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). 

Haulin’ Out the Holly in August: Gahanna Style

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It’s hot, hot, hot!  But at the Visit Gahanna office (Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau), we’re thinking winter … when the air is cooler, visitors are bundled up and sipping hot chocolate, and Santa is on his way!

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The Visit Gahanna team, along with the Holiday Lights Planning Committee, is immersed in preparations for the upcoming holidays.  As we plan and program this year’s Holiday Lights Celebration, one thing is vital for the success of the event… YOUR participation!

Presented by Visit Gahanna, the Holiday Lights Celebration – Gahanna’s beloved annual holiday kickoff – will be held from 2-7 pm on Sunday, November 20. Like magic, the city’s Creekside District becomes illuminated with thousands of tiny lights and visitors taking part in activities that include a live reindeer petting zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, crafts, games, bands and a host of dazzling surprises. The appearance of Santa signals the countdown to the lighting of Gahanna’s community tree. The Holiday Lights Celebration attracts 10,000+ people to Gahanna each year, and the event has become an annual family tradition for thousands of Central Ohio residents and visitors.

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And this is just the beginning of the holiday season in Gahanna!  Other fun Holiday Lights events include …

Planning these awesome community events (and hosting a holiday party for thousands!) isn’t possible without sponsor and volunteer support.  By getting involved, you’ll become a part of a treasured community tradition (and you’ll deepen your own sense of happiness and philanthropy).  It isn’t a question of investing large donations of time and money.  We all tend to think, “Go big or go home.”  But that’s not true.  Even investing small increments of time and sponsorship funding can make a significant impact on our community.

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Here’s how you can help:

  1. Become a Sponsor! This is the perfect event to create a community partnership for your business that will generate visibility for your brand AND show your support to Gahanna residents and visitors.
  2. Volunteer.  Whether you are helping with set-up, greeting attendees, or providing visitor information, you’ll have fun meeting new people and supporting your community.
  3. Start a New Holiday Tradition by Volunteering as a Family. Planting the seeds of volunteerism in the youngest of individuals creates a lifelong mission of purpose and service that is vital to every community, and it provides great personal satisfaction, too!
  4. Become a Retail Vendor. Booth space is available at the Holiday Lights Celebration to show-off your creative side and market your retail products to visitors.  (Vendors must complete and submit a vendor Application—available at VisitGahanna.com by August 31. Spaces are limited.)
  5. Involve Your Church or Favorite Non-Profit Organization.  Sign up for a booth, involve your members, and offer a fun family-centered activity where you can interact with attendees and create awareness for your mission.  (Must complete and submit a Vendor Application.)
  6. Provide Holiday Music and Entertainment.  Are you part of a performance group that sings, dances or entertainment?  Share your talents and help us to create a warm holiday spirit for everyone!  (To inquire about participating, send an email to info@visitgahanna.com, with the subject line:  Holiday Lights Entertainment)

breakfastNow is the time for you to feel “cool” by making a positive impact on your neighborhood and community.  Visit Gahanna recognizes that every individual and every business has different approaches of investing in this memorable holiday event.  Contact Susan Peters at speters@visitgahanna.com or call the Visit Gahanna office (614/418-9114) to find out more information about the many options and opportunities for you to be a part of the Holiday Lights Celebration!

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~Post by Susan Peters, Business & Events Manager at the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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The Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (GCVB) mission is to promote Gahanna as a vibrant destination. The GCVB also plans and programs signature events including the annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (June) and the Holiday Lights Celebration (November-December).  These family-friendly Gahanna events earn significant media attention in print, radio, television, and on-line social media impressions, create awareness so that these events continue to grow in both popularity and national awareness creating additional valued benefits to our partners, sponsors, and community. To learn more, call 614/418-9114.

20 Best Free & Cheap Things to Do in Gahanna, Ohio

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Summer is the BEST time to discover all the FREE and Cheap things to do in Gahanna, Ohio! From free concerts and cheap eats, to dozens of reasons to take in the City’s 770 acres of parkland and trails, it’s challenging to make a short list!  But we’re giving it a shot. Here are 20 of our favorite ways to discover all the unique (free and cheap) treasures in Gahanna, Ohio. To learn more, check out VisitGahanna.com … the official website of the Gahanna Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau!  And tell us YOUR favorites!
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1)      Creekside District.  (117 Mill St.) Gahanna’s crowning jewel is the breathtaking Creekside District. This serene oasis sits just a mile or so away from several interstate highways, making it well worth a trip off the beaten path. Walk the trails and discover the nearby herb gardens. Fish near a waterfall. Ride a paddleboat ($5/half hour rental).  Enjoy one of the Creekside LIVE! Concerts – held the second and fourth Fridays during the summer months.

