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


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.  


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.


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.”


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


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). 

Austin ‘Walkin’ Cane Brings “Fine Blues” to Gahanna, Ohio


Austin Walkin’ Cane is a blues singer, songwriter and slide guitarist who performs acoustic solo, duo & electric band sets. He has toured Australia, Nepal, Colombia, France, Germany, England, Wales, and the US, from New Orleans, Louisiana to Juneau, Alaska with only a guitar & suitcase in hand. Austin walked for 10 years with a cane due to an arterial venous malformation at birth. While performing on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a homeless man called out “Hey Walkin’ Cane got some spare change for a brother?!” Austin took the jibe as his nickname. In 1996, after years of battling the inevitable, his left leg was amputated below the knee. A year after the surgery, he returned to the music scene stronger and without need of a cane. Austin brings his own brand of ‘Damn Fine Blues’ to the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival at 5:45 pm Saturday, June 18 on the Electric Blues Stage (presented by Benchmark Bank).


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When did you discover your passion for music? (And when did you start expressing yourself through music?
I discovered my passion for music around the age of five. I used to hang with the older neighborhood kids and they would turn me onto different rock bands like the Beatles, Stones, The Who, Hendrix, etc. On Christmas Eve ’84, I bought my first guitar, a Gibson SG, at Sam’s Music & Golf on Prospect Ave. in Downtown Cleveland from a cool guy named Maceo. On New Years Eve ’84, the power trio was born when a couple of my best friends bought their instruments. Musical expression began at that moment.

What influenced you in the beginning?
I was influenced by the radio, neighborhood kids and a strange obsession with slide guitar. The intro to Led Zeppelin’s version of In My Time of Dying was the first slide song I learned note for note.


Who inspires you now?
I listen to all kinds of music but the blues is my deepest inspiration. People like Blind Willie Johnson, The Kings (Albert, B.B., Freddie), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Professor Longhair, Snooks Eaglin, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Robert Johnson, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, Leadbelly, Robert Pete Williams, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Big Mama Thornton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley…

How would you describe your music?


What’s your greatest achievement to date?
My album ONE HEART WALKIN’  was nominated “BEST NEW ARTIST ALBUM” by the 2015 BLUES MUSIC AWARDS (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) in Memphis. I didn’t win but I was honored to perform on the main stage. It was an amazing feeling to perform in front of musicians who I’ve listened to their albums for years. There were some funny bits.

Bobby Rush – “Looking good! Sounding good Young blood! Keep it up.”

Keb Mo – “I dig what you do.”

Elvin Bishop – I was backstage and I shook Elvin’s hand after my performance. He said with a smile, “I watched you. Who the hell are you?!” That made my day. Ha!

First Voice Ohioweb

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened during a performance?
There have been numerous weird stories over 31 yrs. of playing music. A lot of them I can’t or won’t tell you about today. Here are some of the weirdness from the early years…

Age 16 – We played a party in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church and a fight broke out. Some guy’s eye was lying on the floor surrounded by blood.

Age 17. I played a biker pig roast. When the food was done, some guy carved it with a chainsaw. There was pig all over that guy!

Too many too tell!

If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
Taj Mahal’s version of the Fishin’ Blues has been a part of my show since I was sixteen. I still enjoy it!

The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival draws blues and jazz fans from throughout the region. What are you most looking forward to that weekend?
I’m looking forward to playing with harmonica master, Dave Morrison and reconnecting with some Columbus friends I haven’t seen in some time.


What do you hope fans “take away” from your performance?
I hope they take away a CD! $10

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?  www.walkincane.com


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.


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



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?)

CBJF Flags

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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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).


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!


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