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If people were judged by how many friends they have on Myspace, Shaun Cromwell, from Detroit, MI., is not a very popular guy.Rather than simply memorizing his music, Cromwell plays in an improvised fashion. His songs are never exactly the same.

“My arrangements are pretty open,” said Cromwell, about his music. “I try to keep it fresh.”

Cromwell played at Borders on Lake Avenue last Saturday night to an empty crowd drinking “Seattle’s Best Coffee.” It is not clear who is to blame. Besides Borders not being prepared for the event, Cromwell doesn’t seem to have a huge following.

At 8 p.m. there was no music. Half the bookstore staff had no clue an event was taking place. Their extension cord was lost, delaying the performance by 15 minutes and the equipment was nowhere to be seen.

Finally, he started to play. He had his guitar case open next to him, tossing a quarter in there was tempting.

“That was called Three Deaths, something for the children here,” said Cromwell, joking about his audience after performing his first song.

The only people in the audience were his family, who seemed extremely supportive, and their children, a reporter, a photographer and a few innocent bystanders who had no idea what was going on. The children were dancing.

Despite the lack of an audience, Cromwell played a series of songs that appear in his album. It’s mostly instrumental with some deep lyrics and a rather folk-ish sound. The music is interesting, great to have playing in the background at a coffee shop while chit-chatting with some friends or working on an English 1B paper.

Overall, he gets one-thumb up, fine holiday fun for the whole family.

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