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A Modern Gospel

How long have you been driving for Uber? Just for a little while. I’m actually a musician. But my tour got cancelled. Why’s that? ... I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this... **** The first time I spoke with Trey Pearson was through a rearview mirror. I’ve made it a habit—a pretty natural [...]
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How long have you been driving for Uber?

Just for a little while. I’m actually a musician. But my tour got cancelled.

Why’s that?

… I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this…

****

The first time I spoke with Trey Pearson was through a rearview mirror.

I’ve made it a habit—a pretty natural one as a storyteller—of chatting up my drivers since Uber took over the city’s social bus driver role, and there’s been plenty to dig into. The retired Air Force officer who smelled like Drakkar Noir. The catering chef who let me sing Lauryn Hill songs with her on my birthday. The out-of-town cop making weekend money to stash away for his daughter’s college fund. None stuck with me the way Trey did.
Just a few minutes before I departed for some assorted happy hour, Trey, arching his neck and speaking once more into the rearview, said something that bounced around in my head for the rest of the night, and to be honest, for several months after:
“I’m gay, and one of the only people who knows is my wife.”
On the balance, a story of a man coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out of the closet is no bombshell, especially not in a progressive city such as Columbus—but Trey wasn’t just a musician—he was a bona fide rock star.

Since 1997, he’s been the core of Everyday Sunday, a highly successful alternative outfit who’s sold hundreds of thousands of records, scored multiple #1 singles on the national radio charts, toured all 50 states and 20 countries, and signed to a reputable label in Nashville.

A Christian label.

We’ve taken pride in the carefully curated stories that appear in (614) Magazine every month, but in some cases, the story chooses you. Over the next five months, Trey and I maintained contact, sometimes just to play arcade games or have a beer and watch the Cavs, both aware that we had been placed in each other’s path for a reason.

With me, Trey is not a rock star; he’s an articulate man in his early 30s, not only confronting his own sexuality and how it will affect his family, but also shedding part of a persona he’s been maintaining for almost two decades, on stage and off.

This is not a normal story. Trey and I decided to tell this story together, for him to come out not just to his family and a handful of friends, but to the masses—where he could become a model and mentor for thousands in his musical flock still searching for acceptance and clarity within their faith.
Days before this article was printed, he walked into my office, and through tears, read me a copy of the letter he carefully penned for those closest to him, his words fragile and bold at the same time; a declaration of freedom for a man trapped in a life that wasn’t fully his to lead.

Here in these pages are passages from that letter, backed with Trey’s own perspective on coming to terms with it all.

“Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are. These last several months have been the hardest—but also have ended up being the most freeing months—of my life. To make an extremely long story short, I have come to be able to admit to myself, and to my family, that I am gay.”

TP: There is a weight that has been lifted, and I have never felt so free. I cannot even believe the joy and lightness I feel from being able to accept myself, and love myself, for who I truly am … but I have also lost some of the closest people in my life. I have felt betrayal by people I loved a lot, and cared so much about. I have had some church people act like the worst people I have ever experienced in my life. I have some people in my life who I have felt a shift in the way they love me, and the way they see me. I want to be loved for who I am, not in spite of who I am. I’m starting over in so many ways. It is freeing, but it’s also starting out lonely.

Trey Edits-7

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

“I grew up in a very conservative Christian home where I was taught that my sexual orientation was a matter of choice, and had put all my faith into that. I had never before admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone to anyone else. I never wanted to be gay. I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence.  I’ve tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two.”

Part of me feels guilty about it. But I wouldn’t change it. So much of me has so much heartache that I couldn’t grow up loving myself for who I am. I could not accept myself. I was so scared that God would hate me. That all of the people I loved wouldn’t see me the same way. I couldn’t allow being gay to be an option. I just hoped and prayed, with everything in me, that I could just be straight—that I could be attracted to women, and that it would all work. I tried. I have two kids. I wouldn’t trade everything in the world for them. They are a huge part of how I have made it through all of this. They are everything to me.

