Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet sounds of summer...

Yes, there are good things in life for free.  I'm reminded of that the few Thursday nights this summer I've made it over to Cruizer's Bar & Grill in Russia and heard local musicians entertaining on the outdoor patio.  There's no cost to listen and the music I've heard is really, really good.  A couple Thursdays ago I listened to Maria Stein native Steve Rosenbeck, who I consider kind of a local legend since he's played in some extremely popular bands over the years and even played a couple gigs in Nashville.  Steve didn't bring the typical band sound to Cruizer's, it was just him and an acoustic guitar playing easy listening classics and modern hits.  It was the perfect sound for a summer night.  Steve was so good the large crowd actually called him back on stage for an encore.  He reciprocated the love by pulling former singer Jim McGowan of Ft. Loramie from the crowd to sing 'The Breakup Song' (see picture above) and then Marie Daugherty of Russia was brought up to join Steve in singing 'Amie'.  Pretty cool for a Thursday night!

And Cruizer's has been doing this every Thursday night with different musicians since the beginning of June.  Another really good performer on the schedule is singer/songwriter Mark Cantwil of Russia.  Mark even just recorded a solo album which is now getting play on internet radio.  He entertains the crowd with some of his original material and a lot of familiar favorites.  Fittingly, Mark is the last scheduled performer on Cruizer's summer concert series, playing on August 25th.  Also appropriate is the guy playing the week guessed it, Steve Rosenbeck again.

Finally, if you like listening to young talent, also on the schedule July 28th is the group Almost Brothers.  I've heard them both as a duo and trio and can tell you they're awesome.  I'm also excited about the young guys from Empty Bottle coming to Cruizer's for the first time on August 11th, which is a scaled down version of the band Empty Tank.  There are many other entertainers on the Cruizer's schedule as well, and variety is a good thing.  The fact that's it's free is even better.

To see the full schedule of performers, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Country Concert has it figured out...

Traffic out of Kentucky Speedway (click for larger view)

The folks at Country Concert should be proud of themselves this past weekend.  While they were successfully hosting thousands of country music fans in the little town of Newport, OH, about 150 miles down the road Kentucky Speedway was having a nightmare trying to host thousands of NASCAR fans in the little town of Sparta, KY.  If you haven't heard the story out of Sparta yet, a bunch of those racing fans never made it to the event on account of traffic and parking, and for those that made it there, getting out wasn't any fun either (see picture above).  For a link to the story click here.  Sparta's population is about 230 people, which is probably pretty similar to Newport.  Coordinating the logistics of Country Concert and Kentucky Speedway for these little towns has to be a major task, probably more than I realize.  I'll give a first hand account of Country Concert having attended it personally this past weekend and tell you traffic wasn't an issue coming or going.  I also spoke to two parking attendants who were remarkably helpful and polite.  Judging from the Twitter comments I read out of Sparta Saturday night, there wasn't much polite to say about their mayhem.  And speaking of Twitter, while I was reading those Twitter comments a message popped up that Susie Brown of the JaneDear girls, one of the musicians at Country Concert, was now following my Twitter account.  Well done Country Concert!

Friday, July 8, 2011

An interview with Sidney author Terry Pellman...

Local author Terry Pellman of Sidney, Ohio just released his new book Averton and Fish Report got a preview! Check out our interview with Terry about the book and some answers to some other questions:

F.R.  Thanks for chatting with us Terry! So tell us, what's the new book about?
T.P.  Thanks. Averton is the story of a small Ohio city being used as the staging ground for an attempt to break the United States apart and form a heartland nation separate from the coasts. The extremist group responsible is an off-shoot of a paramilitary organization from the late 1960's. Through acts of terror, blackmail and deceit, the group is able to compromise the chief of police in the town of Averton.

F.R.  Wow, sounds interesting! Are you going to give away the ending for our Fish Report readers?
T.P.  No, but I encourage readers to find their way there. One hint: I do not make regular use of happy endings. I prefer bittersweet endings, and I find that "regret" is the most interesting state of mind for fiction.

F.R.  Is this your first book and how long did it take to write from start to finish?
T.P.  This is my third book, but the first to be available as an e-book download from the publisher, in this case Authorhouse. This book was first written over the course of a year back in the 90's. I completely re-wrote it three years ago. The original draft took about a year of my spare time.

F.R.  What's your opinion on what it takes to be a best-selling author like a J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown?
T.P.  You have to have something that grabs the attention of an editor or agent. Then it has to land on the right desk at the right time.

F.R.  Last question. For any aspiring authors out there, any tips on publishing a successful book?
T.P.  Edit your work over and over, then go over it once more. Keep sending it out, and wish for criticism, rather than avoid it.

Great stuff Terry and thanks for taking the time with us!  To get your copy of Averton, click here!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Catching up with Miss Ohio Ellen Bryan...

Fish Report recently chatted with the newly crowned 2011 Miss Ohio Ellen Bryan!  Ellen is a 2007 graduate of Celina High School and a 2011 graduate of Ball State University.  She won the title on June 18th and will soon be representing Ohio in the Miss America competition in January!  Check out our interview with Ellen:

F.R.  Congrats on being named Miss Ohio Ellen!  We’re assuming life just got a little busier!  What’s a typical week like for Miss Ohio?
E.B.  Thank you very much!  The job of Miss Ohio involves a lot of traveling.  I just returned home after being in 4 states in 5 days.  And I'm currently packing my bags to leave tonight to be on the road for 4 days again. (Good thing I like to drive!).  So while a typical week involves a lot of time on the road, it also is about providing as many opportunities to meet as many people as possible.  I'll be making one or two appearances a day - most of them involving community service and giving back to others.

F.R.  We understand that the contestants all have a community service platform? What is yours?
E.B.  My personal platform is Promoting Lightning Awareness - When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.  I chose to raise awareness for lightning safety because my sister was struck by lightning in June of 2000.  She was 17 at the time and going to be a senior in high school.  She lived through the incident, but is still in a wheelchair and unable to speak still today.  I just wanted to be Christina's voice, tell her story, and hope that it prevents someone else from being in her position.

F.R.  In 2009 our Russia Homecoming festival was lucky enough to have Miss Ohio Erica Gelhaus in attendance.  Do you know Erica and did you watch her when she was competing?
E.B.  I do know Erica!  We are both from Mercer County and my first year competing for Miss Ohio was the year she won.  We became quick friends.  I learned so much from watching her year as Miss Ohio and loved going to Las Vegas to see her compete for Miss America.  She is such a good friend and has been a big help as I get settled into the position of Miss Ohio!

F.R.  Erica also spent a couple hours signing autographs and talking with the crowd.  What do people need to do if they are interested in booking you?
E.B.  They can either call my booking manager at 419-522-6677 or email  They can also visit my website for more information and to follow my year as Miss Ohio!

F.R.  Finally, for all the young ladies out there that compete in local competitions or aspire to be a Miss Ohio some day, any advice?
E.B.  Be yourself.  I know it sounds cliche, but it's the absolute truth.  When I entered my first pageant as a sophomore in college, I felt so out of place.  It was something I never I thought I would do in my lifetime!  But once I let go of trying to be the perfect "pageant girl" and just focused on being the best Ellen Bryan I could be, that's the moment I became Miss Ohio.  As long as you're yourself on stage, you won't be disappointed in the results - win or lose.

Excellent advice Ellen! Thanks for chatting with Fish Report and have a great year!

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