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Pop, on the Rocks

Remember the first scene of the “Welcome to the Jungle” video, where a fresh-faced, wide-eyed, Axl Rose steps off a bus from Indiana and into the wilds of Los Angeles? Worthington native Erica Blinn’s music might have little in common with GNR – save odes to whiskey drinking – but listening to her sparkling sophomore [...]
Kevin J. Elliott



Remember the first scene of the “Welcome to the Jungle” video, where a fresh-faced, wide-eyed, Axl Rose steps off a bus from Indiana and into the wilds of Los Angeles? Worthington native Erica Blinn’s music might have little in common with GNR – save odes to whiskey drinking – but listening to her sparkling sophomore album, Lovers in the Dust, it’s easy to imagine Blinn making the same wanderlust-filled journey to Austin or Nashville in search of the bright lights she was born to stand beneath. She certainly has Axl’s spunky drive. Fortunately though, she’s been able to find all of the support a career as a singer-songwriter needs to blossom right here at home.

For as long as Blinn can remember she’s wanted to be Tom Petty when she grows up. Coming from a very musical family, she was encouraged at a young age by her father, who was a touring bassist in the band Black Leather Touch, to pursue the guitar and harmonica. Her earliest memories recall climbing onto her father’s lap and clutching at the strings.

“He bought me a guitar when I was too young to play it,” says Blinn of her father. “I just remember being 6 or 7 and becoming so frustrated because I couldn’t play yet. Eventually, I got really serious about it and started learning chords from books with Eagles and Beatles songs. A guitar has been in my hands ever since.”

While most seventh graders were busy learning algebra and puppy love, Blinn was already writing songs. Writing came natural, but Blinn still had to slog through high school cover bands, open mics, and learning the ins-and-outs of working with others, before finding her own voice. Those growing pains can be found on Blinn’s 2011 debut. It’s not for a lack of trying, but the songs weren’t yet fit for her skin.

With Lovers in the Dust, Blinn hand-picked her backing band, the Handsome Machine, and found a mentor and collaborator in Watershed’s Colin Gawel, who helped Blinn write and arrange a majority of the record. Songs like “Home” and “Sexy Mess” are no doubt accented with Gawel’s pop sensibilities, big choruses, and obsession with Cheap Trick. Most telling on the album is Blinn’s slight departure from her beloved blues and into a more stylized Southern rock akin to heroines like Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt, or simply “whiskey rock” as Blinn herself describes it.

Erica Blinn and the Handsome Machine
Members: Erica Blinn, P.J. Schreiner, Greg Wise, Mark Nye, Will Newsome Upcoming Shows: 2.18 @ Woodlands Tavern
Noise of Choice: Pop-Centered Southern Rock

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Music industry designates Blackout Tuesday as time of pause




To honor the memory of George Floyd and fix the injustices surrounding his death, the music industry has designated Tuesday as a time of pause to collaborate on ways to better support the black community.

Businesses and organizations within the music industry have been asked to pause regular work to reflect on how they can better serve the black community, according to a report from Variety. In general, businesses and organizations across the board have been asked to use Tuesday as a way to focus on the effort.

The message that circulated around social media quickly on Monday stated that “Blackout Tuesday” is being used as “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” and “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change.”

The movement has been gaining momentum under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. Major labels such as Capitol Music Group and Warner Music Group announced their alignment with the “Blackout Tuesday” cause. 

Companies have also announced practices such as pausing social media activity throughout the whole day.

Spotify and ViacomCBS have already announced an 8 minute and 46-second moment of silence for Tuesday. The time reflects how long the Minnesota police officer dug his knee into the kneck of Floyd.

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Curbside Concerts brings live music, hope to those in need




Can’tStopColumbus took a quick pause when the pandemic shut down the world and asked two questions:

  1. Are we sure we're solving the needs of everyone in our community during this time? 
  2. Are we not just coming up with ideas based on our own experiences?

Our elder community was one of the major demographics to have stricter socially distancing guidelines suggested to them. Holidays and birthdays went by without hugs from grandpa or grandma’s cookies.

Out of the need to fill that missing love in the life of American seniors, the idea of Curbside Concerts was born. Anyone is able to jump on the Curbside Concerts signup page and request a concert for an elder, sick people not able to leave the house, or a simple celebration.

Sending a concert telegram is free, and you can also leave a message for a loved one and suggest what type of tunes the organization-selected Columbus-area musician.

So far, the feedback has been inspiring. 

“People cried. I cried. We cried. It was beautiful,” said Zach Friedman, one of the service’s founders and creators. “We had a powerful idea on our hands, and the amazing power of the #Can'tStopColumbus community to scale it and bring it to life.”

To date, Curbside Concerts has had over 50 volunteers. Their job is to drive around a Columbus musician and their equipment with trucks provided by Ricart Automotive. It’s a road trip around the Columbus area, delivering concerts to those who may just need their spirits lifted. It’s like a non-depressing version of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Support has come from all ends of the Columbus creative community, including The Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Streetlight Guild, and What? Productions. Through these organizations, musicians are able to be paid for a route that usually lasts five to six hours. 100 percent of the donations they receive on their route also goes to the musicians.

Friedman is asking people to keep requests to older audiences.

“Working with local musicians to perform curbside at people's homes is the vehicle or medium, but the real thing we are doing here is connecting those to older people they love, with an authentic and emotional experience to send love over,” Friedman said.

We found out pretty quickly how much as a collective that we take live music for granted. Live streams have been a temporary, dulled-down replacement. You realize how long people have been robbed of the experience when you see a musician pull up in a pickup truck, set up in five minutes, and serenade neighborhoods with songs like “Lean on Me” and “What A Wonderful World.” It starts off with a message to one house and then resonates down the street, like the citizens of Gas Town rushing to The People Eater for even a drop of water.

Photos by Zak Kolesar

For most people, it was their first taste of live music since mid-March. While we may want concerts to return as soon as possible, its productions like Curbside Concerts that display the emotional power of music.

To request to send someone a concert, follow the link here:

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here:

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Arts & Culture

Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?




A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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