2)      $2 Taco Tuesday!  (101 Mill St) Local Cantina offers craft eats, craft beers and a selection of mouth watering Margaritas.  It’s hard to beat the Taco Tuesday deal, especially when you throw in free chips & salsa and those patio views!

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3)      Kayaking/Canoeing! Take in the scenery paddling along the Big Walnut Creek. Launch at Woodside Green Park (213 Camrose Court). (See Map.)

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4)      Swisher Creek Farm. (3515 Babbitt Rd, Blacklick) Visit this hidden gem, owned and operated by Pete and Judy Klein, and meet their beautiful herd of Alpaca during your FREE educational tour of the farm (by appointment). Shop the gift shop that features both handmade items and a full line of alpaca products made in Peru. A delightful and enchanting experience for visitors of ALL ages!  Call 614/939-1872 to schedule a tour.

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5)      Ohio Herb Center. (110 Mill St.) Treat your senses to a visit to the Ohio Herb Center! In addition to offering a variety of great classes and workshops, the Center is located in the historic Nafzger-Miller house and is home to a gift shop filled with herb-inspired products, books and a drying shed—with history of its own!
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6)      Arepazo.  (93 N. High St.) Weekday Happy Hour  (5-7pm) features select $5 Tapas and $5 cocktails, including sangria (Red and White) by the glass, Classic Margaritas, Caipirinhas (Classic and Guava), Mojitos (Classic, Pineapple, Blackberry, And Strawberry), Martini (Tropical, Pineapple, and Mango), and $1 off all draft beers.

7)      Visit Geroux Gardens. (206 S. Hamilton Rd.) Named for Jane “Bunnie” Geroux, the driving force behind Gahanna’s Herb Capital of Ohio (1972) status, Geroux Gardens offer a Culinary Garden, Scented Garden, Shade Garden, Rock/Biblical Garden, Pond Garden and Medicinal Garden. 

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8)      The Story Trail. (150 Oklahoma Ave) Incorporate a family walk with reading at Gahanna’s Story Trail (Friendship Park).   Gahanna Parks & Recreation presents the fifth Story Trail Story, “Going on a Nature Walk,” in collaboration with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Art Garden Studios. Continue on down the trail to the confluence of the two creeks where water levels are shallow and do some old fashioned “wading.”

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9)      Explore Gahanna’s Sweet Tooth Trail! Cookies and milkshakes and cupcakes … OH MY! Check out the list of SWEET options!

10)   Enjoy a family picnic at Hannah Park, (6547 Clark State Rd ) where you’ll find a lovely stone covered picnic shelter, tennis courts, a playground, a catch-and-release fishing pond, and a 1-mile trail to bike or hike.

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11)   Shepherds Corner (987 N. Waggoner Rd.) A 160 -acre ecological refuge offering a haven for wildlife and spiritual refreshment for guests. Operated by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, visitors can meet the resident Llama and sheep, learn about permaculture from the Farmer, walk the meditation trails or labyrinth, and shop for maple syrup, soap and other goods made on site.

12)   Signatures Mill Stone Tavern (94 Mill St.)  is a Gahanna classic. Enjoy $1.25 mini-burgers on Tuesdays and a $3.99 Wing Wednesday deal (for 8 wings) with purchase of a drink. Specials good all day; dine in only.

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13)  Griffin Art Gallery.  (77 Mill St.) This gallery showcases a fantastic collection of work by locally and nationally recognized artists. Many works highlight Ohio’s rich artistic history and the artists it produces. Located in the Creekside District, adjacent to many great restaurants with patio dining.

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14)   Cycle the Big Walnut Bike TrailGahanna has some amazing bike and multi-use trails. Download the Bike Trail Map provided by Gahanna Parks & Recreation Department.

