Last night, Sunday, December 16th, 2018, I had the pleasure and honor to attend a concert at the GAR in Peninsula. To begin with, if you are not familiar with GAR Hall in Peninsula, Ohio, it is now time to draw your attention to this century plus venue. This building is now a Civil War Museum and Concert Hall. “The Peninsula Foundation supports the Arts Community by presenting Voices in the Valley, a showcase of traditional roots music.” A special thanks of appreciation must go out to Karen James Walters, Manager at the GAR, a Peninsula resident who believes in showcasing live music in a music listening room.
Last night’s performance was presented by Four Songwriters, friends for forty years. Each one is a talented genius in his own right, and they are humble to the point of disgust. I am blessed to know each one of them and to call them friends.
Alex Bevin is a musician, songwriter, poet, radio personality and happily married with a grown son. But Bevin is still a kid at heart, performing, creating, and enjoying life. A Northeast Ohio native and area resident, he fills a room with a voice that is distinct, warm and mouthwatering. As my friend Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has written, “Cleveland’s favorite son Alex Bevan has done what I thought was impossible: He has captured the magic of a house concert in a recording. His newest album, “True Meridian,” was recorded with Bevan alone in his workroom and is, by his own admission, far from perfect.” As newclevelandradio.net begins scheduling house concerts this in 2019, we hope you will welcome Alex Bevin into your home. His imperfections are PERFECT.
Charlie Wiener, another hometown celebrity that only sees the perfection in others. A sixties style songwriter, a comedian for all ages, a published author, and he does it all with heart and soul. Charlie has a brilliant mind, if he didn’t, he could not do all he does with such excellence. When Wiener talks you want to listen, it’s like sitting outside at the old country store hearing the tales of yesterday and how they relate to today. Charlie Wiener and I grew up in the same era and yet in comparison to me, he is a walking, talking encyclopedia. Unlike me, he has the words and the charisma to turn his knowledge into words that soothe through music, illustrate in novels, and make you laugh when he does his stand-up comic shtick. Charlie is the father of two grown daughters. He speaks of his beautiful wife in glowing terms (as he should I have met her), and he is the proud caretaker of Greta his bearded collie.
Jim Ballard is a man filled with passion, and he is committed to the people he attracts in life, some of whom call him “UNCLE.” Unlike what the music industry has projected to the media, he too has been in love and married to his young sweetheart for thirty plus years. They have shared the moon from opposite sides of the globe while he served in Vietnam and after traveled to his gigs sharing his voice and talent for others to hear and appreciate. When you google Jim Ballard, it comes up with Jim Ballard, the quarterback, but you need to find: https://www.jimballardmusic.net/ . Jim has been on the music scene since the 1970s most likely influenced by his mother. The musical influence he brings to his audience are the influences of social justice and community. Listening to Jim perform is a unique experience and being part of his life is so much more! In his way, Jim is saving Akron and the world. Look up to the moon at night and connect with Mr. Ballard.
Jon Mosey, where do I begin. Jon was referred to me by another great musician, Andy Cohen. When I first googled Jon after Andy’s request that I podcast with Jon, I found bits and pieces but nothing substantial to tell me who he was. But within a few minutes of podcasting with Jon Mosey, I was mesmerized. I promised to come out and see him perform, I captured him on Facebook, just like I did with the others, but my mission was to get to meet Jon and hear him play. The photos of Jon tell one story, he is the most remarkable and talented man I have met (sorry Richard) in my life. He plays the Piedmont Blues and Ragtime, both of which I had to ask him to explain to me. Last night I heard the fingerpicking style he has acquired, and it filled my heart with sounds that I will not forget. Jon is married to his amazing wife Chris who not only supports her husband but supports so many who are just trying to live each day. She is the sunshine of life that is needed to keep the community together and caring!
Once again, I am blessed to know these individuals, to rub shoulders with them, break bread and call them my friends!