Annie Benjamin

Annie Benjamin is probably my oldest musician friend.* I met Annie years ago, when she had just moved back to Dallas from New York, and when I had just begun having the courage to play songs in front of anyone.

We both became regulars at a couple of open mics around town. One was at the old Poor David’s Pub on Greenville, where Bill Seely was the host. The other was down in Deep Ellum at the Commerce Street Ice House, and was hosted by Bob Ackerman.

Lots of folks drifted in and out of those open mics, but Annie and me were regulars. Later on, she and some of her friends from the band Chattervox started a songwriter group down on Greenville Avenue. We’d meet at a Starbucks there, once a month, to exchange songs we were working on, share writing ideas, and get critique.

That’s where I first met Lisa Markely and Beth Cahill, Annie’s Chattervox mates. It’s also where I first met Bill Nash and Cary Cooper. It was quite a group. I think some folks still find it hard to believe we were all a part of it. And I still miss it quite a bit.

Annie’s a good friend, and a great person. She’s not just a great musician, but also an involved community activist. She sang on my first CD, lending her voice to “The Sun is Gonna Show,” and “The Peace.” And her last CD came out that same year. She’s been to a lot of my gigs through the years, and vice versa. She and some of those aforementioned songwriter friends came to my CD release and sang with me that night.

I mention all this because Annie’s new CD is now done. The CD Release Party for “Some Kind of Wonder” is this coming Sunday, April 1st. And if you are free, you should go.

Here are the details:

CD Release Party for “Some Kind of Wonder”
Sunday, April 1
5:00 pm until 8:00pm
no cover charge, bring donations
Bath House Cultural Center
521 E. Lawther Drive
Dallas, TX

You can get more info on Annie and her music at her website.

While there, you can listen to soundclips from the new CD, and find out more about this great performer.

I don’t see Annie nearly as much as I should these past few years. I bumped into her at the big peace rally, just before the war, and she asked me to sing with her on one of her songs. But, good lord, that’s four years ago now! So, I see her now and then, but not nearly enough.

I understand that she’s resurrected the songwriter group here and there, and that’s a good thing. She works hard to book regular solo gigs, and gigs with her current band, “Rocketgirl.” She also sometime performs classical flute, and can sometimes be head at the DMA.

Annie has always been a great encourager of other artists, and I have always been proud to call her friend. She works hard at what she does, forges her own path, and always challenging herself to grow musically and artistically.

What I’ve heard of the new CD is fantastic. You won’t to miss it.

* meaning that I’ve known her the longest, not that either of us are “old.” Right?


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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