“I had always romanticized the idea of falling in love with a woman; and having a family had always been my dream. In many ways, that dream has come true. But I have also come to realize a lot of time has passed in my life pushing away, blocking out and not dealing with real feelings going on inside of me. I have tried not to be gay for more than 20 years of my life. I found so much comfort as a teen in 1 Samuel 18-20 and the intimacy of Jonathan and David. I thought and hoped that such male intimacy could fulfill that void I felt in my desire for male companionship. I always thought if I could find these intimate friendships, then that would be enough.Then I thought everything would come naturally on my wedding night. I honestly had never even made out with a girl before I got married. Of course, it felt anything but natural for me. Trying not to be gay, has only led to a desire for intimacy in friendships, which pushed friends away, and it has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed. When Lauren and I got married, I committed to loving her to the best of my ability, and I had the full intention of spending the rest of my life with her. Despite our best efforts, however, I have come to accept that there is nothing that is going to change who I am.”

Lauren… Lauren is a beautiful soul. I love her so much, and I am so grateful to have been able to see her grow the way she has. We were on a journey together, and she was always willing to follow me, in my journey of faith, questions and exploring. I think we have both grown so much in the last 10 years together, and being married for 7 and a half of those. And when I needed her in this, she was able to hug me, and cry, and tell me how proud of me she was for being able to be honest with myself. I knew then it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, or did to me. I knew then that I had been set free.

I am never going to be able to change how I am, and no matter how healthy our relationship becomes, it’s never going to change what I know deep down: that I am gay. Lauren has been the most supportive, understanding, loving and gracious person I could ever ask for, as I have come to face this. And now I am trying to figure out how to co-parent while being her friend, and how to raise our children.

I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other gay people before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me how I am until I could come to terms with it first.

I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.

So many of us live in fear. Most of the time it is fear of what we don’t know or understand. As much as I love Jesus, it is hard to see white, male pastors instill this fear of ignorance—who won’t even have the humility to have the conversation, to try and understand, when they don’t realize how damaging what they are doing is for so many people. It’s so easy when you have never had to be the minority, or the oppressed, or haven’t had to know what it’s like to not be able to be who you are. Maybe it is your church, your family, or your culture where you live that keeps you living in fear. But it’s not honest. That’s what creates the bubble so many people hate about church: the lack of honesty when it comes to questions about faith. The vast majority of people are tired of that. Faith can be a beautiful thing. But it has to start with honesty.

Trey Edits-22

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Part II – Looking Forward

How would you like to characterize what brought you to this moment? 

Being gay was never an option for me. I knew I had attractions. I knew how difficult it was for Lauren and me. But I never allowed myself to dwell on it. I knew I had a family, including my unbelievable kids. So I just had decided it was good enough, the way things were. I thought I could continue to find a way to make it work. I kept hoping it would get better, even though it had been seven and half years. Apparently, friends that I have been close to over the years have thought that I was gay, but no one ever talked to me about it. Think about that. No one has, lovingly, ever said, “Trey, do you think you might be gay”? That is part of what I mean by the lack of honesty so much of the church creates. It’s so taboo to talk about it. And we just think we were told it wasn’t natural, so we hope it just goes away.

I found one of your old tweets expressing sympathy over a gay teen telling her Christian parents they were gay. Years before your coming out, that part of your heart, does that play into why you feel a willingness to come out in such a public way? As a follow-up, do you think despite more overall acceptance and love toward the LGBTQ community within the Christian community there is still a dangerous level of rejection that can lead to self-harm, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.?

Part of it may stem from my own realization of how difficult my journey was going to be once I got married, but I honestly think it comes to deeper parts of my faith journey, my understanding of God and Jesus, that had allowed me to accept and affirm gay people as loved, children of God, made in God’s image, years ago. I know this is how God made me, and I am proud of who I am. I know there is nothing I can do to change it. Because I have worked through so many of these questions before accepting this for myself, I feel like it has made it that much easier for me to get through this, know that I am loved by God, and want to be a voice to tell others that they are as well. It feels like a calling. And it is the thing in our culture that must change, just like so many things have had to change before in culture, and in the church, from slavery to women’s rights … this is the pressing issue of our time. People commit suicide over this. People lose family and friends because of the ignorance, and lack of acceptance. I am a part of this, I have been a victim of this, and I will speak out for the equal rights of all people.

I also saw one of your quotes in another interview, where you reference a “system in place to sell albums [that] has a very narrow view of belief that they want to promote to their consumers.” Does this story and moving forward in your music give you a chance to change or affect that?

