Saturday, January 27, 2007

Akron, Ohio - Midwest Musical Mecca

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Akron, Ohio has more to offer musically than you would ever have guessed. Hitting the scene most recently with the success of NBA superstar LeBron James, the Akron area is a hotbed of artistic talent buried in a little city 40 miles south of Cleveland, and the reason you don't know about it is because you are ignorant. You're willing to put your life in the hands of the Goodyear Rubber Co. (headquartered in Akron) everytime you get behind the wheel, but I doubt that you give my hometown the respect it deserves when it comes to turning on the CD player in that vehicle.

Maybe you've never heard of the Eagles. Yes, THE Eagles, the ones who brought us Desperado, Hotel California and Life In The Fast Lane. Also, to my knowledge, the only band to have 6 members, 5 of whom play guitar, and the other one (the drummer) who sings on most of the songs. Well, one of those guitarists - the creme de la creme - is a guy named Joe Walsh. And don't pretend you've never rolled the windows down and blasted Rocky Mountain Way as you pulled through the Taco Bell drive-thru in Twinsburg, OH. So, you know who I'm talking about.

Joe Walsh, after a nomadic youth, ended up at Kent State University, just 15 miles from downtown Akron. There he launched the musical career that would eventually land him in The Eagles and secure his place in rock and roll history - and in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (The Hall of Fame, by the way, is not so far away in Cleveland, Ohio.)

But Joe Walsh is not just a one-dimensional character. He's not only a brilliant guitarist and songwriter, but a politician as well. In the 80s Joe ran for President on the platform of "Free Gas for All." Take that Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and the rest of the Detroit losers.

Here's a track that you like. You probably already have it, and if you don't there's something wrong with your music library. So, ignore Jeffrey Lebowski and enjoy some of Joe W's guitar licks. And thank the Akron, OH area.


The music coming out of Akron didn't die with classic rock, however. More recently, a duo from Akron's mean streets have put out a few albums that have put Akron back on the map. Two college drop-outs, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, were working, as their website's bio puts it, "mowing lawns for a slumlord" in Akron, OH when they almost accidentally formed The Black Keys. Five albums (more or less) later, they have established themselves as a formidable rock duo that can hang with the White Stripes any day of the week.

At the heart of it, these guys have soul. This is not some sort of soul "considering that they're lanky white guys" or "considering that their from Akron, OH". This is the real deal.

Minnesota might have Bob Dylan- but Minnesota does not have soul. Not like these two gentlemen do. The attached track is probably the best example of what the Black Keys can do. This is the kind of song that Clapton should do...but might not even do this well. Midnight Is In Her Eyes. Dig it.


Finally, there's one up and coming band that you should keep your eyes on. They're called The Huckleberry Flynns and they have some real potential. This, like The Black Keys, is a duo that was formed more by chance than by design. The lead singer is from the East Coast, but the guitarist is from a town 15 miles outside of Akron.

This is the album cover of their EP Live in Rathmines, IE. It was a two track release, but one of those songs, A Lost Duet, is a phenomenal first effort for this duo. Sadly, much like the title implies, I can not find the file on my computer right now.

I promise to look for the song and add it to this post at a later date. It's an excellent track and this is an exciting young band that I will certainly keep you up to date on their whereabouts

So, in closing, stop the disrespect of Akron, OH. If you don't LeBron will dunk on you.

I'll leave you with one from a little lady from northeast Ohio that you may have heard of.



Little Dynamite said...

i can tell the Huckleberry Flynns are going to be successful, but they'll break up much too soon due to an argument between the guitarist and lead singer over whose look is "edgier."

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Chrissy Hynde, Devo, Marilyn Manson, and Glen Buxton of the Alice Cooper Band...