Typically, folk music and acoustic guitars are associated with peace, love and togetherness. This weekend, however, Muse Music Cafe turns those ideas on end during "Songwriter Showdown," an event in the battle-of-the-bands style.
The competition will take place tonight, Friday and Saturday and will highlight some of the area's most talented up-and-coming songwriters. Winners of the audience- and judges-choice awards will be crowned on Saturday. With nearly 20 acts over three nights, however, the event's biggest winners will be attendees who have the chance to discover new music.
"There aren't as many 'big names' on the lineup this time," said Jake Haws, Muse Music Cafe owner. "But there are a handful of newer songwriters I'm really excited about. I purposely sought out people who I thought were great, quality musicians who hadn't necessarily been recognized yet."
Though the Showdown is technically a competition, it's also designed to bolster the music scene by helping musicians network and make new connections. Scott Bowden, a solo performer who also played last year, said he is looking forward to hearing some new bands and seeing how others have progressed.
"I'm not too concerned about winning or anything because there's a lot of good musicians in Provo," Bowden said, "but I just want to have fun."
Like other musicians, Bowden said he plans to make that happen by bringing something fresh to what might otherwise be three consecutive nights of similar music. He also plans to turn up the volume.
"I usually play acoustic guitar and harmonica, but I'm kind of transitioning to electric guitar," Bowden said. "I'm going to try to keep it really simple, but raw and dirty sounding too."
With the variety that performers like Bowden bring, the "Songwriter Showdown" promises to connect audience members with musicians they might not have found otherwise. For performers like Colin Rivera, who will play with his band The Lovecapades on Friday, that hopefully means making an emotional connection.
"It's not about selling records, it's about the experience," Rivera said. "Every song we write has a story behind it. What we hope people get out of it is the emotion and experience we had when we wrote it."