The Shore Art Gallery smelled of warm coffee and toasted marshmallows and soft melodies as students came in to support Project Merge’s second annual fundraiser and watch their friends perform.
“I played last year,” said Wes Robbins. “It was really awesome. They did an incredible job of running the event and making sure that everything went smoothly and got some really awesome people to come out.”
Student artists included Robbins, Claire Heath, Josh Levinson and a duet from Anthony Hill and Jamie Browning – all who agreed to volunteer for the cause.
“We got a text message two days ago saying someone had dropped out so they asked us if we could play,” said Hill, junior music major from Godley.
Hill and Browning, senior art major from San Antonio, lead the event with a few song-openers, including a cover of a popular song by rapper Drake and a cover of U.K. artist Ed Sheeran.
Hill indicated that the duo doesn’t usually play fundraisers but just get asked to play places though they don’t normally play together.
Preparation is key for these two, laughing as they talked about their pre-show routine.
“We argue for a good bit,” Browning said.
“Then we play, and then she naps, and then we come here,” Hill said, laughing alongside her.
Hill and Browning played a set of a few songs that were gorgeously reminiscent of early songs by The Civil Wars. Their set was stolen by the brilliant soft duet cover of Hold on, We’re Going Home by Drake.
Josh Levinson, Ad/PR from Colleyville, previously played JamFest and SpringFest with ACU, but this was his first performance at Notes and Joe.
“I’m not really a performer kind of guy,” Josh said. “I just like to write, and the people who started this know me and were like, ‘Hey, you want to play?’ so I said sure.”
Levinson played a few of his original songs, including his attempt at a “clichÃ© country song,” as well as songs by Green River Ordinance and Andrew Belle.
Claire Heath, sophomore Ad/PR major from Grapevine, played a set of songs including Ho Hey by The Lumineers, during which she was joined on the mic by Carli Scheevel, a sophomore interior design major from Seattle, who put together the event.
Robbins performed last year and has also played at the House of Blues in Dallas.
“I try to warm up my voice really, but it just ends up with making some weird sounds and pretending like I know what I’m doing,” Robbins said. “I don’t do a whole lot of vocal prep. I probably should because that’s really bad. Like running without stretching or something.”
Robbins played a jazz-out version of Adele’s That’s It, I Quit, I’m Moving, followed by a smooth acoustic play of Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight.
He quieted down the room with his version of Jesus, Jesus by Noah Gunderson, and brought it back with Guy Sebastian’s Bring Yourself.
Each performer did an excellent job of engaging the audience in their own way and putting together a seamless show in both sound and talent.
The event was well-attended and coffee, cake pops and s’mores were consumed readily throughout the evening.