Black Swamp Arts Festival

Eddie Shaw, favorite of BG blues fans, dies at 80

Bluesman Eddie Shaw, who made frequent appearances in Bowling Green, died Monday (Jan. 29, 2018). His passing was confirmed by his booking agent Jay Reil. Shaw, vocalist, saxophonist, and band leader, played many shows over the past several decades in Bowling Green. Those included shows at Howard’s Cub H, and later Grounds for Thought, and the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Grounds proprietor Kelly Wicks, who booked him in his shop and at the festival, said Shaw was like Bowling Green’s resident bluesman. The feeling was mutual. Before a 2013 at Grounds, Shaw said Bowling Green was like a home away from home for him. He had a lot of friends in the area, he said. Shaw, 80, started playing the blues as a teenager in Mississippi. In 1972 he joined blues legend Howlin’ Wolf’s band, the Wolf Pack, and when the leader died in 1976, Shaw took the helm and continued to lead the group until his death. Shaw most recently performed in Bowling Green as the closing act of the 2014 Black Swamp Arts Festival.

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Pizza sales at Black Swamp Fest benefit Humane Society

From WOOD COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY For anyone who enjoys the arts, pizza, and animals there is a perfect opportunity to engage in all three this coming weekend. September 8th – 10th Wood County Humane Society will be running the Pisanello’s Pizza booth at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio. All of the proceeds will benefit Wood County Humane Society. The Black Swamp Arts Festival (BSAF) is an annual, top rated event that showcases art and music. There are over 150 booths selected by a juried panel. As with most festivals and fairs food and drink bring the experience full circle. The BSAF focuses on this portion with a food and beer garden. The Pisanello’s Pizza Booth will be in this area located near the center stage. Please join us in this fun event, grab a bit to eat, listen to the live entertainment, and help our animals. The WCHS, located in Bowling Green, Ohio, is a private, non-profit managed admission shelter providing care for homeless and abused pets and investigating cruelty complaints in Wood County. The organization receives no funding from government organizations, The United Way, or national humane organizations, instead relying on earned revenue and the generosity of individual donors and businesses to fund our programs such as Safe Haven and food assistance programs, spay/neuter transport, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for hundreds of animals each year—from dogs and cats, to horses, goats, and pocket pets. All animals admitted into our adoption program are housed and cared for as long as it takes to find their fur-ever home. For more information on adopting and/or volunteering, see: http://www.woodcountyhumanesociety.org.


After year of photographic success, Bell sidelined

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival played a pivotal role in launching Jan Bell’s photographic career. In 2003, the long-time graphic designer for WBGU-TV had returned to photography. He had accumulated enough work that he decided to apply to enter the juried show. Bell was accepted, and then on the festival weekend, the judges returned and awarded him best of show honors. It was his first art fair. Since then he’s put up his tent, assembled his street gallery, greeted customers, taken it all down and moved on, on dozens of times. More importantly, he’s traveled thousands of miles on photographic adventures to national and provincial parks here and in Canada living in a camper, hiking with 40 pounds of equipment, and waiting for days for the right light on the right subject. When he won the top award so early in his career, one woman warned him about the dangers of such early success. Bell has not rested on his laurels. His work has been accepted in many shows and received numerous honors, and has continued to evolve. These past 12 months have been especially notable. One photograph, “Distant Island,” an image from Lake Superior was juried into nine exhibitions. “That’s crazy wild,” he said. Then it won first place in one of those shows the Allegany National Photography Exhibition in Cumberland, Maryland, as well as an honorable mention at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, Michigan in April. Then three works were included in a photo exhibit highlighting images of National Parks at the same gallery. The exhibit was being held in conjunction with a show of photographs by Ansel Adams, Bell’s idol. “Three Sea Stacks” won best of show and “Agave” won an honorable mention. Bell also got to work with Alan Ross, the only person with permission to print from a select set of Adams’ negatives. “Three Sea Stacks” came from what turned out to be a three-month residency at…


Nikki Hill ready to rock the Black Swamp Arts Festival to the end

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nikki Hill is no stranger to Bowling Green. Since she and her husband, guitarist Matt Hill, first hit the road as a duo in 2012, they’ve stopped here twice. Once for a show at Grounds for Thought, just as they were pulling their band together and then in 2014 in prime time Friday on the Main Stage at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Unfortunately, the festival audience just got a taste of her sound, as she was upstaged by a storm. What listeners missed was a sound that mixes soul with hard rock and taste of classic rhythm ‘n’ blues, all built on a gospel foundation. Hill got her start as a child in North Carolina singing in church choir. “That’s about the best training you can get. It’s a great place to develop your voice,” she said before her 2014 festival performance. She also experimented with punk and even old-time music. She didn’t intend to become a professional musician. She was working as a physical trainer. But her husband a professional musician heard something special in her voice, something they could share with a broader audience. That’s exactly what they’ve endeavored to do since 2012. Since her festival show, Hill has released her second recording “Heavy Heart, Hard Fists” in 2015. The recording is another stop on Hill’s evolution as a songwriter. That’ll be on display when Hill closes out the festival on the Main Stage Sunday, Sept. 10, at 3:30 p.m. Cole Christensen who co-chairs the festival’s Performing Arts committee said they were happy to book her. ”We always like to end with a bang.” BG Independent connected with Hill through email to get an update on what’s been shaking in her career since that rainy night in 2014. Do you have any memories of your performance at the Black Swamp Arts Festal in 2014?  What was your impression of the event? All I really remember is the rain! Our set was…


