Pop Songwriter Night, with Arthur Yoria, Tody Castillo and Lanky

Houston is a songwriter's city. The folks who came out of the late-'60s, early-'70s Old Quarter are well known to anyone who reads this publication with any regularity, and well they should be. Those songwriters are the foundation upon which many of the current generation of America's alt-country artists have built their careers, and some of the best of that current crop, like Hayes Carll and Mando Saenz, are from here as well.

However, the city and the scene have been less kind to songwriters with more of a pop sensibility. That's changed in the past year or two -- things have begun to shift for our more pop-oriented brethren, and this knockout triple bill gives you a chance to check out some of the leaders of Houston's pop renaissance.

Arthur Yoria is arguably the godfather of this movement. His was a voice in the wilderness in Houston's ultra-grungy late-'90s scene, and he has continued to follow his heart and ears. Yoria's material is a little darker than that of his compatriots, but his melodic sense is strong and mature, and his lyrics reflect the many years he has spent honing his craft.

Tody Castillo is on a roll. His self-titled debut CD has not left the top ten at Cactus since its release in March, and his frequent local gigs continue to win him new fans while delighting his old ones. The CD is remarkably diverse, but if you're looking for comparisons, you could put him in the changer with your Ron Sexsmith and Neil Finn CDs and have a pretty seamless listening experience.

Lanky is that rarest of all breeds, someone who moved to Houston because of the music scene. The New Jersey native's influences are probably the most traditional of the three (the Who and the Beatles come immediately to mind) but, as you might expect from a fella named Lanky, there's a quirky, original sensibility happening here.

These guys aren't the only ones bringing the pop noise in the Houston scene, but this great triple bill will give you a chance to see what's happening and enjoy a bargain at the same time. See ya there.

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Greg Ellis