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International Songwriter’s Collective brings out diversity in acoustic guitars

The International Songwriter’s Collective, made up of Lily Kiara (top) from Amsterdam, Floatstone (right) from Belgium and Jimmy Robinson (bottom) from New Orleans, play at the Brick, 1727 McGee St., Friday at 9 p.m.
The International Songwriter’s Collective, made up of Lily Kiara (top) from Amsterdam, Floatstone (right) from Belgium and Jimmy Robinson (bottom) from New Orleans, play at the Brick, 1727 McGee St., Friday at 9 p.m.

The Brick has hosted acoustic music for nearly 15 years, since the Rural Grit All Stars took over Monday nights.

Friday night it will host an acoustic show of a different source, when the International Songwriter’s Collective performs.

The collective comprises three guitarists who are songwriters and composers: Jimmy Robinson from New Orleans; Floatstone (born Brick de Bois) from Antwerp, Belgium; and Lily Kiara from Amsterdam.

“I’ve been going to Europe for years, and Brick and I met at a gig in Amsterdam and we became friends,” Robinson said. “I started going over there to tour with him and got him over to the States to tour. Then we met Lily, who’s a really wonderful songwriter, and did some gigs with her and got the idea to do this tour.”

Robinson, 61, said his early influences were bands like the Beatles and the Stones and guitarists like Jimi Hendrix. Then he took interest in more complicated styles.

“I moved on to more progressive music, like King Crimson,” he said. “I studied classical guitar in college (Loyola University in New Orleans) and then started getting inspired by guys like Michael Hedges, the more complicated acoustic soloists. Most of what I do tends to be a little more complex, two-handed stuff with tapping. It’s based on my original rock and jazz stuff, then with the classical training. It’s a hybrid of styles, with some New Orleans in it.”

He has toured with musicians from several genres: Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin; Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Adrian Belew, John Fahey.

This tour will showcase three styles that are different but also overlap some.

“Brick does a lot of acoustic instrumentals, a lot of hand-tapping, but he does some songwriting, too. His songs are all in English. Lily does some really beautiful and lyrical songs. She sings in English and Dutch.”

Kiara’s songs draw comparison to Suzanne Vega and Joni Mitchell for those poetic lyrics and pretty melodies.

Floatstone bridges the singer-songwriter world with the progressive-instrumental. From his bio: “He brings several guitars, all in a different tuning along with a portfolio of funky, ballady, rootsy, original songs. Fingernails hit strings or wood alike, giving an often percussive sound and beat. Capos come, slide and go. Strings buzz, twang or break. Lyrics flow from the gut, wrenchingly real.”

The three will trade off songs, showcasing their differences, and playing together occasionally.

“Our styles are different enough, which really comes out when we play them in the round,” Robinson said. “And sometime we chime in on each other’s songs, when it’s appropriate. People really seem to like the concept.”

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com. Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.

FRIDAY

The International Songwriter’s Collective comes to the Brick, 1727 McGee St., on Friday night. It will include the songs and music of guitarists/composers Jimmy Robinson, Lily Kiara and Floatstone. Show time is 9 p.m.

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