The Dayton music scene has people from all walks of life immersed into it. Go to a show, and you will notice the differences of each and every single person performing. You have your punk rock bands that wail around the stage, and occasionally throw themselves onto the crowd. There are the artists and bands that just take the room over, and will not let go till they say that they are done. You have your dreamers-the people that will not allow anyone to get in the way. There is also the performer that simply enjoy going on stage and play live, simply just for the thrill on being on stage. Old and young, no matter the case, there is one thing that each and every artist or band has in common. That is they have love and appreciation for music.
One great example of someone that truly has a love for music is local musician Tim Gebard. Gebard is currently in the process of working on his newest EP, which is due by April. His first album, Unbroken Hearts, is available at Omega Music, The Record Gallery, and on his website (www.timgebard.com).
Gebard grew up in Springfield, Ohio and started playing music in his teens. He grew up listening to the classics – Van Morrison, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. He worked at a local record store in Dayton in the early 70’s, where he was able to spin some of his favorite music. It was great experience for him, getting the chance to branch out and find music that would inspire and influence his music playing. While sitting down at Ghostlight Coffee recently, Gebard told me a story about an experience he had at the record shop. He went into detail of when Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking tour de force, The Wall, was released. “We had to play that record from the minute we opened to the minute we closed”, explained Gebard. “We all got sick of hearing it. So, one day we got our shipment and I noticed that we got a record of a woman whose vocals were simply amazing. We put it on, and immediately sold every single copy within an hour. It was the latest album from Aretha Franklin.” That speaks to broad musical influences.
While he was always around the music scene, and many friends went on to careers in the music field, Tim’s playing was limited to his solo acoustic efforts. Gebard would continue to write music throughout the years, always continuing to keep the passion for music running around his body and mind. About five years ago, he joined with some friends in a cover band called Pocket Change, playing for private parties and events. Internal conflicts proved to be a struggle. At one point, Gebard would use his work that he had written and fill in the lead role in the singing department. Ultimately, the band broke up. But the experience of singing and writing helped propel him to go into the studio.
In October, 2010, Gebard started recording with Dean Vincent at Studio D in New Carlisle. He would use all the music that he wrote, and have people come in and help with the process. He had legendary guitarist Junior Smith come in and play on many of the songs. Violin accompaniment from the ever-talented Sara Kasten and Susan Heeg would bring orchestral influence to some of the songs. Contributions from the Toles family, local Gospel music legends (especially nephew Doug Toles Jr.), added another influence to his music. Ron Hartwell, a noted Dayton-area band leader, added dynamic sax and flute tracks. And the pedal steel guitar playing of virtuoso Wayne Hobbs brought an incredible country influence on several cuts. And local singer-songwriter Jayne Sachs sang on several songs. When Gebard spoke of the people that came in to help lay down the tracks, his eyes lightened up, and the humbleness came and stood squarely right in front of him. “I still can’t believe that I was able to have all this talent come in and play”, Gebard said. “I loved how the album turned out. Ultimately, each artist brought a desire to serve the song.”
Unbroken Hearts is an album that simply will not let you define it as one genre, something that Gebard purposely did. With each song, there are different influences that sprinkle throughout the album. From country to rock, from soft to fast, Unbroken Hearts guides you all around the dial of music in its purest forms. ‘Someone To Believe’ presents a lounge room vibe to the song that gives it a jazz feel. For the Jimmy Buffet fans, ‘Let’s Find Out’ will fulfill those dreams of lying around on the beach, having a drink with an umbrella in the clear glass. ‘Crazy ‘Bout That Woman’ is a twang upbeat that would give classic country fans a reason to smile. Hearts is a warm, inviting collection of songs that dives into the joys of being in relationships, and the beauty of being in love.
The album Unbroken Hearts has seen some remarkable things tied to the album. ‘Life Time Love’ was the winner of the 8th Annual International Acoustic Music Awards in the Country/Bluegrass category. ‘Smiles Without Words’ was Honorable Mention in the Instrumental category in the 2011 International Songwriting Competition. Several songs are under non-exclusive contracts with A&R companies. (Note: A song from his upcoming EP – “To Licata”, an instrumental inspired by a recent trip to Italy – was recently named an Honorable Mention in the Songdoor 2012 International Songwriting Competition.)
Another great storyline with the album – Gebard’s son, Aaron, plays bass on most of the songs. “It was really fun being able to have my son play on this album. He is extremely talented, and it just added to the joy of making this album”, Gebard said. Aaron has his own band as well: The Mergs, who have been playing locally for the past several years.
When you listen to Gebard talk, you hear the joys of being able to do something that he loves. While we sat at Ghostlight Coffee, he spoke of the joys of being able to play with all the great musicians around town. He spoke about wanting to travel to Nashville and getting the chance to show his talent at the famous Bluebird Cafe. He talked about recent trips he has taken, and becoming influenced by the local music. It’s always refreshing and a thrill to speak with people like Tim Gebard. His love for music is all the reason to support the great music that is being performed live in town.
To see for yourself, Gebard will be performing at O’Riley’s Tavern in Brookville, Ohio on February 23rd. Gebard will have a band performing with him (Jay Madewell on drums, Todd The Fox on guitar and dobro, Steve Makofka on accordion/etc.). Aaron Gebard will also be playing in his dad’s band and also be playing with his own band. The Tim Gebard Band/The Mergs show will start around 8pm.