I don’t know. I never liked the formula of what record labels were looking for in the Christian music industry to sell albums. I feel like we always tried to be true to who we wanted to be. And I still want to do that. Be true to who I am, and what kind of music I want to do. I never wanted to just make music for Christians, or Christian radio, but I have always wanted to be honest in my music. A lot of being honest in my music is talking about my faith, but it’s also talking about all kinds of other things. I plan to continue to do all of that. I realize a lot of gate holders in that industry may want to never play my songs again, due to fear—but I also think the world is changing—and I think there are a lot of people out there that want to be a part of this conversation. So, wherever people are willing to listen to my music and my story, I will go.

Did any of these things ever find their way into your lyrics? Is that something you can reflect on now, whether you were trying to find some meaning between art, self, and church?

In these last several months, it is very interesting for me to go back and listen to my own lyrics on a lot of my songs. I can recognize my own pain and searching in many of the songs that very much have to do with what I am coming to accept in my own life now.

Do you worry about what the fans will say? How many among them do you think may be grappling with the same crisis of self and faith, whether to do with sexuality or not?

No. I think anyone who wants to get honest with themselves will be willing to listen and will try to understand. I think most people are grappling with the same crisis of self and faith. Most young people leave the church out of high school; a lot of these people you talk to will tell you about the god they were handed, that they can’t believe in. And when you hear the stories of the way they were taught to believe in God, you realize that’s not a god you could believe in either.

It’s been an intense six months for Trey Pearson. He is making room for “normal” life priorities—like finding time to see the new Captain America movie at the renovated Grandview Theatre down the street from his new place. Now, faced with a new life—in addition to being a single dad, facing a new romantic world—he’s working on a new album, and this month he’ll play one of the most meaningful shows of his life, headlining Columbus Pride. In the meantime, his faith continues to evolve, not unlike the letter he’s been writing and re-writing since coming to accept himself as a gay Christian man. The last few lines from his letter tell us that he, is beyond anything, hopeful

In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m gay; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.

I hope people will hear my heart, and that I will still be loved. I’m still the same guy, with the same heart, who wants to love God and love people with everything I have. This is a part of me I have come to be able to accept, and now it is a part of me that you know as well. I trust God to help love do the rest.

I’m not worried. I’m free. I feel like there is nothing to hide, and there is nothing left to fear. No one can do anything to me, because I have experienced this freedom, and it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. I hope more and more people can find the freedom to be honest with me as I continue to tell my story.

Everyday Sunday will be headlining the 35th annual Columbus Pride Festival on Friday, June 17 at 8:45 p.m. in Goodale Park. For more info, visit columbuspride.org. For more of Pearson’s music, visit treypearson.com and follow @treypearson on Twitter.

 

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Dig. Shuffle. Click.

Dig: Brujas del Sol, II You could certainly make the case that this column makes overuse of the term “psychedelia,” if only because many of the bands that fortify the Columbus underground dabble with elements that, as much as “punk,” deem them psychedelic. But few of those same bands wear it as their tried and [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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Dig: Brujas del Sol, II

You could certainly make the case that this column makes overuse of the term “psychedelia,” if only because many of the bands that fortify the Columbus underground dabble with elements that, as much as “punk,” deem them psychedelic. But few of those same bands wear it as their tried and true emblem (EYE is the only other I can imagine)—trying to conjure transcendence in wide swaths of cinematic atmosphere, endlessly entangled guitars, liberal use of reverb and flange, and a sonic propensity to paint deserts, oceans, space, with infinite horizons. Contrary to the ethos that music must be instantly inspired, or captured as lightning in a bottle, the psychedelic warriors of Brujas del Sol have been surgical in the creation of their sophomore album, the five years in the making II. The record is an object of monolithic heft, each song a journey unto itself, even when the quartet has chosen to reel in some of their unyielding tendencies to focus on actual pop songs, wherein “Fringe of Senility” could pass as Boy-era U2 and “White Lights” might confuse a Muse fan or two.

