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VOL. 39 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 6, 2015

Crow takes songwriter showcase to Arkansas

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For a couple more months, the I Swear Crossword and this column will have something in common. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, the connection between the two will be lost.

The good news is that both will still be around, thanks to the dozens, maybe one dozen, of you who expressed your sentiments on that topic. I’m much appreciative for the votes of confidence.

As a matter of full disclosure, since August I’ve had a law-related crossword running in The American Lawyer, a magazine published in New York City. Hoping for that one to carry on for a few years.

Today’s puzzle, “Musical Mob,” can only be explained if I introduce you to a man and invite you to a recurring event in Little Rock at a place called Kahlil’s Pub and Grill.

At said place, from 7-10 p.m. on the first Monday night of each month, Charlie Crow hosts the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International Singer-Songwriter Showcase.

In simpler lingo, while you eat and drink the food and beverages of your choice, you may observe Arkansans sing and play songs that they have written themselves.

The format of the event is similar to that employed by the Bluebird in Nashville. Four at a time, for an hour at a time, musicians take the stage and, on a rotating basis, play their original music. Three original songs per participant per evening.

Let me tell you a little bit about Charlie Crow, and then I’ll tell the origin of the crossword.

After a career in government, industry, investment banking and nonprofit management, Charlie retired and returned to his home in Little Rock from Nashville, where he had been active in songwriting circles for many years.

He heads up the local NSAI chapter, conducting a writers’ workshop once a month on Saturday afternoons and pulling off the showcase event.

He has recently released a CD of original songs, “Angela’s Asleep.” Subtitled “Songs of Life and Living.” Check it out at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/CharlieCrow.

And check out the songwriters association at www.nsaicentralar.com.

Above and beyond all of that, he’s a stand-up, stalwart, salt-of-the-earth individual and all-round nice guy. I’ve known him a long time, and my wife knew him in the business world before I met him.

OK, so at the showcase event in early October, one of the performers, Vicki Lee, challenged me to make a crossword puzzle that contained the names of all the folk performing on stage that evening. That information should be enough to explain the unusual format of the puzzle’s theme clues, as well as the inordinately large number of them in this week’s puzzle.

While I myself have played at the function that I am mentioning herein, I am not a big attraction. There are some highly talented people with some excellent quality of music.

Plus, the food is good, the company civil and Charlie has arranged for Steve Gimbert, a super-duper sound guy, to manage the mikes, amps, wires, plug-ins and speakers that he employs and deploys to, as Charlie always says, “make up sound better than we really are.”

Now, take a crack at that puzzle.

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.

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