Written by James Killen

Houston singer/songwriter, Jordi Baizan has been playing around town (and beyond) a lot of late. I saw that he had the early show at the Duck Thursday night and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him play. The rumor has been that he has a new disc coming out of production soon. He was to be sharing the stage with Coloradan, Jackson Emmer and fellow Houstonian, Alex Coba.

I’d seen Jackson play as one of the fifteen finalists in the 2018 Songwriter Serenade contest held in Moravia, Texas and I remember being impressed by his talent. At first, I thought that this would be my first time seeing Alex, but I later remembered taking notice of him at the 2018 SWRFA event where Alex performed in the First Timer’s In-Room Showcase.

Jordi took on the role of MC and host, a job that he is imminently qualified for as he is one of the most cordial, welcoming and pleasant people I know. He introduced Jackson to start off the first round of the evening’s song swap. Jackson brought along Lester Price for his tour. Lester is a jazz style acoustic guitar player, that some years ago had given guitar lessons to Emmer.

Emmer began the show with “Jukebox”, a nostalgic tune that featured the line, “Do you remember what you could get for a dime?” Alex Coba was next in line with a song about coming home off the road and calling his significant other by the wrong name. Jordi finished up the first round with his song, “Meyerland”, about growing up in that Southwest Houston community.

Jackson Emmer’s songs are written in an easy homey style and delivered in a warm voice that wraps the listener like a fuzzy blanket. He performed a number of songs about Texas, more than I would expect from a Coloradan. One of them, “My Love for You Texas”, showcased his writing skills by stringing together a number of Texas musicians’ names in a rhythmic, melodic way and his skills as a vocalist as he nimbly delivered those tricky lines.

Alex Coba moved to the Houston area from the Rio Grande Valley. He brought with him images of growing up in a farming family there which provides the basis for his songs. What brought back the memory of seeing Alex the first time was his rich upper octave voice that delivered the images of his songs so clearly. There were songs of his father, his uncle and a nameless WWII Navy boxer that had died as a hero in an industrial accident after the war.

Jordi Baizan filled his portion of the show with songs from his last album and his upcoming record, “Free and Fine” which is on the verge of release. Jordi’s songs take situations from everyday life and set them in perspective as he deals with issues like death, budding relationships, and making a house a home. Jordi is a great optimist, even in the face of adversity.

Throughout the show, Lester Price was adding flourishes and taking brief solo runs with his finger nimble guitar stylings. The evening was a great reminder of the talent that we have out there to enjoy on an almost nightly basis here in Houston. The environment at the Duck is comfortable and the food and drink delivered adeptly. There is absolutely no excuse for not getting out to enjoy and support these artists that add color and taste to our normally drab work-a-day lives.