Birds of Chicago come home to roost at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News JT Nero seems to have his head in the clouds when it comes to bands. He used to lead a band called JT and the Clouds, and that has morphed into Birds of Chicago. The music that band produces, though, is firmly rooted on land, an earthy sound that emerges from the fertile soil of the American musical landscape, gospel, folk, country, and more. And his songs are given voice by Allison Russell, who possesses a voice more than equal to the task of inhabiting the songs’ varied terrains. They’ve dubbed their sound “secular gospel,” and the tag fits. The music is redolent of the spirit and the streets. It has its shadows and foreboding, lightened by moments of joy. Local music lovers will get a chance to experience the sound when the Birds of Chicago alight at the Black Swamp Arts Festival for two sets on Saturday, Sept. 9. The Chicago-based band will perform at 1:30 p.m. show on the Family Stage before moving over the Main Stage for a 4:30 p.m. set. Nero said the festival has been on his radar for a number of years. That’s not surprising. Raised in Toledo, he started playing at venues in Bowling Green in the 1990s with The Rivermen. He moved to San Francisco. That’s where he first met Russell, who was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, through mutual friends on the music scene. Russell was working with her band Po’ Girl. After Nero moved to Chicago, they remained in touch. JT and the Clouds would host them in the city hooking them up with venues and sharing the bill. Nero and Russell are now married, as well as being musical collaborators. “I really found myself writing more and more songs where I heard Allie’s voice. She’s a singer on a different level. There’s a thrill in writing for her voice,” Nero said. “We were making more and more excuses to do things together. It…


The Hiders emerge from “batcave” to rock out at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Hiders are really something of homebodies. When asked about the band’s touring, founder William Alletzhauser said “we haven’t been touring a lot lately.” Families, day jobs, businesses, and other musical commitments makes hitting the road problematic. “We temper our expectations in that department.” Instead they work their home scene in Cincinnati, and continue to produce recordings on their own studio, “the batcave,” that are heard around the world. “For us it’s more about the adventure of writing and recording. That’s what’s most exciting.” So getting a chance to see The Hiders at the Black Swamp Arts Festival should be a treat for music lovers. The Hiders will play on the Main Stage Friday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. before heading down to Howard’s Club H for an after-hours show. Alletzhauser said labeling the band has proved tricky, given it has elements of folk and psychedelia, mixed with country and classic rock, telling dark stories from the Americana underbelly. To Alletzhauser that all just means The Hiders is a rock band, true to what that meant in the 1970s, not that the band sees itself as a throwback. Rather it’s a contemporary amalgamation of Alletzhauser’s musical history. That goes back to getting a hand-me-down guitar that his older sister decided she didn’t want. As a teenager in the 1980s, Alletzhauser go involved in Cincy’s burgeoning hard core scene. “We liked the idea having a band,” he said. That meant writing their own songs. He continued writing as he moved from band to band, culminating with Ass Ponys, an alt country outfit that toured nationally. When the band broke up, Alletzhauser decided he wanted a band that played his music. He was a little late to the game, he said, being in his mid-30s. “I was always a side guy and I decided just finally I had to do it.” He’d always written and did the occasional solo show, now he wanted a band to…


Whitehorse rides into arts fest for Sunday sets

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland started out as musical collaborators playing in bands together and working on each other’s projects. “Our relationship was strictly professional … for weeks,” Doucet quipped. “Our relationship was very close, very intimate early on. We found each other.” That was about 14 years ago, and now Doucet is talking on the telephone with their 3-year-old son in the background. He wants a boat ride, Doucet said. For years, Doucet and McClelland continued on their separate careers as solo artists and “hired guns,” though they worked together as much as they could. Then six years ago, tired of their schedules pulling them apart, they formed Whitehorse, a musical act informed both by their long musical and personal relationship Whitehorse will perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday Sept. 11, at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage and then at 2:45 as the penultimate act on the Family Stage. Reflecting on those early years, Doucet said “our musical lives were very confused.” They were including each other so much in their own bands that when their schedules didn’t allow them to play together, their fans would ask where the missing party was. They also toured together with fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan. Doucet had been backing the star for a while. As McLachlan’s backup singers came and went, he suggested he knew someone. “She rolled her eyes and told me: ‘I’m not hiring your girlfriend,’” Doucet recalls. Then a backup singer left just as McLachlan was heading off on a short tour with Pete Seeger. She relented. McClelland joined the band for the tour. After the first show, Doucet said, McLachlan “came to me in tears. … ‘I never felt so supported by another singer,’ she said.” That was no surprise to Doucet. McClelland has “the ability to ghost another singer … to be sensitive and supporting … like nothing I’ve heard in another singer.” Those harmonies are central to Whitehorse….