15)   Barrel & Boar. (121 Mill St.) Amazing BBQ awaits you at Barrel & Boar Creekside. Enjoy the beautiful patio views over lunch, dinner or come on Sunday for a great brunch or “Buck-a-Bone” deals ALL DAY LONG!
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16)   Kindred Artisan Ales.  (505 Morrison Rd.) This Gahanna-based brewery uses new and old world brewing techniques to create brews worth the trip.  Small (cheap) samples or full pints are available to enjoy in the tasting room (not to mention creative cocktails).  Ever-changing cheap eats are available from visiting food trucks (see schedule on website). You can even enjoy a game of cornhole!

17)   Old Bag of Nails Gahanna. (63 Mill St.)  Enjoy free kids meals (one with purchase of adult entrée) and “Happy Hour 2 You” $2 deals (2-7 pm Mon-Friday)!

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18)   Mi Tradicion. (111 N. Stygler Rd.) One of our fav local eateries features a menu with lots of variety, great chips and salsa and a weekday Happy Hour (3-7 pm) with discounted house Margaritas and beer. Check their website for live music nights.

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19)   Wyandotte Winery. (4640 Wyandotte Dr.) Wednesdays (5-8 pm) bring Hump Day Happy Hour, with $2 off wine-by-the-glass and ½ price menu items.  Visitors can enjoy FREE winery tours on Saturday (12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Reservations required.)

20)   Splash Pad fun at Easton. (160 Easton Town Center)  Called the “Rodeo Drive of the Midwest,” it’s hard to beat shopping and dining at Easton Town Center. But little ones (and moms needing some rest) will love the free splash pad!

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For more info about Gahanna, check out Visitgahanna.com or call the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau at 614/418-9114.

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Biking, Beauty Contests and Free Family Fun – Gahanna Style!

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Imagine riding your bike along scenic paths, finding your way back to a time when beauty contests were held at a local Gahanna, Ohio park, an ancestor to two US Presidents made his home nearby and an ancient Indian mound was created.

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During the inaugural Gahanna History Bike Tour, presented at 1 pm Sunday, July 17 by the Gahanna Bicycle and Trail Advisory Committee and the Gahanna Historical Society, bikers (and hikers) of all ages and levels can explore Gahanna’s natural beauty and history while enjoying a free family outing.

The idea originated with Tricia Kovacs, with the Gahanna Bicycle and Trail Advisory Committee. “Our goal is to showcase how bikeable Gahanna is with our Big Walnut Trail, our Safe Routes to School projects and our on-street signed bike routes,” she said.

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The event will kick off at Gahanna Veterans Memorial Park (73 W. Johnstown Rd.) promptly at 1 pm with a safety talk. Free helmets will be available to children while supplies last. Participants will receive a “cue sheet,” describing some local historic sites. Bikers can ride with the group or at their own pace.  For non-bikers, copies of the Gahanna Historical Society’s walking tour will be available.

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Stops along the bike route will include several historical places in Gahanna, such as the John Clark House and Shull Log House, which will be open to visitors during the afternoon.

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Riders can choose route distances of 5 miles (trail ride), 10 miles (trail and street bike routes) or 25 miles (additional miles on scenic byways of Jefferson Township). Walkers are welcome to participate to enjoy the Historic Walking Tour of Gahanna.

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The ride is free of charge; voluntary donations to the Gahanna Historical Society will be accepted. To learn more, visit https://sites.google.com/site/gahannabac or contact Tricia Kovacs at pkovacs@att.net  (614/476-9093).

To learn more about visiting Gahanna, Ohio, go to: www.VisitGahanna.com

8 Things You Should Know Before Attending the Gahanna Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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The streets of Gahanna’s beautiful Creekside District are about to be filled with the sounds and smells of the city’s largest signature event AND Ohio’s BEST Blues & Jazz!  June 17-19 marks the 18th annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, presented by the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau. The event (located at 117 Mill St.) draws thousands of people from across the region with its 5 stages, 48 bands, 90 hours of non-stop jams, Family Fun Zone, food and retail vendors AND memorable experiences. The Festival runs Friday 5-11 pm; Saturday 11 am-11 pm; and Sunday 12-6 pm. There are some NEW additions this year, some changes and a few other general tips to keep in mind when visiting #2016CBJF:

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1) NEW Stage Locations. Growing attendance over the past several years has led to some exciting new changes to the event layout. New seating areas will ease congestion and offer improved  sound quality.

