Put-in-Bay is bringing bluegrass, new grass, folk, zydeco and rhythm & blues to island visitors free this spring as we kick off 2017 with the first Put-in-Bay Music Festival on Saturday, June 10, at Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island. “The music festival continues Perry’s Victory’s ongoing celebration of peace through music at the National Park,” said Park Superintendent Barbara Fearon. “We’re looking forward to hosting this event annually at the park.”
This year’s Put in Bay Music Festival line-up includes Strung Like a Horse, Emily Keener, Mo’Mojo, The Floorwalkers, JP and the Chatfield Boys, The Flyin Jays, The Oh Chays and Put-in-Bay Anthem songwriter and singer Bob Gatewood. Each act will perform 45 minutes to an hour or more. Bob Gatewood, who wrote “Friends of the Bay,” will act as MC.
A huge shout out and thank you to the Miller Ferry Boatline for their support and dedication, not just to this event but to the many Put-in-Bay island events that they are actively engaged in assisting and promoting!
Strung Like a Horse
Clay Maselle says he surrounded himself with more “Hillbilly Misfits” who all love to “pick” and Strung Like a Horse was born. The band, based in Chattanooga, TN, performs its signature version of gypsy grass sound and delights audiences with a fiery hot high energy stage show. Maselle plays acoustic guitar, mandolin and kazoo and is the band’s lead vocalist. He is joined by upright bass player and soaring harmonist BJ Hightower, drums and bells percussionist Crispy and fiddler Spooky Fiddler.
Mo’Mojo bills itself as a hard driving, high energy, “Pardi-Gras” Band. The female fronted Zydeco band sing in both English and French and Mo’Mojo features three-part harmonies, accordion, fiddle, guitar, rubboard, sax, trumpet, harp, bass, percussion, and drums. Mo’Mojo takes Zydeco music and infuses it with Americana, Cajun, reggae, rock & roll, funk, R&B, and African and Latin rhythms. The band has played many festival, clubs and has toured internationally. Mo’Mojo represents an American Art Form with Zydeco music and the band focuses on both performances and workshops developed for all ages. The six member group includes Jen Maurer on diatonic accordion, guitar and vocals; Leigh Ann Wise on trumpet, rubboard, percussion and vocals; Anthony Papaleo on fiddle, guitar and vocals; Joe Golden on guitar and talk box; Darren Thompson on bass and Will Douglas on drums. Mo’Mojo has released four albums, the most recent “We All Got The Same” was released in early 2015.
The Floorwalkers integrate the full spectrum of American music – country, funk, jazz, pop, rock and soul among a musical kaleidoscope that has made them a popular band in the Columbus area for the past seven years. The six members of this talented band grew up together in Chardon, OH, a Cleveland suburb. They played little league baseball together as children and in high school they traded in their bats for guitars, percussion and a unique style and formed a band When half of the band moved to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University, the other half refused to be left behind. Growing up together in the same Cleveland, Ohio suburb, The Floorwalkers played little league baseball together as children. In high school bats gave way to guitars and the band was formed. When half of the band moved to Columbus to attend OSU the other half followed. The band managed to draw a strong Midwest following, playing 129 consecutive weeks on campus while working on a debut full length album. In November 2010 more than 1,300 fans came out for their first album debut, “The Natural Road.” The Floorwalkers have built a truly grassroots following.
Emily Keener is a seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter from Wakeman, OH. Since her exciting journey into the Top 12 on NBC’s The Voice, Emily has been writing and recording diligently in an effort to capture the energy of this most transformative year. Emily started playing the guitar when she was 11 years old and began writing songs when she was almost 12. A natural curiosity and passion for music quickly got her performing frequently and writing constantly. Almost 6 years later, she has written over 100 original songs and released three EPs and two LPs. Her songs are distinctly original, and the ideas she manages to express in them belie a soul that seems to be much older than seventeen. Before training with renowned vocal coach Joan Ellison and master guitarist Tony Schaffer, Emily was entirely self-taught and thrived on the time she spent locked away with a guitar and a notebook.
JP & The Chatfield Boys
JP & The Chatfield Boys is an Ohio-based national act with variably deep Mid-Western roots and some serious talent. The group couple highly charged original songs with forward thinking covers, while fusing traditional bluegrass with elements of Americana, Jam, Reggae and Modern-Folk. The bands’ sound can seamlessly morph from classic Appalachian into fresh finger picking sound-scapes, and back again. There is an exuded sense of trust between the members on stage that tells the audience that this is where they all have longed to be. JP & The Chatfield Boys’ energetic ability to cater to multi-generational crowds leaves both first time listeners and long time fans yearning for more.
The Flyin Jays
The Flyin Jays are quickly becoming a favorite band on the Lake Erie Islands and Put-in-Bay. Utilizing acoustic instruments with blazing riffs and big vocal harmonies, they create a unique sound all their own. The band plays popular music from the good ole days to current pop hits, all with an island twist. And they don’t just play covers. Their original music is extremely unique and will have you feeling like driving down a country road, or sailing away into the sunset. The Jays are not just an island band. They can be found in bars and pubs as well as fairs and festivals throughout the region.
The Oh Chays
The always surprising, risk-taking, gear-shifting, soul-belting Oh Chays are beholden to no single genre. Currently writing and recording their second album, The Oh Chays are a husband and wife duo raised on trad jazz, rockabilly, gospel, and the Detroit radio of the 70’s and 80’s. Consistently wowing audiences with their versatile musicianship, songwriting, and razor-sharp wit, The Oh Chays are not to be missed live. The duo also lead music workshops and will provide a workshop during the 2017 Put-in-Bay Music Festival on Saturday, June 10.
Bob Gatewood and Calabash started in the Flats of Cleveland in 1985 and quickly became the house band at several clubs, most notably Fagan’s. Within a year, they were also playing the Round House on Put-in-Bay and Sloppy Joe’s in Key West. They were to become the benchmark in all three markets. They set sales records and then broke them the following year. Playing a blend of their own songs and lots of favorites, 150 shows a year turned into 300 as they added the Virginias, the Carolinas and Georgia. Calabash, always a top notch band, has in it’s alumni Chad Szeliga of Breaking Benjamin, and 4-time Academy of Country Music Best Guitarist, Tom Bukovac. But things changed. They tore down the Flats. Three 1,500 mile trips a year to Key West turned into just one. And, there was one place tugging at Gatewood harder than all the rest. So much so, he moved his whole operation up to Put-in-Bay. It was the place where locals and visitors alike always wanted to hear him sing “Friends of the Bay,” a song many call the Put-in-Bay Anthem. Since then, Gatewood still plays solo and tours with Calabash, but mostly just to the other side of the island. The tour bus is mainly a golf cart, but he still kicks out great rock ‘n roll, some his own and some not. He leaves the island for an occasional festival or yacht club gig, but mainly kicks out about a hundred shows a summer on the beloved island community he calls home. Gatewood will also MC this year’s Put-in-Bay Music Festival.