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Seen on a Tuesday in Dayton

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An evening at the musicians' co-op

Yesterday (Tuesday October 12) I visited what is perhaps my favorite place in Dayton, Canal Street Tavern. Canal Street Tavern has been a concert venue for around twenty-five years. Somehow, everything sounds a little warmer at this venue than anywhere else in Dayton. For the last several years, Tuesday evenings have featured the musicians' co-op, an event where any musician can sign up to perform in a relaxed unpretentious atmosphere in front of an audience consisting of their fellow musicians and other music lovers. Admission is free. Last night, I saw three stellar performances over the course of one hour.

The first act I saw consisted of part of The American Static. The American Static is the brainchild of one Jason Himes, and was created as a means to showcase his songwriting ability. Usually, The American Static's stage show consists of a piano, two guitars, a bass, drums, and a string section... it is a full sound made of complex pieces, and the songs come to life with somewhat of a strut. This was not the case at the co-op, as last night's show consisted of Jason on piano accompanied by one violin and one acoustic guitar. The lack of heavy amplification and distortion seemed to breathe a different kind of life into each song, and it was easier to hear how important a role piano plays in Jason's creative process.

After The American Static's set, the acoustic guitar player, Steven Gullett, remained on stage to play his own songs. Steven spent several years as the front man for a well-known local glam punk band, but he showed his versatility by playing four decidedly non-punk songs on his acoustic. Steven's experience as a musician clearly shows in his posture and stage prescence, and it's obvious that he still loves to play, even at a point in his life where music is no longer a career option. He closed his set with an appreciative nod at his musical roots by playing an old Ramones cover.

Amy Hedges was the last musician I saw. She is young, perhaps nineteen, but has a voice that sounds somewhat older, and possesses remarkable poise on stage. She plays her songs on the piano, seated astride a stool rather than the conventional bench. Her left leg dangles off ninety degrees from her right, which is working the pedals...she tends to rock her shoulders and head in unison with the rhythm of her songs. She sings one song from her first EP, two songs from her soon-to-be-released album, and two songs that have not yet been recorded, one of which she had just written the night before.

In one hour, I saw three completely different styles of music performed, but the sense of community, cooperation, and respect for all of the performers was a common thread throughout the evening. There is an intangibly pure feeling that comes from being in a room where musicians play songs they strongly believe in, with the satisfaction of sharing a part of themselves as the only reward.

Created by donetrawk
Last modified 2004-10-17 04:37 AM
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