Those highlights, led by guitarist Adrian Zambrano’s faithful charge, actually make the headier, indulgent tracks more enjoyable. It’s a balance that Zambrano and bassist Derrick White—the group’s founders—discovered in their recruitment of drummer Josh Oswald and multi-instrumentalist Phillip Reed. Along with the studio wizardry of Relay’s Jon Fintel, the Sun Witches get both brutally and beautifully epic on the lead “Teenage Hitchhiker” and especially in “Sisterlace,” which switches quite magnificently between Pink Floydian dream-sequences and pure desert rock scrums. Zambrano makes use of most every edge and corner the battery provides, sometimes even bouncing his melodies around as if it were a smooth jazz station in some alternate universe. For those who like their post-rock instrumental albums, embellished with Sabbathy tones and the occasional spectral vocals, II is a engrossing trip few Columbus bands would have the patience to make.

Brujas del Sol will celebrate the release of II with a show 11.9 at Rumba Cafe. Visit brujasdelsol.bandcamp.com for music and more info.

Shuffle: Matt Umland, Blind Portrait

It might be cheating to include Matt Umland’s latest trio of songs in this column, as Umland, a member of our Class of 2017, has since moved to Baltimore to further his career as a one-man soul machine, and Blind Portrait, his finest work to date, was recorded in his new Charm City studio. For one last hurray though, we will claim him as our own, as the uniquely crafted synth workouts and layered harmonies of the once Tin Armor co-frontman, was the product of a void Umland found in Columbus music—namely, honest-to-goodness, R&B pop. Fitting then Glenn Davis, the genius mind of Way Yes, was responsible for mixing the release, and lending all production talents to the standout, “Small Senses.”

For those familiar with the sonic flora and fauna that encapsulates the wildly colorful Way Yes, “Small Senses” is a pop revelation, accented with breezy arpeggios, Muzak-inspired presets, and the Umland’s angelic voice (imagine a space between the twee of Ben Gibbard and the ’70s earnestness of Kenny Loggins). Umland’s appreciation of those yacht rock heroes and the glitchy lushness of intelligent dance music combine for an effect that shuns irony, or even hipness, but does so unashamedly. Instead, he’s making tunes that  “explore the grandeur of love in its simplest forms,” whether that’s caffeinated bedroom jams like “Hold Me,” or the lilting near-Josh Groban balladry of “Time Beyond Me.” For Columbus it’s farewell for now, but for the rest of the world it will be hard not to smile.

Visit mattumland.bandcamp.com to hear the Blind Portrait EP and for more information.

Click: Brat Curse , “Coloured by Paranoia”

I made sure to run it past the CEO of Brat Curse, Brian Baker, before referring to his band as the real-life version of a Hanna Barbera outfit animated for a Scooby Doo episode. Brat Curse’s latest video for “Coloured By Paranoia,” the first single from their long-gestating second album (released early next year on Anyway Records), is entirely inspired by the goofy, non-sequitur, hijinks of the Monkees or Banana Splits. A green-screen smorgasboard, of your above-average,  hard-working, blue-collar (Baker pleasantly reeks of Dayton, Ohio) American band, touring in the van, synchronizing jazz-hands, boofing for the camera, the clip revamps the ideals of ’80s public-access vids. The song itself is definitely an evolution from Brat Curse’s 2015 self-titled debut. The recent addition of Joe Camerlengo, who himself has been called a human Pikachu, rubs some of his own Van Dale musk over the proceedings, and some of the fuzz is removed to make way for a punchier, catchier, romp.

Visit bratcurse.bandcamp.com to hear the new single and a for a link to the outrageous video.

 

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Craft Beer’s New Groove

Why would anyone in their right mind open another neighborhood bar or record joint in a city already brimming with both? Ask Troy Stacy, the owner of Craft & Vinyl, an endeavor that is deliberately neither, nor does it pretend to be. Yet it combines the essential elements of each into an entirely new experience [...]
J.R. McMillan

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Why would anyone in their right mind open another neighborhood bar or record joint in a city already brimming with both?

Ask Troy Stacy, the owner of Craft & Vinyl, an endeavor that is deliberately neither, nor does it pretend to be. Yet it combines the essential elements of each into an entirely new experience fine-tuned for local beer aficionados and audiophiles alike.

It’s not a bar that sells LPs, nor a record store that serves beer. It’s a kindred cultural convergence that combines a craft beer counter, new and used vinyl, and a recording studio conveniently under one roof.

“There wasn’t a place that brought all three of these ideas together,” explained Stacy, whose inspiration was well informed by a career in marketing and the music industry. “We live in a digital universe, but there is still a craving for something tactile.”

