Make local bands a resolution for 2013

See Christopher Bell, Indie folk-rock artist, at free show in Canton. Plenty of jazz in works

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Cellist/singer/songwriter Christopher Bell (right) will perform a free show at Buzzbin Music & Art Shop tonight.

So, break any or all of your new year’s resolutions yet?

Yeah, me too.

Things are slowly picking up again and it’s a good week to check out some local artists who don’t have the luxury of being able to take a month or two off for the holidays before getting back on their awesome tour bus and rocking arena rafters.

Free show

Tonight, Buzzbin Magazine Art & Music Shop in Canton has a pretty cool free show featuring indie folk-rock artist Christopher Bell (obviously, not the late guitarist for Big Star). He does the one-man band thing using his electric cello, which he often plays standing up like a guitar, and various loop pedals to build his tunes. The technique certainly isn’t new and plenty of traveling troubadour types, including Ed Sheeran, Imogen Heap and Akron’s own Joseph Arthur have used it for years. But the devil is in the details as each artists’ arrangement skills and creativity and equipment are a bit different.

The prolific Frewsburg, N.Y., native just released his fourth album in 15 months, From Here to There. On the album, he mixes his own originals, which range from scrappy indie rock tunes such as The Break to more elaborately arranged and classically influenced tunes such as the traditionally-bowed cello driven Radio Dial — both from his eponymously titled album from July.

In concert, he mixes his many tunes with covers of everything from Beethoven to AC/DC (check out the YouTube video of his cover of You Shook Me All Night Long). Plus, the show is free so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

All that jazz

Down in Akron’s Merriman Valley, Pub Bricco has been filling its Wednesday evenings by playing host to an array of local jazz musicians, which is always good as there aren’t too many venues for jazzbos to jam.

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Cleveland chanteuse Helen Welch, who recently sold out the cabaret stage at the Akron Civic again, will bring her lovely vocals and natural showmanship backed by Joe Leaman on keyboard and Bryan Thomas on bass to the Pub’s cozy room.

If you need a jazz fix before Wednesday, you can head on down to Musica in downtown Akron tonight, where the Dave Banks Big Band will crowd its 15-plus members onto the stage.

Band leader and trumpeter Banks is based out of Akron but as with most jazz bands in the area, his band members are a combination of area music educators and grizzled pros whose resumes include stints with big band torchbearers such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

The (big-ass) band will feature vocalist Shannon Eller and the set will include some traditional big band fare along with surely interesting arrangements of R&B, pop and classic rock tunes, including Phil Collins’ Sussudio.

Head up to Nighttown in Cleveland Heights on Friday night and check out one of the top Latin jazz groups on the North Coast, the Sammy DeLeon/Jackie Warren Latin Jazz Sextet, which features respected percussionist DeLeon on timbales, Cleveland Salsa Queen Warren on piano, Nelson Orta on percussion and trumpeter Joe Miller, saxophonist Dick Ingersoll and bassist Kip Reed.

This sextet really knows its way in, around and through many Latin rhythms. Toe-tapping and a desire to get up and dance with a partner are guaranteed.

Husband/wife teams

Do you look to Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keiller for music listening suggestions? You do? Well then you’ll want to go to the Kent Stage on Saturday night to hear one of the folksy storyteller’s favorite groups and touring partners, Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group.

The husband/wife duo has been playing together for more than 40 years and has released more than 20 albums. Its latest is These Old Dark Hills, featuring traditional folk originals plus a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s My Lucky Day.

Another songwriting/singing husband/wife team performing this weekend will be Jayson and Sarah Benn — better known as Shivering Timbers — who will perform an intimate house show at the Mechanic Street House in Cleveland on Saturday night along with bluesy Americana singer/songwriter/Strongsvillian Tom Evanchuck. RSVP at or

Fundraising concert

At 5 p.m. Saturday there will be a fundraising concert at Akron’s Church of Our Savior featuring German-born, Kenya-, South Africa- and Cleveland-bred (he was an exchange student) singer/songwriter Jann Klose.

The benefit concert is for Believe in the Cure, a nonprofit organization that focuses on “adolescent and young adult cancer research and education, medical bill relief, cancer prevention education, creating awareness about our whole being, and thinking globally!”

Believe in the Cure was founded in 2011 by Joanne Filina, 39, of Akron, who survived her own battle with leukemia and decided to help others in similar situations. You can read her story at And she was also interviewed in a recent Beacon Journal article about her organization.

The fundraiser will feature a silent auction and guest speakers Dr. Joseph Flynn and Dr. Nick Parasson (Any other longtime The Simpsons viewers slightly wary of a doctor named Nick? No? Just me?) and an hourlong set from Klose who is also on the Believe in the Cure board.

Songs by Klose, who has a soaring tenor, fall in the very melodic pop/rock genre. He has a couple of EPs and three albums under his belt, his most recent being the Sacrifice EP. Klose is also the featured vocalist in the upcoming Jeff Buckley biopic Greetings From Tim Buckley and has performed on stage in Jekyll & Hyde as well as touring versions of rock operas The Who’s Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at 330-996-3758 or by email at He’s also on Facebook as Malcolm X Abram. … Go figure.

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