Dave Powers: Up Close and Personal at the 2017 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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The Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau is prepping for the city’s BIGGEST signature event of the year this weekend (June 16-18, 2017).  Richie Cole and the Dave Powers Trio will take the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival Jazz Stage (presented by Heartland Bank) from 4:30-6 pm on Sunday to close out the 2017 event with an outstanding performance. We caught up with Dave Powers for a little Q & A about how he became one of Central Ohio’s most acclaimed Jazz musicians.  

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When did you discover your passion for music?
I discovered my passion for music as soon as I heard my first note. I’ve had the same passion for music all of my life.

What influenced you in the beginning?
The record player was by biggest influence, and I would listen to whatever I could get my hands on. By playing records and listening to all forms and styles of music, my own playing style is shaped by whatever I’m listening to. If I wasn’t playing music and entertaining and performing, I’d be just as happy playing and listening to records.

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Who inspires you now?
I’m inspired by anybody with a musically open mind. There are so many “genres” and labeled styles that pigeon-hole different classifications of music. My personal philosophy is that of Duke Ellington who said, “There are two types of music – good and the other kind.” My approach to playing and making music should transcend musical genres and styles. In other words, I’m just as happy playing polka as I am playing jazz, rock, soul or pop.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe my music as interactive, inclusive, creative, vintage, positive and emotional. Again, “transcending” styles, just like our country being a melting pot of different cultures with many different influences.

What’s your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement to date is winning two EMMY® Awards – the first one for work that I did on the PBS TV Series “The Piano Guy,” and the second one for music for a documentary film about television pioneer Ruth Lyons. There are many other great achievements too, like producing album projects and traveling around the country doing corporate events and conventions. I really enjoy those too!

Do you have a favorite number that you like to perform?
I have many favorite songs that I like – it’s hard to pick one favorite number. It depends on what’s playing in my head that day, or what mood I’m in.

 If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
I don’t know if I would have a personal theme song, but my phrase that describes me is “Listen To This,” because that’s what I always say when I want to play a piece of music for somebody. It’s my often used catch-phrase. I have a CD release titled “Listen To This,” and my record label is LTT Records – the LTT stands for “Listen To This.”

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What can Creekside Blues & Jazz Fans expect from your performance this weekend on the Jazz Stage?
It’s always a fun time playing at the Creekside Blues and Jazz Fest, and I’m sure that the people that come to see us will enjoy the energy and creativity that we will bring to our performance. This year’s performance will be especially exciting because the legendary alto saxophonist Richie Cole will be performing with us. I brought Richie to Columbus in February as a featured guest for one of my “House Jazz Concert Series” events at the Clintonville Woman’s Club, and I’m glad Richie was available to play Creekside with us.

Tell us about the artists who will be performing with you?
Our guest artist, alto saxophonist Richie Cole (originally from Trenton, New Jersey) currently lives in Pittsburgh after living on the west coast for many years. Richie has developed a trademark style of playing called “alto madness” and his background consists of having played with Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Doc Severinsen and has recorded albums with Eddie Jefferson, Mark Murphy, Nancy Wilson, Tom Waits, The Manhattan Transfer and Boots Randolph to name just a few.  Dayton, OH bassist Chris Berg and drummer Louis Tsamous will round out the group along with yours truly on the piano.

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?
My recordings are available on iTunes, amazon and CDBaby.com (keyword: Dave Powers), and my performance schedule, bio, pics and videos (also recordings) can be found on my website – davepowers.com

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For a full schedule of 2017 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival bands and artists (and their bios), visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com.  The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival celebrates it’s 19th anniversary in the Creekside District of Gahanna, Ohio (117 Mill St.), June 16-18, 2017.  It is presented annually by Visit Gahanna (the Gahanna Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau). 

2015 IBC Best Guitarist Headlines Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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Noah Wotherspoon has been immersed in the blues and mesmerizing audiences with his soulful guitar playing since he was a teenager. Wotherspoon and his band have earned top honors at the International Blues Challenge. This year, the band released its debut studio album entitled “Mystic Mud,” which was selected by the Cincy Blues Society as the Best Self-Produced CD for entry into the 2016 IBCs. The release was was presented a “Jimi Award” for Best Blues/Rock Album of the Year by Blues411. Wotherspoon and his band will take the Electric Blues Stage (presented by Benchmark Bank) at the 18th Annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, Ohio at 9:30 pm on Friday, June 17.  We interviewed Noah to learn more about his blues journey.

