All posts for the month January, 2013

Youngstown singer-songwriter Katianne Timko.

Youngstown singer-songwriter Katianne Timko.

By Joel Anderson (Art and Poetry Editor)

When you think of Youngstown in terms of music scenes, you’re mostly to think of either a rock or a punk scene. But the folk scene is growing stronger and one of the artists leading the way is Katianne Timko. Timko headlined a show at the Lemon Grove recently, I sat down with her to learn more about her roots and what she’s has going on in the future.

How long have you been playing?

I started playing the guitar when I was 18, but I wasn’t good enough A, and I didn’t have the confidence B to play. My first gig was when I was 20 in Kent a J.B’s, which a total whole in the wall but it was a good show. I was so nervous I had to sit, and even though I could play the guitar, I had my friend play all the songs for me. Coz I was just so nervous I thought I would just tip over and I thought I’d screw up. So it was one of those weird shows. But I’ve improved a lot since then.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

I was just talking about this the other day, I have a big three. The first is Alanis Morissette. Because of her lyrics, I think she is so amazing. I take lessons from her. I have her lyrics tattooed on my arm. So I really appreciate her songwriting style. June Carter Cash. I absolutely love, she was hilarious and she always said; because I’m not the best guitar player in the world, but I don’t really try to be; but she always said she was the least musically talented in the Carter family, so she overcompensated by working on her stage presence and her humor. She had these jokes that she would use when she played. And she was just really good at putting on a good show. So I try to learn that from her, but I’m still working on that part. I really appreciate her for that. And Katy Perry is one of my favorites. You saw the lights I had tonight, and I have the big picnic basket merch table. And it’s like an experience. I had flowers at the foot of the stage tonight. And she taught me you can experiment with it and you can have fun with it. And just because I’m singing a bunch of songs, I can decorate it, I can make it cute, I can make it whatever I want. So those are my three biggest idols I would say.

Do you have any influences outside of those three?

Yeah I totally do. I love alt country right now. I love the Foo Fighters. It’s mostly out of respect out of Dave Grohl. He’s such an inspiration because he’s from Warner. I really love Patty Griffin; she’s got really great lyrics. I’m a lyrics girl. So if you write thoughtful lyrics that keep me on my toes and open up my mind a little bit, I love you.

Do you have any projects in the works?

Well we’re looking to make a music video pretty soon. But, with that aside, with the new songs we premiered tonight, I don’t think I’m going to do what I did last time, even though it was great. We recorded the last album in four days and it was done. I think this time we’re going to take our time with and perfect it a little bit more. Come up with a more unique sound we didn’t use on the last record. I’m probably going to go into the studio, ideally, twice a month. And just really hack away at something, and for the rest of the month just think about what I want to do next, so it can be really thought out. Definitely this year there is some major studio time in the works.

Will it be a full length or an EP?

I don’t think it would do me too much good to have a full length right now. I think having an EP works for me. Because I want to send it out to radio stations, I want to send it out to people who can help my music. Producers, booking agents, stuff like that; they don’t listen to more than three songs. I’d rather have a shorter album were everyone knows all the songs and gives them the attention they deserve.

What will the overall sound of the album be?

For the next record, we’re going to try to make it sound like and old Kitty Wells album. She was the first woman Honky Tonk singer. So we’re going to be using a lot of the old microphones the she used. I can’t sing about traditional country music because it doesn’t apply to me, even though I love it.

Are you working on anything other songs for the EP?

We have another song we’ve been working on, but we didn’t want to blow our load all at once. We wanted to keep working on it and maybe play it at the next show. But I’m trying to focus on writing.

For information and future dates, visit



By Joel Anderson (Art and Poetry Editor)

On January 11, 2013, Youngstown mainstay Cedar’s hosted a farewell show from the area’s top two acts, The Zou and Third Class. For 35 years, the club has played host to many original and local acts, and on this night, two of its biggest admires said goodbye the only way they know how, by playing an amazing show.

“We first played at Cedar’s 12 years ago,” said Pepe Parish drummer/bassist for Third Class. “This is our home, whatever becomes of Cedar’s, hopefully, it can still feel like home.”

For Khaled Tabbara, singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist for the Zou, playing Cedar’s was a major goal.

“When I was young it was literally the venue to play at,” said Tabbara, “And we couldn’t get in here because the scene was dominated by metal bands.”

But with time, the scene changed and the Zou got to play Cedar’s when they put together their first Nouveau Rock Music Festival.

“We would get eight bands that could all bring thirty people from all over. Then all of a sudden we could throw a big show here and they liked us,” said Tabbara.

Since then, it has become one of the Zou’s main stop on tour.

“It’s our hometown bar, so it’s always place were return to when we go out on the road and we learn new songs, we bring back here to see if our friends and fans like them as much as we like them,” said Tabbara.

One theme kept popping up while talking to the bands. And that is, the people who visit Cedar’s is what makes Cedar’s.

“There’s always a certain group of people that respond to local music and think of it as legitimate. Look for the bands they really like. They know there are a lot of well-produced bands and well produced acts in Youngstown. Not a lot of people know that, but there’s a core group that needs a place to be, I don’t think it will disperse them, at least for too long. They’ll pop up somewhere,” said Third Class singer/guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter Lee Boyle.

