MASSILLON. Home to some of the most historic prep football teams in state history.
Also home to Patrick Sweany who may have never taken one to the house at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Not to worry.
He wasn't destined to remain a rust belt resident which Sweany clearly defines on one of the standout tracks from his indie release, "That Old Southern Drag."
The song is question, "Leave Ohio" isn't a directive toward loyal Buckeye natives, but a personal and likely required mandate to carry on in Sweany's best interests.
Much like east Ohio native Joe Zelek who made an adept business decision relocating to Music City, Sweany now also calls Nashville home.
There, he's shared various stages in that city's rich musical heritage. Just don't compare Sweany with the thousands of cowpokes a-pickin and a-grinnin.'
Somewhere off the beaten path, Sweany aligned with northeast Akron's Dan Auerbach, one-half of The Black Keys.
What makes 'Southern Drag' one of the year's elite records is an element of Keys-like garage-power pop rock, Sweany's impressive songwriting and even more impressive vocals.
Check out his 70s throwback "Rising Tide," one of those songs you swear you've heard only you haven't.
Drag's dozen tracks takes the listener down to the bayou, back to the gritty blues clubs on Chicago's south side and right back to the blue collar factories here in our own back yard.
"Southern Drag" isn't Sweany's first record but one attracting major airplay on public and college radio. Small wonder. Sweany could be elected president of the soul brother's club.
He makes occasional tour stops in the area so first, check out his website: www.patricksweany.com then his live date page.
Sweany's backing band on the new record includes: Tim Marks (bass); Clint Parris (keys); and Adam Abrashoff (drums).
Additional kudos for producer Joe V. McMahan who contributes no bells and whistles, presenting Sweany in an effective stripped-down studio setting.
McMahan has worked similar magic with many of Nashville's highly-touted roots-rockers including Allison Moorer, Webb Wilder and Mike Farris.
IN Sweany's bio, his music is compared to the likes of Bobby 'Blue' Bland, Joe Cocker, and a pair of Heritage Music Bluesfest vets Bob Margolin and G.E. Smith.....All legit.....
WHAT a concept! A new record featuring original material from Neal McCoy, a Jamboree in the Hills mainstay.
McCoy, who had a string of top 40 hits in the 70s, is set to release 'XII" this coming January. The new collection of songs is being co-produced by Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Brent Rowan.
His live show, particularly each July at the Super Bowl of Country Music, has become legendary, driven in large part by a definitive connection with the crowd.
It stands to reason, McCoy will be invited back for next summer's 36th annual Jambo where he'll likely perform songs from the new CD, out of Cleveland-based Blaster Records.
"Having Miranda and Blake involved in this project is huge for me," McCoy said from his Nashville-based PR firm.
"Not only do they have great vision, but they know when to have fun and when to get serious along with being fantastic musicians."
McCoy's first single off the new disc is titled'A-OK" and debuts on national radio next month.....
PITTSBURGH'S Carnegie Music Hall hosts one of the finest singer-songwriters on the circuit tonight. John Hiatt headlines with Big Head Todd & The Monsters opening the all-ages show at 7:30. Hiatt is out in support of his recently released New West Records CD "Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns."
Hiatt and his band will play Cleveland's House of Blues on the 21st....
LATER this month, northern California singer/songwriter Jackie Greene performs at Pittsburgh's Altar Bar on the 29th.. That same evening, pop music icon Jackson Browne has an all ages show at the Steel City's storied venue, Heinz Hall....
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org