With the new layout, shuttle drop-offs will be conveniently located along Walnut and North Streets.  Guests will still have five different ways to enter the festival. (Download the Festival Map for specifics.)
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2) FREE Park & Ride Shuttles. While there is limited free parking within walking distance of the Festival, the smarter option is to take advantage of one of the 4 Park & Ride shuttles that run continuously during the Festival. Locations:

  • Giant Eagle (1250 North Hamilton Rd.) At Morse Rd and Hamilton Road intersection
  • Stygler Road and Route 62 Shuttle (101 S. Stygler Rd.), courtesy of Ohio AAA.
  • Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Road), courtesy of Meijer.
  • Clark Hall, (380 Granville Street) Provided courtesy of Hollywood Casino.

Accessible shuttles are available at the Clark Hall/380 Granville St. location. Additionally, handicap parking  is available in Creekside Parking Garage, 151 Mill St. (rate of $5.00 per car). The Creekside parking garage will be open throughout the festival weekend, with an entrance near the intersection of Mill and North Streets; accessible only by traveling south on Mill Street.  Event parking rate is $5 per car, collected at entrance to garage.  Festival Admission also will be collected for all cars parking in garage. Cash only accepted at garage entrance.

3) General admission is as follows:
$7          Friday, June 17  & Sunday, June 19
$7          Saturday, June 18 (until 5 pm)
$10        Saturday, June 18 (After 5 pm)
FREE      Children under 12 and Military w/ ID (and immediate family)
FREE      Sunday 11:30 am-12:30 pm with the donation of one non-perishable food item per person to benefit Gahanna Residents in Need (GRIN).

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4) Cocktail Tastings
Some of the most popular events within the Festival are the Tastings. These often sell out, so reserve your tickets early by calling 614/418-9114.

Cocktail Tastings w/ Watershed Distillery (Fri. 6-10 pm) Meet the owners of Watershed Distillery and share 4 new cocktails inspired by the Festival. 45-minute seatings start at 6 pm under the pergolas at Creekside Plaza.  4 tastings /$15.  Limited seating.

Craft Beer Tastings. (Sat, 2-5 pm) Explore the world of craft beers enjoying samples with local experts, including Gahanna’s own Pigskin Brewing Company, Kindred Artisan Ales, Columbus Brewing Company, Four Strings, New Belgium and Southern Tier.  In addition, 101 Beer Kitchen will be offering appetizer pairings. Reps from each of the breweries will be on hand to chat about their brews. 6 tastings/$12.

Ohio Wine Tastings. (Sun, 1:30-4 pm)  Sample a variety of Ohio-made wines from Buckeye state wineries including Wyandotte Winery (Gahanna) and Good Vibes Winery (Westerville),  6 tastings/$12.
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5) VIP Experiences
With amazing headliners slated to appear at #2016CBJF like Marion Meadows with Urban Jazz Coalition on the Heartland Band Jazz Stage (Sat) and Sonny Landreth on the Benchmark Bank Blues Stage (Sat), plan on some packed houses.  For the best views of the stages, treat yourself to a VIP experience. Book a reserved seat or table in the Club Blues or All that Jazz VIP sections and come-and-go as you please. Enjoy VIP parking and shuttle, swag bags, refreshments are more. Just a few seats remain in both sections. Book online now or call 614/418-9114.

6) Family Fun Zone & NEW Little Kid Zone
Families can enjoy free hands-on activities, crafts, face painting, sports demos and more on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone at Veteran’s Memorial Park (73 W Johnstown Rd.) Play with band instruments in the Musical Discovery Zone (presented by the Rotary Club of Gahanna). There is no charge to enter this area of the Festival.  You will need to buy wristbands (or individual tickets) to ride the Amusement Rides or bounce in the “Little Kids Zone.” Check out the hours, ride pricing and a full schedule of events.

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7) Come Hungry! Whatcha hungry for? We got that. With more than 30 food and beverage vendors and another 12 restaurants located in or near the Festival footprint, #2016CBJF offers plenty of chow options for ALL tastes. Check out the list of vendors here.

8) GO Green! BIKE PARKING – YAY VALET! Yay Valet! is a valet parking service that will be offering free, secure bicycle parking to everyone who rides to the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival on Saturday or Sunday. The valet will be located near the High Street Entrance Gate at the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary (82 N. High St.).

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For a full musical lineup, artist bios, a complete schedule of events and much more, check out www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com.  Also, follow @CreeksideBlues on Facebook and Twitter, and @VisitGahanna on Instagram for frequent updates throughout the event.

 

 

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

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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.

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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?
DAMN FINE BLUES!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

 

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.