Blues concert to raise money for Memphis trip

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

Add This
The Juke Hounds.

Every April, the Northeast Ohio Blues Association holds a regional blues challenge pitting the area’s best blues-based bands against each other in a friendly but serious competition. Following the challenge, NEOBA sends the winners in the solo/duo and group categories to the International Blues Challenge, held every January in Memphis.

But loading a van full of musicians and instruments and driving to Tennessee and finding a place to stay ain’t free, so to help pay for the winner’s trip, NEOBA is holding a fundraising concert, excuse me, a FUNdraising concert from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the North Canton Eagles, 6979 Sunset Strip Ave. NW, featuring this year’s winners — singer/guitarist Colin John and local blues-rockers the Juke Hounds.

Both winners have previously played their way to Memphis. John represented NEOBA at the 2013 IBC and the Juke Hounds represented the Cleveland Blues Society at the 2011 IBC.

Both acts also have 2013 releases. John, who is Northeast Ohio-bred but Hawaii-based, has a double disc called Two Sides of the Colin, featuring his solo acoustic, full electric band and some Hawaiian guitar music. The Juke Hounds (Mark Smallwood, Bob Gardner, Jimmy Kormanik, Gerard Dominick and Doug Barber) released their debut, Low Man on the Totem Pole, in the spring. Both acts will perform full sets.

NEOBA formed in 2006 and became an official affiliate of the Blues Foundation in 2010. The foundation sponsors the IBC, among other events. Since then, NEOBA has sent four acts to Memphis, with three of the acts — the Brighter Side Band, Memphis Cradle and Colin John — making it to the semifinal round, a point of pride for NEOBA President Andy Pressler.

“We absolutely do [take pride]. Last year, there was a very slim number [10 Blues Foundation affiliates] that had their band and their solo/duo get into the semifinals.

“It was an honor, for sure. It kind of lends itself to the talent that is in the Akron-Canton area,” Pressler said.

In addition to the music, the Zydeco Bistro food truck will have food available from 4 to 6 p.m. All of the proceeds from the $10 ticket will go to help subsidize John and the Juke Hounds’ trip to Memphis.

Music on the Porches

Folks in Northeast Ohio really enjoy having live music on their porches. Today, several Peninsula businesses are opening their front doors and welcoming music fans to the fifth annual Peninsula’s Music on the Porches event.

From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., there will be more than 20 acts performing throughout the village. Among the acts and venues are recorder player Dalia Kutnick performing classical and Israeli songs at Yellow Creek Trading Co. at 11 a.m., guitarist Greg Workman laying down the funk at the Log Cabin Gallery at 1 p.m. and at the BlueEyeDog at 3 p.m.

In addition to the free music, there will be two ticketed events: at 7 p.m. there will be a Contra Dance with music provided by the Behind the Curtain String Band and at 6 p.m. there will be a concert featuring acoustic folk duo Boy=Girl and eclectic Americana group Hey Mavis at G.A.R. Hall. Tickets are $7 and $15, respectively.

There will also be music workshops at G.A.R. Hall throughout the day, including lessons on singing harmony, a songwriter’s workshop and mandolin and banjo.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at, or follow him on Twitter @malcolmxabram.

© 2014 The Akron Beacon Journal  ●  ●  Enjoy  ● 44 E. Exchange Street, Akron, Ohio 44308