“I think the community this place fostered is more important than the bar itself,” said Murad Shorrab bassist/backup vocalist for The Zou.

“It’s not just a dive bar, which it would be cool if it was, but I really feel like this has always attracted people that are artistic and all the kinds of art in town,” said Tabbara.

For each band, the night was a bittersweet event.

“It’s awesome and awful at the same time. We just feel really nostalgic cause we can’t help but think back on all the times playing here. So it’s awesome to be able to play knowing it’s going to be the last time we’re going to play and it just didn’t happen all of a sudden. So it’s one of those things where it’s great and terrible at the same time,” said Parish.

“I think it’s like a wake for a good friend. There are obviously reasons to be sad and there are obviously reasons to be celebrating,” said Tabbara.

And what a wake it was. The night started off with newcomers Buffalo Ryders. If the White Stripes and The Black Keys had a child, the result would be Buffalo Ryder. The duo from Akron play their own brand of blues rock with distortion drenched guitars a little bit of slide guitar thrown in.

At one point during their set, singer/guitarist Joe Risdon mentioned it was the band’s “First and last show they played at Cedar’s.”

Third Class played next. With their quirky riffs and bouncy bass lines, the band rocked the stage playing a retrospective from all three of their releases. It always amazed me how Boyle could get so many sound’s out of his two string guitar.

Things really kicked off when Parish emerged from backstage with a trash bag during their song, “Party In Your House.” Suddenly, Parish launched the contents of the bag on the crowd, balloons and confetti.

Finally The Zou took the stage. It’s the first time I’ve seen the new line up play a show, and I must say, they were fantastic. With strong vocals, sweet melodies, distorted bass, spacey guitars and hard hitting keyboards, The Zou rocked the crowd with their brand of Indie Rock for 45 minutes.

All the key Zou classics we’re played, “Pinebox”, “Nothing Beats A Hangin’”, “Sleazy”, “They Don’t Make Them (Like They Used To)”, etc.

Even the newer songs they played sounded like they will soon be regarded as classics. Mainly their song Mon dieu, in its sweet serenading 6/8 time signature.

The band announced they will soon be releasing two new EP’s, which delighted everyone in the crowd.

As the night wound down and everyone was piling in their cars and going home, I reflected on something about the show. Third Class opened their set with their song “Blue” which contains the refrain “All I need is you or else I’ll be blue.” And the Zou ended theirs with “Pinebox” with its chorus of “I will feel the same until they lower my pinebox.”

Perhaps it’s my habit of overanalyzing things, but I found this to be beautifully poetic on how each band feels about Cedar’s and their feelings on losing such important partner in their musical career.

Patent Pending

When you return from skulling, blading, hooking,
or slicing your pathetic shot to plant
your sorry, fat ass back on the vinyl seat,
the cart will expel, like a sponged fart,
That’s what I thought, in the
digital voice of the parent of your choice.
Or, When will you learn? And after
you land in the sand, like a worse D-Day,
Quel surprise. This might
catch on, for it plays those
leaden oldies in your head, but out
loud for all the world to hear,
like the voice of an oracle welling
from the deep of the dark cup
as you hover above the endless
two-foot putt for par:
Now, don’t choke as usual,

Guitar Man

He was just another traveling salesman,
oily black hair and Elvis sideburns,
but he somehow formed my five-year-old
fingers into a D chord on the hard frets.
Mother liked him because he was
her type, but even I knew
he was a conman.
Mother liked him.
So those sounds conjured from cat-gut
and a box of balsa wood
may be the reason I one day
actually learned to play, first
on an unturned Sears and Roebuck
Les Paul, and later in a band or two:
you know, a couple of bar gigs
and basement boxes of CDs
that never sold.
Now, past it, I play
only for myself, arthritic fingers
creaking and popping,
but as if someone were really listening.
Door to the den closed,
I’m surprisingly good, maybe
even better than Charlie Byrd,
Eric Clapton, and Chet Atkins
put together.  At least,
that’s what all the women say.
In Greek, Drosophila melanogaster,
one of the few things I remember
from high school, like ontogeny
recapitulates phylogeny, those phrases
from Mr. Westbrook’s biology class
that stuck in the amber of my brain,
I don’t know why.
A grand name for the lowly fruit fly,
but they not only have interesting genes,
apparently, and probably pollinate
the apple trees, like bees (God giving
a purpose to even the puniest of us),
they’re tough little bastards,
came inside with my composter,
and now, with the cold coming on,
have decided they like it here
in the kitchen warmth
with the browning bananas.
Afoot or on the wing, they’re faster
than even my best moves,
like the patented Thunder Clap,
and seem to thrive on lampshade light
and dirty dishes, only the dullards
ever falling into one of my springes,
their little bodies water-winged
and floating face up
in something sticky-sweet.
This tussle may go on all winter
but I plan to win in the end.
But what would happen if they did?
And how, I wonder?
Oh, well, I’m not fruit, nor rotten
yet, so I ain’t gonna worry about it,
except maybe to drink even more
than usual, see if I can grow more acrid
at the last, maybe even turn
to pure vinegar, too sour
to suck, or sprout a new sprig
of apple bough in the spring.