Vinyl is visceral. Even as records have emerged as the fastest growing segment of music sales, capturing the charm of a record store without the musty smell and dingy décor that are almost synonymous was no easy feat. But tip too far in the opposite direction and you end up with the vintage vibe of a deservedly defunct Sam Goody.

Stacy had the right idea. He just needed to find the right place and the right space.

“I had four or five target areas, but Grandview was always my first choice,” he recalled. “But I almost leased the space that became Brewdog in the Short North. They got it right out from under me.”

Music folklore is full of happy accidents, and losing that spot for something better could be among them. The former consignment shop that was once home to an old hardware store offered weathered floors, high ceilings, and instant credibility.

“We built it to look and feel more like an art gallery. People who collect vinyl also collect it for the cover art,” Stacy said. “It’s not just a music medium.”

The “Mosaic Wall” stretches 30 feet and five records high with classic and contemporary albums, many 180-gram pressings or “heavy vinyl,” preferred by collectors for durability and fidelity. Here you’ll find seminal releases from The Stones to The Stooges and everything in-between.

Used inventory fills the “Vinyl Salon” in oversized wooden bins complemented by a lounge with a couple of leather sofas at the end and a long, bar-height table in the middle with enough stools and space to make the experience equal parts shopping and social. Flipping through stacks searching for those hidden gems is a two-handed job. That’s why you’ll find cleverly placed cup holders spaced every few feet to park your pint.

“The idea came from a very practical place. I was stocking the bins, holding a beer, and had nowhere to put it,” he confessed. “They’re actually just RV cup holders, but everyone gets a kick out of them.” (Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention would surely approve.)

Despite their resurgence in popularity, selecting the right records to sell has become evermore crucial in the age of eBay and Amazon. Stacy was smart and thankful to enlist veteran vinyl proprietor Mike “Pepe” Depew as a mentor, whose experience at Ace in the Hole Music Exchange and the Record Connection dates back decades.

“I started buying records from Pep when I was 15,” Stacy revealed. “Anytime you start a business there are bumps in the road and painful learning. He took me under his wing and helped me avoid a lot of those mistakes.”

Extending the gallery metaphor are concert posters and handbills designed by prolific local artist Mike Martin, whose limited edition screen printing and illustration style echo an earlier era, and the depth and breadth of Craft & Vinyl’s selection. From folk to funk and soul to swing, add the black and yellow punches of color to the warm wooden accents, and Jack White would feel right at home. Even the pinball machines are on-brand for a place that seems like one giant analog anachronism defiant of all things digital—with one deft exception.

“Lots of musicians go to record stores and hang out. That’s often where collaborations first come together,” he explained. “I wanted to create a place where that inspiration isn’t lost by having a recording studio just steps away. There’s nothing like it in Columbus.”

In addition to hourly studio rental—including a collection of guitars, basses, vocal microphones, and a drum kit—Stacy offers monthly packages for musicians interested in more frequent access, one of several subscription options that distinguish Craft & Vinyl as a place where music is played and made.

“One of the ideas we’re working on is a ‘Flight School’ where once a month you’ll come in to try four to six beers from a specific brewer paired with a classic album listening experience and a new album listening experience,” he noted.

Though the smallest section of the store in square footage, that craft beer counter right as you walk through the door is definitely the social glue that binds the whole operation together, and the most unique draw for foot traffic and local buzz. The novel mix of stacks of wax and craft on draft was enough to intrigue distributors before they even opened.

“The relationship with Great Lakes Brewing was really interesting because they reached out to us,” Stacy recalled. “They approached us and said they wanted to serve their Turntable Pils here. That eventually turned into a conversation about doing a collaborative vinyl album together.”

Also available as event space, new ideas continue to surface now that more folks can take it in and suggest additional opportunities and potential. The concept was always considered an evolving prototype for future locations.

“People tend to tell you what they want,” Stacy explained. “I’m here to listen.•

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InnerVision

Sam Shepherd and Genene Blackwell didn’t come into this world together. But they’ve navigated much of their lives since then as an inseparable pair. Both born prematurely and with significant visual impairments, the duo were in the same NICU at the same time, began preschool together, started piano lessons together, rode the same bus, marched [...]
Aaron Wetli

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Sam Shepherd and Genene Blackwell didn’t come into this world together.