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When did you discover your passion for music?
I started playing guitar at the age of 11 and was out playing gigs when I was 13. From early on, I was attracted to music and just naturally became more & more immersed. Music has been a vehicle to meet a lot of beautiful people and led to experiences I couldn’t have imagined. It’s served as a medium to be creative and grow spiritually.. not too mention it’s also been a lot of fun and therapeutic.

What influenced you in the beginning?
Music was always around. My mom would listen to a lot of 50’s rock n’ roll and reggae. Around the time I was 10 years old, my older brother Adam’s best friend started bringing over recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and other guitar-oriented music to the house. I remember it was around that time I felt a burning desire to get a guitar. When I was growing up, my mom always had a lot books/classic literature on the shelves, and I think that would end up informing and inspiring a lot of my song-writing and creative endeavors down the road.

Who inspires you now?
Musically, my listening is all over the map. Lately, I’ve been paying closer to attention to the trail-blazing blues guitar players like Gatemouth Brown & Otis Rush, and trying to take a deeper look at the way they would phrase and speak with their instruments. I also listen to song-writers like Dylan, Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt. I like old movies and try to read as much as I can; right now I’m reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth which is really phenomenal. I try to fill my brain with a hodgepodge of imagery and ideas that I can hopefully channel into song-writing.
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How would you describe your music?
All along, my music has always been rooted in the blues. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, all the classic blues performers, the folklore & mystique surrounding the music. It’s what really pulled me in when I was first learning to play. Just the other day, “I Ain’t Superstitious” by the Wolf came on the radio.  I still get transported to another dimension. Over the years, I’ve been introduced to a lot of different musical styles. I have a love for everything from the Beatles & Harry Nilsson, to world music and vintage country. In effect, that probably all goes into the hopper and my writing/guitar playing is a cross-pollination of things. It’s always been my hope to stay connected to my roots & the things my teachers generously showed me, and balance that with creativity and giving something new.

What’s your greatest achievement to date?
In 2015, I received the Best Guitarist award at the International Blues Challenge and my band came in 2nd Place in the Band Category. It was a huge honor and still surreal to think about.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened during a performance?
This wasn’t at one of my shows, but was one of the wildest things that’s ever happened to me in a musical setting. When I was about 16, I had long blond hair. Bobby “Blue” Bland was in town and performing at Gilly’s (legendary blues/jazz venue in Dayton, OH). I went to the show and found a seat up in front of the stage. They introduced Bobby, and the very first thing he did was start singing “You’re Red Hot Little Mama”.. right to me (assuming I was girl). The table of ladies I was sitting with were breaking up with laughter and shouted up to Bobby, “He’s a boy.” He abruptly stopped the song, and it turned into this whole little scene. They then shouted up to him that I also play guitar and he ended up inviting me on stage. His guitar player handed over his guitar and we went into “Stormy Monday.” He ran me through the paces … asking me to “play like T-Bone Walker,” “play like Wayne Bennett” etc.  I still talk to his son Rodd who was on drums that night; we still laugh about it.

If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
I’d want to say Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey)… but that goes to Elvis! Mine would probably be a bit goofier.. maybe the Looney Tunes theme?

The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival draws blues and jazz fans from throughout the region. What are you most looking forward to that weekend?
Of course I’m really looking forward to playing; but I’m also really looking forward to seeing our friends Deuce & a Quarter who are on right before us. They’re awesome people and put on a great show.

What do you hope fans “take away” from your performance?
It’s always my hope that people have a fun and that we’re able to offer an escape in that window of time. Thinking back to my favorite performances I’ve gone to see, the ones that stayed with me were ones that I walked away from feeling inspired and rejuvenated somehow. Rob Thaxton (bass), Brian Aylor (drums) and I, always try to give our best and have a good time on stage. I want to show my gratitude and hope to make a connection with the people that take the time & energy to come out to watch and listen.

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?
noahwotherspoon.com. All of our band dates are listed there; you can also order our album “Mystic Mud” (digitally &/or physically) in the store page.

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Check out the entire 2016 Creekside Blues & Jazz Schedule, and learn about other activities for all ages at: www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau (presenters of the CBJF) at 614/418-9114.  $15 Weekend wristbands for the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival are available online only, prior to the event.

