to songs -- the song is worked into something more imaginative and fictional." -- Glenn BurnSilver (Read more about Simon Joyner.)

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