But they’ve navigated much of their lives since then as an inseparable pair.

Both born prematurely and with significant visual impairments, the duo were in the same NICU at the same time, began preschool together, started piano lessons together, rode the same bus, marched together in the world’s only blind marching band, graduated together, and would eventually collaborate with their band InnerVision. They are as intertwined as two individuals can be, and like Adams and Jefferson or Bird and Magic, it is impossible to tell one of their stories without telling the other.

For those unfamiliar, Innervisions (1973) is also the name of arguably the most famous and critically-acclaimed album of Stevie Wonder’s career. Naming their band in the vein of this album makes sense as Sam and Genene share their love of funk, soul, rock, and jazz with Wonder, along with their visual impairments.

Trying to make a living in Columbus as a musician has enough hurdles, but try adding being blind to the mix. It’s not like Sam or Genene can drive, and public transportation in this city —especially pertaining to those with disabilities—is sorely lacking. With the help of grandparents and parents, who double as managers, the duo have been playing the summer festival circuit. They’ve been making appearances in Columbus and beyond at Plum Run Winery (Grove City), Buckeye Lake Winery (Thornville), Tucci’s (Dublin). Mudflats (Galena), and Notes (Downtown).

Their long-term goals are humble. Sam stands firmly in practicality. He wants to build a life upon his craft.

“I want to make enough to pay the bills and make a living,” he said.

Genene’s response is closer to the heart. She wants to “bring joy to people’s hearts through my music,” she said. Those may be the least pretentious statements made by any musician. In the history of the world. Ever.

I was lucky enough to recently watch an InnerVision show at Oliver’s, a hidden gem of a downtown restaurant, where live blues is performed on Friday and Saturday nights. I asked the duo if they get butterflies before live performances. But Sam takes it in stride.

”Sometimes not being able to see the crowd is good for stage fright,” he said.

Well played, sir. Well played.

The dimly lit and intimate venue and motif was perfect for the duo as they seamlessly transitioned between blues, jazz, soul, rock, and pop covers. They touched on all the standards: “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Unchain My Heart,” “Hound Dog,” and “Summertime.” The crowd, along with the waitstaff and bartenders, were bewitched with InnerVision’s musical chops and entertained by Sam’s witty banter with audience members.

To put it bluntly, InnerVision is a well-oiled machine. Genene rocks the keys and Sam, who handles most of the vocals, jumps between guitar, bongos, trombone, and harmonica. InnerVision isn’t a couple of acoustic frat bros fumbling through a local open mic night; they are musical prodigies who take no prisoners and kill the audience with kindness.

And I don’t think the term prodigy is hyperbolic as both musicians can hear a piece of music once or twice and have it mastered (instrument, lyrics, vocals) within 30 minutes. Their only assistance is the occasional YouTube tutorial or bouncing ideas off each other.

When asked to name their favorite artists, Genene is decisive:

“Adele and Alicia Keys. Those two are the best.”

Sam is a little more traditional with favorites such as Rush, Pink Floyd, Sam Cooke, and Aaron Neville. The influence of classics come from his dad; his soul comes from inside.

However, in true InnerVision fashion, the duo put their own touches on contemporary hits. When you catch them live, ask them to perform their stripped-down, bluesy version of the Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” This cover alone is worth the price of admission.

Despite their visual impairments, Sam and Genene are like many other 27 year-olds and enjoy going to the gym, checking social media, listening to music and watching superhero movies. Unlike other 27 year-olds, their lives are significantly impacted by their disabilities, but not so much that they are giving up their dream of playing live music for a living.

What exactly can be attributed to InnerVision’s seamless on stage chemistry? Maybe it is their cosmic connection and the fact that they have known each other for the entirety of their 27 years? Maybe it’s the fact that they are brother and sister in every way except biologically? Maybe they share a bond that only persons with disabilities can share?

What I do know is that you should go see them live. Sam and Genene don’t need your pity or charity. They, like all Columbus musicians, need your attention, social media likes and cover charges. Actually, just go ahead and book them for the next event you are hosting. You will get three hours of world class musicianship from two people who are making their way by letting their inner lights shine. •

You can catch multiple InnerVision shows this month, from Worthington to Gahanna to Lewis Center. For more, visit innervisionmusic.com.

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