The beauty and versatility of the guitar will be on full display when Waynesville Music launches a new season of its guitar series with Indiana native Bryce Mullins on Saturday, March 11.
The intimate concerts, which have a 30-seat capacity, also features Drew Gibson on April 15, McKinley James on May 13, Haunted Like Human on June 3 and Hiroya Tsukamoto on September 23. Greg Harrison will perform at a date to be determined.
“We have a lot of variety,” said series co-organizer Alan Fark. “Bryce Mullins is fingerstyle and Drew Gibson is kind of a singer-songwriter. McKinley James is electric blues. Greg Harrison is more of a shredder who apparently plays with loops and then we’re back to fingerstyle with Hiroya Tsukamoto.”
“The level of the musicianship and artistry is really high,” added Steve Johnson, owner of Waynesville Music. “These are people who are professional musicians. They’re used to being on stage so they can draw people in with their personalities, which has been really cool. We’re trying to get more people to know about it, to see what the experience is like. If we get exposure, people will see what a value it is and how good the concerts are.”
Check out Bryce Mullins performing “Cask Strength,” the title track to his 2022 album.
“We’re excited to have Bryce back at the store,” said Fark. He’s the first guy we had play here. He’s very personable and he’s a great storyteller. He plays stuff people want to hear and he’s an amazing picker in the style of Chet Atkins or Tommy Emmanuel.”
Tickets for Saturday’s concert are $15 in advance and at the door.
Credit: CONTRIBUTED BY DON THRASHER
Credit: CONTRIBUTED BY DON THRASHER
“This is a real value for $15,” said Johnson. “We have refreshments and food. The acoustics are really good in there. It’s real intimate and personal. You can feel close to the artists. We have a really good audience that really appreciates the music so the artists get a good response.”
Back in action
The guitar series, which began in 2019, is back for its second official year. The 2020 installment was scheduled but became a casualty of not just the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns but also another tragedy. Evan Twitty was scheduled to open the second series on February 22, but the young guitarist from Indiana died in a car accident on February 7. Drew Gibson’s performance on March 21 was sidelined by that week’s COVID-19 shutdowns. Other performers in the canceled series would’ve included Tsukamoto and Eli Cook.
“After having such a good first year, it was disappointing to have the entire series canceled in 2020,” Fark said. “Of course, it was a rough time for everybody, so we’re excited that people want to come play at Steve’s store again. Bryce, Drew and Hiroya all contacted me to see if they could come back. Then, Greg Harrison contacted us when we announced the guitar series. This year really fell together by itself.
Check out Hiroya Tsukamoto performing “As If It Were Yesterday,” from his latest album, “Little River Canyon.”
“Having vocalists this time around should help us attract more people,” Fark continued. “We did a lot of instrumental stuff the first year. We had Zakk Jones, a jazz guitar player from Columbus, and a fingerstyle thwacker named Spencer Elliott and those were amazing shows in my mind. The instrumentality was incredible, but we had small turnouts. We made sure we got some people this time with incredible vocals, so we have Drew Gibson and Haunted Like Human.”
Small town sounds
For Johnson, it’s about bringing people into his store but also about booking world-class entertainment that otherwise wouldn’t perform in the area.
“We’re really trying to get music here in Waynesville and I really want to be a venue for that,” he said. “We’d certainly like to get more people involved but it’s hard to get people out of their houses because there is so much going on. We really have to keep on top of everything but doing the series is fun. I’ve got guitars hanging on the wall and people are always interested in guitars. I’ve got records for sale and now we’re doing live music again. It’s amazing how well it has gone.”
Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or email@example.com.
HOW TO GO
What: Waynesville Music Guitar Series presents Bryce Mullins
Where: Waynesville Music, 198 S. Main St., Waynesville
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 11
Cost: $15 in advance and at the door
More info: 513-897-0602 or www.facebook.com/waynesvillemusicohio
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