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Sugar House Journal

Try Coffee and Open Mic Wednesday Nights

Nov 06, 2015 12h27 ● By Bryan Scott

 By Elizabeth Suggs

On the last Wednesday of each month, Sugar House Coffee invites potential singers and songwriters to perform for open mic night. 

Usually packed with potential performers, Lacey Jones, a Sugar House Coffee employee and open mic performer, has to turn people away. Unlike most months, however, September was, according to Jones, “oddly slow.”

Despite the slow night, however, the performers had high energy. Six performers played at open mic, with two accompanying others already performing. Jones was the second to perform. 

“I started open mic night about a year and a half ago,” Jones said, saying that she “really” wanted it to happen and eventually it did.

According to Jones, jazz is popular amongst Sugar House Coffee lovers. “It’s nice to find other styles,” she said. 

Jones, like Ashleigh Bassett, the performer before her, sang and played acoustic guitar.

Having returned from living in New York, Bassett described her situation as a performer “difficult” while living in New York. According to Bassett, she was a “dime a dozen.” 

“[In New York] it was really about connections,” Bassett said. “I like Salt Lake City, how it’s a big city but small town.”

Bassett works as a vet tech full time and performs part time. She plans to always have music in her life even if, according to Bassett, she has stage fright.

“It’s a beast I’ve been taming, and the guitar makes me more nervous,” she said.

 To combat stage fright, Bassett says she performs a cover song first, then originals. 

“That way if I [mess] up, it’s only a cover song,” Bassett said. 

Stage fright, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, is one of the biggest fears reported by American adults, topping flying, sickness, financial ruin and death. 

Stage fright isn’t a case for professional folk artist, Kate Macleod and husband Mark Hazel, who played the last set at open mic. 

Not a professional musician himself, Hazel describes his love for music as a hobby which sparked his interest at church gatherings, classical music concerts, and learning how to play the trombone. 

After learning the trombone, Hazel learned the guitar, piano and even taught himself to sing. 

Hazel worked at a radio station dealing mostly with 60s music, but every so often he covered the blues radio station. He even gave Sugar House Coffee customers the chance to listen to one blues song he played while at the radio station.

When Hazel moved to Utah, he met Macleod. Every so often, both Hazel and Macleod sing together, but it didn’t always start that way. When first together, Hazel and Macleod sang separately. 

Unlike Macleod, Hazel doesn’t plan to be a music professional.

“[My] songs are written compulsively,” he said. 

To end the night, Hazel wanted Macleod to sing, and after coercing her from work, she sang with him yet again.

“This is where I hang out when not traveling for work,” Macleod said. “My neighborhood coffee shop.”