By Seamus Gallivan
Dee Adams, the first to hip us to the sixth annual ScrabbleFest benefiting Literacy Volunteers of Buffalo & Erie County, is our second spotlighted songwriter of the six appearing at Wednesday’s Sportsmens Tavern kickoff of Wordsmiths at Work: Scrabble and Song, a two-night event featuring a flurry of music and preliminary rounds of ScrabbleFest.
Dee Adams has every characteristic of a great songwriter – a unique way with words; a powerful voice to deliver them; the drive to take on new styles and subjects; and a love of the craft that leads her to learn from and guide others.
Born in England and raised in Brockport, New York, Adams hopped around a bit before settling in Buffalo in 2004 and immediately hitting the open mic circuit. Making an instant impression with a gorgeous and sincere voice that cuts through the smoke and to the truth, she backed it up with honest songs equally adept at telling stories of her own and observing the world around her. In showing appreciation and encouragement of other performers, she soon became an open mic host, first at the Tudor Lounge and now at the Sportsmens Tavern, where she recently celebrated five years as host of their Monday open mic.
Adams will hit leadoff at Wednesday’s Sportsmens song swap as well as join Leroy Townes and the Lonestars at Pearl Street Brewery on Thursday for her second formal appearance with the band, a bond that began when Townes first performed at the Sportsmens open mic. It’s worth noting that Ten Cent Howl, the other band playing Thursday at Pearl Street, came highly recommended from Adams and Townes after they, too, made a great Monday night impression.
Further, it must be clearly and gratefully stated that Adams is the inspiration for The Good Neighborhood’s involvement in the sixth annual ScrabbleFest benefiting Literacy Volunteers. It was her tip that got us in the game, and it’s not the first time she’s gone to bat for the cause. “My support of adult literacy advocacy goes back a few years,” she stated.
“In 2003, I worked with Artists for Literacy, a non-profit group based in California that worked to bring adult literacy programs to as many locations as they could. My song ‘Pennsylvania’ (produced by Alan Whitney), which was inspired by Orson Scott Card’s book ‘Songmaster’, was turned into an adult literacy/English as a second language lesson tool by the good folks at Artists For Literacy. They’ve also compiled a huge list of songs inspired by literature by famous artists.
“All across America, there are adults who struggle with functional illiteracy every day. I’m proud to be part of something that is working to change that both nationally and right here in Buffalo. Literacy Volunteers of Buffalo works hard to do what they can this city and Erie County, and I’m looking forward to doing my part for Literacy Volunteers this Wednesday and Thursday at the Wordsmiths at Work shows at Sportsmens Tavern and at Pearl Street Brewery for ScrabbleFest 2011. I’ll be the one talking a big talk but likely grimacing because my opponent will have figured out a way to use two Xs on a triple word score square.”
Take note, Good Neighbors – grimace is a great Scrabble word.