 

Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival: Backdrop for a Love Story

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Gahanna Ohio’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival holds a special place in the hearts of Kris Chick and her husband, David. It provided the backdrop and inspiration that ignited their personal love story years ago. Since everyone loves a great love story, we caught up with Kris to ask for details …

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Q: What’s your connection to Gahanna?

A: My husband, David has lived in Gahanna since 1986 and graduated from Gahanna Lincoln High School in 1989.

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Q: How many years have you attended Gahanna’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF)?

A: I have been attending the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival since before my daughter was born! She’s 13 now, so it’s been more than 14 years!

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 Q: What happened for you at the 2006 Festival? 

A: Nine years ago David Chick and I started dating. We were at the Festival, sitting near the stage waiting for Arnett Howard and the Creole Funk Band to perform when David asked me out.

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Q: We understand that you credit the Festival for providing a magical backdrop for your personal love story? How so?

A: The Festival has been part of our lives for years. Two years ago David proposed to me during the Festival – right over by the fountain! Since we began dating there and he proposed to me at the event, I wanted to get married there too. So, a year later in July, we got married at Creekside Conference & Event Center!

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Q: How has your story evolved recently?

A: On January 17, 2015 we opened our own business in Gahanna! We now own and operate Brickhouse Cardio Club located at 189 W. Johnstown Rd. (Suite A) We have group fitness classes of all kinds. We welcome Gahanna residents and friends to check out our online class schedule, then drop-in and try a class! 614/269-8494 brickhousecardiogahanna.com

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Q: Is it safe to say that you’ll be attending the 2015 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (June 19-21)

A: We sure will! And we are extremely excited to be attending this year as a vendor! What a great excuse to be there every day!

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Q: So, if someone has been looking for love in all the wrong places, do you suggest that they consider attending the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival to tap the magic of a little night music? : ) 

A: I can’t think of anything better to do than to listen to great music and hang out with someone you love.  If you haven’t found love yet, where better to go than someplace where you’re going to find someone that loves to do the same stuff that you do?!

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To learn more about the 17th Annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, visit www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com 

Summer Heats up with Gahanna’s Creekside LIVE

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This summer may be on the cool side in the weather department, but the Creekside Live concerts in Gahanna are heating up. This season, the Gahanna Ohio Department of Parks & Recreation has welcomed The Reaganomics, the John Schwab Duo, Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons, Soul Kitchn and more.

“With the beautiful setting at Creekside there is no better park venue in Central Ohio to enjoy live music,” said Zac Guthrie, Recreation Supervisor for Gahanna Parks & Recreation.

“Because of the support from last year’s sponsors [Gahanna Parks & Recreation Foundation (GPRF), Strathmore Development Co. and Yuengling], we were able to bring in local talents such as the Reaganomics and The Floorwalkers who were named 614 Magazine’s best cover band and local band.”

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This summer has been bigger and better by featuring two live bands per date and additional community partners. The community has really come together to support the event as well.  New this summer is an opening act beginning at 6 p.m. followed by the headliner, beginning at 8 p.m. The crowds this season have continued to grow as word spreads about the fun this concert series brings to the Creekside District in Olde Gahanna.

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Be sure to get to Creekside early on August 8 as Cliff Cody, a former contestant on the popular new show, Rising Stars on ABC, takes the stage at 6 p.m. Cody is a rising country star from southwest Ohio. A Gahanna favorite, SWAGG, follows at 8 p.m.

The series wraps up on Friday, August 22 with the Jonalee White Band at 6 p.m. and the Spike Drivers at 8 p.m.

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Concert-goers are encouraged to bring friends, family and co-workers to Creekside Park during this exciting event to enjoy all the area has to offer, including paddleboat rides on the Big Walnut Creek, boutique shops and a variety of restaurants at Creekside and Olde Gahanna. Parking is free in the Creekside garage.

The concert series is made possible through partnerships with the Gahanna Parks & Recreation Foundation (GPRF), Strathmore Development Co., Yuengling. New partners this year include Gahanna Rotary, Funtrail Vehicle Accessories, Lew Griffin Insurance and Sound Perfection. Alcohol sales help cover the cost of event expenses, while net proceeds benefit the GPRF, a 501c3 organization providing camp scholarships, park improvements and public art to the Gahanna community.

