Musician and host of Songwriter Deathmatch. @davekeeners, youtube.com/dkeener

From last night. Top photo by Karen Dahlstrom. Bottom photo by Treva Webeck. Pictured: Ray Brown with Mark Humble and Dave Foster on oohs and aahs.

Songwriter Deathmatch will celebrate its second year Saturday, April 12th at Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn. The anniversary show will feature returning songwriters Rob Paravonian, Robin Aigner, Ray Brown, Dave Foster, Karen Dahlstrom, Mark Humble, and your old pal, Dave Keener.

Over the two years and 15 shows, Songwriter Deathmatch has welcomed an eclectic mix of dozens of performers, including John S. Hall  (King Missile), Julie Kathryn, Robin Aigner, and Serena Jost. Many of the best performances can be found on the Songwriter Deathmatch YouTube playlist.


 Dave Keener is “a terrific songwriter with a gift for catchy songs, humor, and subtle emotion.” (Mike Sauter, Music Director, WYEP/Pittsburgh)


Robin Aigner “croons witty, vintage-sounding tunes with dashes of klezmer and swing.” (Timeout New York)


Ray Brown is a “solid songwriter” (The New Yorker) whose songs are “funny and tragic at the same time” (Boog City).


Karen Dahlstrom sings “wonderfully dark Americana songs of love, loss and regret” (Americana UK). This year, she was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk Competition.


Dave Foster led his own critically lauded band Bubble (now in their 20th year) and has been a frequent performer in The Losers Lounge tribute series.


Mark Humble’s music is visceral and soulful. His performances range

from delicately plaintive to nearly frantic, sometimes in the same song.


Rob Paravonian has been described as “some deranged bastard child of Tom Lehrer and Joan Baez” and has opened George Carlin and Lily Tomlin.



Let’s just say I’m a pretty good dog trainer b

Hey fans of intimate, non-violent evenings of song, mark those calendars. We’ll be celebrating our second birthday at Freddy’s Bar Saturday, April 12th, starting at 7PM.

You know what the song “Big Shot” by Billy Joel needs? A little more Ralph Kramden.

Singing with Mark Humble at the last Songwriter Deathmatch. “All I Have to Do Is Dream” was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant for the Everly Brothers. Mark is a great harmony singer. My problem is sometimes I start singing the other guy’s part.

An intimate, non-violent evening of song with four songwriters in short sets. Please note the new location of this show: Two Moon Art House and Café, 314 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY. ($5 Cover).

“Not to be missed” - South Slope News
“A Win-Win Concept” - Paperblog
“A fantastic display of talented songwriting” - Madame Ostritch

Dave Keener, your affably roguish host, plays “instantly lovable guitar pop with infectious melodies and a cool overall vibe.” - LMNOP, Babysue.com). 

Mark Humble’s music is visceral and soulful. His performances range from delicately plaintive to nearly frantic, sometimes in the same song

Dave Foster led his own critically lauded band Bubble (now in their 20th year) and has been a frequent performer in The Losers Lounge tribute series.

Tony Asaro: Raised in Queens and now in Cape Cod, Asaro’s smart, passionate songs recall the Replacements and early REM.

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The above line comes from a review of “Slugger” by LMNOP aka dONW7 on BabySue.com (Follow the link for the full review.) She also says the album-opener “When” “would be a megahit in perfect world.” 

This just fell in my lap after I asked South Slope News to list Songwriter Deathmatch on their events calendar. Mighty neighborly of them.

Come on out. Going to be a great show. Jon is the brilliant engineer who worked on my record. Bruce is a great alt-country singer-songwriter who just happened to be a co-worker of mine, and Damian had a residency at the same bar where I co-ran an irish music session. And they’re all great singer-songwriters. 

(Remixes and originals appear below this post.)

I have always wanted to collaborate with Mitch Wells. I’m a folk-rocky singer-songwriter. He’s an electronic dance composer. When we first met, I was playing Irish music, and he was producing electronic Death Metal. I played him a toe-tapping reel on the banjo. Then, I put on headphones to listen to one of his tunes. All I could hear was my own fear. A year later, he was producing and writing for a Korean dance pop singer, K-Bot. It was sweet. It was danceable. It made me feel dirty.

I was intrigued.

When I started to plot out my most recent album, “Slugger,” I hoped Mitch could pump up a few songs with some current-sounding beats, maybe something from his trove of vintage drum machines, synths and un-nameable gizmos. We got together at his place in the East Village. Sitting on the couch under his painting of the three fathers of the analog synthesizer, we listened to my demos and picked a few songs to record. I put down vocals and guitar. He started creating drum, bass and keyboard tracks in Logic. But, there wasn’t much for me to do after that. I mostly stared at his back and listened. Sometimes I looked at his fish tank. There were few fish. Many had died during the electrical outage caused by the Hurricane Sandy.

As I listened to Mitch work, I realized he was effectively re-writing the songs.

Mitch and I went to the coffee shop around the corner and talked about it. We had it backwards. What he normally does is remix the song after it’s fully recorded. So, we stopped getting together on Sundays. I started working in the studio. But I encouraged him to remix any songs he wanted—however he wanted—afterward. That way, we could collaborate, while each of us did exactly what he wanted with no compromise. It was beautiful.

When I was done recording, I simply gave Mitch three song files, each with individual tracks he could remix as he saw fit. Those songs were “Mama Had a Bongo,” “When” and “Second-Rate Rainbow.” A couple of months later, we went out to dinner and I listened to the remixes below. These tracks are funky, complex and beautiful and I’m very happy with them.

Now, here’s what Mitch Wells has to say about them … .

Dyzo Blue is the latest incarnation of a New York City electronic music producer who has been producing tunes under various names for many years, but is mostly known as Mitch Wells.

Dave is an old friend, and I was psyched to be invited to remix his songs. The first thing I did when I got them, was pick a different electronic music genre to marry each one to.

Bongo made sense as a Moombahton banger, so I let it live at 108BPM. It has some hard corners that are fun, and a darker underbelly than the lyrics might suggest.

I decided to twist When into an experimental Trap type thing at 70BPM—but with more breakdowns and builds than 808s. I think my favorite bit is the piano parts.

Rainbow ended up truest to the original, although I try to take a hint from some trip-hop classics in it’s general form. I re-worked the guitar lick, added a brief ethereal melody, and also beefed up the drama between the verses and the choruses.

Overall, remixing these tunes was a blast. Thanks, Dave!

Dyzo Blue Remixes of When, Mama Had a Bongo and Second-Rate Rainbow

This is going to be a great show. Thanks to Patrick Bennett for the cool graphic.