Paying It Forward: A Musical Thread Trilogy

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November 3, 2013 by Jay Minkin

Image  This month’s liner notes is giving props and many thanks to a couple of local singer/songwriters and a new performance space that seem to go above and beyond the call of duty.


You can hear a sampling of the talent playing at the corner bar or coffee house on Zach Freidhof’s most recent album Provenance.  For those that don’t know Zach, it’s more than about the music.  His passionate heart helps make a difference with his Evening for Chuck, a fundraiser dedicated to his father who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, along with being a co-founder of the Akron Peace Project.  The new record includes eighteen other artists with local connections whom either co-wrote or performed one of their original songs with Zach.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the CD will go into an endowment fund dedicated to promoting non-violence programs.  Zach’s mantra is that we truly must be the change we wish to see.  Some of the outstanding performers who lent their talent to this project include Charlie Mosbrook, Colin John, David Ullman, Emma Shepard, Kristine Jackson, Rachel Roberts, Ryan Humbert, Randi Driscoll, Maurice Martin, TM Gottl, Charlie Trenta, Diana Chittester, and Scott FranklinZach and his band The Bright Lights are working on a new record of socially conscious songs titled Antidote that is scheduled for a December release. To purchase the album, find out where Zach will be playing, or to make a charitable donation to the Love Initiative Fund, visit his web page at


Brent Kirby, also part of the Provenance project, holds a weekly 10 X 3 singer/songwriter showcase at Brothers Lounge in Cleveland.  For over two years, Kirby has hosted an opportunity for performers to play two original songs and one cover; sometimes with a theme like Gram Parsons on November 6th and Bob Dylan on the 27th.  Besides Zach, Kirby also makes a living as a full time musician who plays in The Jack Fords, Hey Mavis, and performs with the winter holiday ensemble Ohio City Singers.  Not only can Kirby be found out performing solo or with parts of his own band The Lost Fortunes, he also headlines the Parson’s songbook laced New Soft Shoe at The Happy Dog on the second Thursday of the month.  Click for his latest schedule of events.


Both Zach and Brent Kirby have performed at the historic G.A.R. Hall in the small hamlet of Peninsula whose crossroads can be found in the heart of the Cuyahoga valley.  This past Friday evening, the candle burned bright as I finally made my way to one of the Voices in the Valley performances.  This particular Peninsula Valley Foundation celebration of performing arts event literally transcended time as Alex Bevan, Charlie Wiener, Jon Mosey, and Jim Ballard performed a songwriter showcase.  Some thirty-eight year ago, I was a sixteen year old driving north from Canton to Uniontown to a dulcimer/guitar shop called Boulder Junction that would have acoustic entertainment on weekend nights.   The forever young Bevan, Wiener, and Ballard played there regularly and became part of the fabric which drives my musical passion.  Besides singing an original composition, the songwriters were emotionally touched as each had one of theirs performed by the other three to the point of holding back tears.  One of the many feel good moments was Bevan singing “Save Me A Place”, a song Ballard wrote upon hearing the death of Boulder Junction alum John Bassette, and rolling it into the iconic Bassette song “Hessler Street”.  To keep up with the latest Voices In The Valley schedule, click onto their web page or “Like” them on Facebook.

So wherever you live, go out and support your local singer/songwriters that are working hard crafting original music and following their dreams.  They are out every evening somewhere playing for you and appreciate the love, support, and affirmation.  You will leave with memories that may last you a lifetime …


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