August 8             

6 p.m. – Cliff Cody (Acoustic Covers)

8 p.m. – SWAGG (Party Variety)

August 22          

6 p.m. – Jonalee White Band (Country)

8 p.m. – The Spike Drivers (Americana Rock)

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~Post by Beth McCollam, Public Information Officer for the City of Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation

 

Top 8 Insider Tips for Attending Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest

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If you’ve never attended the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) in Gahanna, Ohio, THIS is year to make it happen! This weekend (June 20-22) marks the 16th Annual CBJF and is expected to draw thousands of festival fans, foodies, families and, YES, blues and jazz fans … rain or shine. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Creekside Park (with its meandering trails and paddleboats floating down the Big Walnut Creek), the Festival is beloved by many for its manageable size, idyllic setting and outstanding musical line-up. (Did we mention the great location just east of Columbus, off the I-270 outer belt?)

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This year’s event will feature 52 bands, 90 hours of music, 26 food + 32 retail vendors, five stages and three days of family fun. Here are a few Insider Tips to help you navigate the event with ease …

1) Cheap fun. Festival wristbands are just $5/ per person per day. Children under 12 and members of the military (with immediate family) are free. To save a little money on admission, pick up a $1 discount coupon at AAA’s Gahanna office (5073 N Hamilton Rd, Columbus, OH 43230) or come on Sunday (between 12-1:30 pm) for FREE admission when you bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

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2) Nonstop Music. CBJF offers five stages, all with great musical line-ups! Devoted Jazz fan? Hardcore blues buff? Lean toward a bluegrass vibe? We got that. Visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com to check out the full schedule and chart your “must see” list. Many great bands play at the same time on the different stages, so be sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss your favs.

3) Get there early. The festival runs from 5-11 pm Friday, 11 am-11 pm Saturday and 12-6 pm Sunday. And the activity heats up throughout the day. Is there a specific band you are coming to see? It’s best to arrive early to find a seat. (You can also bring your own lawn chairs, but no coolers. No pets either—Fido will have to listen to his/her jazz/blues at home. Sorry.)

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4) Parking & Shuttles. Let’s face it, parking can be an issue at ANY festival. We’ve tried to ease the hassle by providing four park-and-ride FREE shuttle locations throughout the Gahanna area. These are located at Giant Eagle (1250 N. Hamilton Rd); Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Rd.); 101 S. Stygler Rd. (at the corner of Rt. 62 and Stygler Rd. across from City Barbeque) and at *Clark Hall (300 Granville St.—behind Panera).

*Handicap accessible complimentary shuttles are located at the Clark Hall lot. Additionally, the Creekside Parking Garage (located at the corner of Mill and North Streets) will be open and will offer parking adjacent to the Festival for $5 per car. NOTE: Admission to the Festival will be charged at the entrance to the garage.

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5) Family Friendly Fun. This year, the number of children’s activities at the Donatos Family Fun Zone has DOUBLED! This area, located at Veterans Memorial Park (on the south side of SR 62/Granville St as you enter Gahanna from I-270). Families can enjoy FREE crafts and activities by Kya’s Crusade, Ohio Origami and Piano Lessons in Your Home; experiment with musical instruments, visit a petting zoo and much more. Go HERE for a full schedule of kid friendly fun. In addition, visitors can buy tickets ($1 each) or wristbands ($15-18) to ride a variety of amusement rides.

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6) Hungry? Good! CBJF is a culinary paradise. Here you can find a variety of food vendors offering something for every taste. How about Bourbon chicken, BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, Irish nachos, mac & cheese, French fries, donut/bacon cheeseburgers, chicken teriyaki, fried rice, deep fried veggies, funnel cakes, fudge puppies, gyros, pizza, Greek salad, wings, hot dogs, Bahama Mamas, cream puffs, ice cream, cookies, caramel corn, kettle corn, lemonade, beer, pop, cotton candy, wine, snow cones, rootbeer, chips, red potatoes, gourmet apples, egg rolls, chicken fingers or fried bologna? In addition to the food vendors, there are at least a dozen restaurants located in or near the festival footprint, that offer a little A/C and great dining experience.

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7) Boutique Shopping. CBJF is like a mini-outdoor market with artisan treasures, surrounded by a great live soundtrack. Shop for jewelry, handbags, clothing, skin care products, tie-dye clothing, scarves, Chinese fans, flowers, planters, caricatures, wooden boxes, sunglasses and more. Additionally, the Creekside District offers great retail vendors like Honey Grove Botanicals (where you can find some hand-crafted gifts to take home).

