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Brooklyn Songwriters Exchange tunes up for return

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Lovers of the Brooklyn Songwriters Exchange rejoice. The monthly music series, which has been on hiatus for the past nine months, returns with local acts and a new home on August 25.

Park Slope's Union Hall will play host to the series, which kicks off the new season with co-hosts Rebecca Pronsky and Maia Macdonald, as well as BSX favorite Jen Chapin, performing.

Pronsky, a Park Slope native, formed the series three years ago as a way to encourage community and support among songwriters in Brooklyn and around New York City.

“As I began to tour around the US I found that many smaller cities had more supportive and more closely-knit songwriting communities. I wanted to bring that home,” says Pronsky. “Brooklyn, to me, has always felt more comfortable and slower-paced than the big city, so it seemed the perfect place to start a songwriting series, where an audience that sits quietly and listens are of chief importance.”

The series ran monthly at Vox Pop in Ditmas Park (1022 Cortelyou Road) until moving to the Brooklyn Lyceum in Gowanus (227 Fourth Avenue) at the end of 2006, where it was weekly until halting last November. Now, after some time off, Pronsky returns with her series at the new home in Park Slope.

“Union Hall really embodies the best qualities of Park Slope. It's a very comfortable, appealing environment,” says Pronsky. “Aside from that, Union Hall is simply a terrific venue for live music. I've always enjoyed playing there and am really looking forward to bringing the series to the space!”

Pronsky approached the venue to be the series' now home. With both big supporters of local artists, and providing an outlet for the local audience, the two are a natural fit.

“I'm definitely thrilled with the idea of our neighbors curating a really wonderful evening of songwriters,” says Jack McFadden, who books the venue. “Union Hall is a listening room. People are there, not to be seen, but to really appreciate who they came to see, or better yet, take a chance and see something new and interesting.”

Those not already familiar with Pronsky, who began singing professionally when she was eight years old, can be introduced to the singer-songwriter's style, which has drawn comparisons to Joni Mitchell, this August 25. Her latest album is “Departures and Arrivals,” out last year on Nine Mile Records and featuring her smooth, mature yet vulnerable voice, indie-twang style and accessible songwriting.

New to the BSX is Maia Macdonald, a songwriter, instrumentalist and DJ for indie station Break Thru Radio joining Pronsky in hosting and curating the shows at Union Hall.

“She's an excellent musician and is very involved in the songwriting scene, so she is bringing in some great people to play this fall,” says Pronsky, who met Macdonald at a music camp when they were teenagers and who also ended up living and playing music in Brooklyn.

Last but not least, Jen Chapin joins the bill for the kick-off event, bringing her charming, jazzy tunes. A BSX performer twice-over, as well as a guest curator for one month, Chapin was a natural choice for Pronsky to help get things started.

“[Rebecca] really makes it a nice listening environment,” says Chapin, a Prospect Heights resident coming off the release of her third release, the CD/DVD “Light of Mine.” Primarily covers, a departure for the songwriter, Chapin will perform songs both new and old, backed up by an acoustic bass and electric guitar at Union Hall, where she'll step foot on the stage for the first time. “That was part of the appeal,” she says, “wanting to check that out.”

With the talent pool of songwriters strong in Brooklyn, BSX has much local talent to pull from, as well as hear, locally.

“So much of the creative force behind the city has moved to Brooklyn over the past decade that I rarely go see music in Manhattan anymore, nor do I know all that many artists that call it home,” says Pronsky. “I hardly leave Brooklyn these days, which is fine by me!”

The Brooklyn Songwriters Exchange is August 25 at Union Hall (702 Union Street). For more information, go to www.rebeccapronsky.com/songwriters-exchange.html, www.unionhallny.com, or call 718-638-4400. Tickets are $8.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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