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Cherry Chrome

In the bitingly loquacious “Once & Twice,” Cherry Chrome’s lead singer and songwriter, Xenia Bleveans-Holm, says a lot of things a sophomore in high school shouldn’t be saying, if only for lack of the life experience on display throughout the song. By the time she drops an F-bomb, she instantly sings, “I’m sorry.” “Everyone is [...]
Kevin J. Elliott



In the bitingly loquacious “Once & Twice,” Cherry Chrome’s lead singer and songwriter, Xenia Bleveans-Holm, says a lot of things a sophomore in high school shouldn’t be saying, if only for lack of the life experience on display throughout the song. By the time she drops an F-bomb, she instantly sings, “I’m sorry.”

“Everyone is so ambitious, I’m just feeling sad and vicious, I cannot bring myself to care, I’m wishing to be anywhere, anywhere but here.” These seem to be intuitive sentiments gleaned from the third side of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville (which until recently she wasn’t allowed to hear the rest of) or the menagerie of music made by her parents Melanie and David while Xenia was a glimmer in their eyes.

“I attended Bigfoot shows in the womb,” Bleveans-Holm said of her parents band.

Yet despite her lack of lived experience and the short lifespan of the current configuration of Cherry Chrome—Mick Martinez on guitar, Amina Adesini on bass, and dad, David, on drums—there’s a weight to the music they are making that is just as heavy as their peers. It’s reminiscent of the rustic melancholy of Waxahatchee and locals like All Dogs and our city’s patron saint of pissed-off, broken-heart, shit-kicking, Lydia Loveless. The current CD102.5 constant “Velvet” is as poised and confident as the aforementioned “Once & Twice.” So much so it could even render some of their ilk insincere.

“I don’t feel like there’s much competition really, because there are about 2O different bands made up of the same 1O people. We’re all out to just make music and accomplish the same things.”

The immediacy, or inherent foundation, makes sense. Go back and listen to Bigfoot’s 1999 under-heard and underappreciated Columbus classic Dark Old Days to understand how daughter Xenia was passed the torch. She wrote her first song in the fourth grade, and though you’d think the first thoughts of a teenager would be finals and summer break, Cherry Chrome are curious to know if they’re playing ComFest this year (unfortunately, they’re not—shame on ComFest!) or listening to the Strokes  “over and over again.”

Dad is the anchor, or as he prefers, “coach,”  and in that role provides sizable guidance for Cherry Chrome, both inspirationally and professionally. His connections and experience landed the girls in the studio of Mike DiCenzo earlier this year. There the band recorded 14 tracks for a future release, and in the process, found the band as whole was more than capable of adding a sonic depth not originally present in Xenia’s first renderings.

“Mike had a lot to say as far as how to get certain tones and coming back in and overdubbing new parts,” David said. “What he did really made the guitars sound gigantic. For me, that was more like working with a producer more than anything else I’ve ever done. He helped a lot.”

With music in the family bloodline, Xenia and Dad can pinpoint their very first collaboration, an elementary school jingle called “Sicky Bag,” but it wasn’t until Xenia started attending ACPA (The Arts and College Preparatory Academy) that there was a drive to start a “real” project. She met Martinez at Instaband, a high school battle that was hosted by Groove U last summer, and has known Adesini since they were in pre school. The music programs at ACPA and Columbus Alternative School, which Adesini attends, with myriad after-school clubs and classes simply titled “Rock Band,” have certainly proliferated the number of teenage bands drawing sizeable crowds and significant buzz around Columbus. The girls rattled off a handful of groups—including Echolation, Christopher Robin, and Martinez’s last outfit, Underground Magic—that have all emerged from the same nucleus.

“I don’t feel like there’s much competition really,” Martinez said, “because there are about 20 different bands made up of the same 10 people. We’re all out to just make music and accomplish the same things.”

How Cherry Chrome’s first physical release will come to fruition is still undecided, though a number of titles and scenarios were thrown about. The only thing concrete is the songs. The music is there. When asked if Kickstarter was a viable option for the girls, who, without many paying gigs under their belt, sit with a band fund totaling $65, the answer was simple and humble.

“We should take advantage of our age,” Xenia said. “There are people out there who want to give us their money.”

For show information and to give Cherry Chrome your money, visit

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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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