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8) Become a #2014CBJF SuperFan. Use the official hashtag (#2014CBJF) and join the conversation via Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram while at the Festival. We’ll be on the lookout for ya’ll (both virtually and in person) to share your feedback, photos and just maybe you’ll snag some of our cool swag just for helping carry the CBJF flag!

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For more info, visit CreeksideBluesandJazz.com. Follow @VisitGahanna on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; @CreeksideBlues on Facebook and Twitter.

~Post by Mary Szymkowiak, Communications & Tourism Manager, Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau

Q and A with Angela Perley: Singer, Songwriter and Columbus Music Scene “It” Girl

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We caught up with Angela Perley–the “it girl” of the Columbus Ohio music scene–for a quick interview before she and her band (Angela Perley and The Howlin’ Moons) take the Community Stage at Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival at 7 pm THIS Friday, June 20. Their music has been causing quite a buzz throughout the Midwest lately. Demure and quiet off stage, the performer usually shocks people when she tells them she is the lead singer in a band.

Q: How would you describe your music?
Rock and Roll music rooted in country and blues. A lot of the songs revolve around love, heartbreak, the moon and rambling, and at times get pretty dreamy and psychedelic. 

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Q: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
 I always grew up singing and writing but didn’t really know that I wanted to be a musician until high school when I first starting writing songs and performing at talent shows. I loved the feelings of fear, excitement and all the emotions that happen while playing in front of an audience. It becomes addicting. It just snowballed from there and I started playing more often. That’s when I began realizing how important it was for me and how it was really the only thing I felt truly comfortable and happy doing.

Q: Where/when was your first big break?
I would consider my first big break just landing the deal I have with Vital Music USA in 2009. They had heard some of my homemade demos, believed in me and reached out to professionally record my songs. They ended up introducing me to the guys that later became my band (Chris Connor, Billy Zehnal and Jeff Martin) and I wouldn’t be here without my amazing band that has dedicated countless hours of their lives to this project and my songs. Since 2009 they have recorded four of our EPS and our debut full-length record Hey Kid (just came out this January).

The band also has been really lucky to have a couple of our CDs do really well in the UK. We have gained a lot of radio play over there and some pretty good grass-roots radio play and press here in the U.S., which has helped to get our music out there lately. We still have a long way to go, but we keep hitting dreams and goals of mine along the way. Each year keeps getting better.

Q: What’s your favorite song to perform (right now)?
Right now my favorite song to perform is “Athens.” It seems whenever we play that song, there are many people in the audience that either went to school at Ohio University or have spent a lot of time in Athens OH. I just feel like there is an immediate connection and feeling we have in common that makes that song so emotional to perform. It also has a huge ending that is really fun to perform live. We usually close our sets with it.

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Q: Name one thing that most people don’t know about you.

That I have a fear of talking on the phone. It’s not a crazy fear, and it sounds weird coming from someone who is on stage all the time singing and performing, but it just makes me uncomfortable to talk to people on the phone. I have no idea why… haha. 

Q: Who inspires you?
Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Wanda Jackson, Loretta Lynn. Wow … there are so many artists and bands that inspire me to do what I do. Life and people that I meet, books I read, movies I watch … you name it. I am inspired every day by something or another. Currently this warm weather has been inpsiring me to write a whole new batch of songs- it is amazing what the change of seasons can do to my songwriting and psyche. 

Q: What can we look forward to during your performance at Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest?
I think one of the things that most adults and children get a kick out of is when I play the musical saw. They just can’t believe a sound comes out of it. We will actually be debuting a new saw song at the Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest so that will be fun and something new to look forward to. Might throw a couple other new ones in there as well- we are hoping to get back into the studio this fall to record our next full length record so will be testing out some songs live in the next couple of months. 

Q: What’s the BEST part of your job?
The best part of my job is being able to connect and share an experience with people at our shows. Free beer is also a plus. 

Q: When people talk about you & your music, what’s the one thing you hope they say?
I hope they say they dug it and that they want to come see us again (and bring all their friends .. muah hah hah)! We are always evolving and writing new songs as a band so really pumped when we start seeing familar faces at our shows singing along to the lyrics. 

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To learn more about Angela, visit http://www.angelaperley.com. For more information about the Gahanna OH Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (and to see the musical line-up), go to www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com

Photo credit: Eric Petersen