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Arts & Culture
Your local backstage pass to Northeast Ohio’s music scene. Get to know the talented musicians and community influencers in our backyard.

Shuffle: Cleveland Female Musicians Take Center Stage To Benefit Women In Need

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Shawn Brewster
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Alison Tomin of AJ & The Woods (left), Madeline Finn of the Whiskey Hollow, Charity Cunningham of Samfox, Cathalyn of The Katy, comedian Megan Brautigam, and Jenna Fournier of Niights

A group of female-fronted bands in Cleveland is coming together for a cause. The second annual Women Rock CLE concert at the House of Blues next month was organized by the roots rock band AJ & The Woods, fronted by musican Alison Tomin.

Tomin says the show on July 6th is all about rallying around women -- from the bands on the bill to the proceeds that will go to Laura’s Home, a Cleveland shelter for women and children.

She says the idea actually came from one of the male members of her band, Josh Collins.

"He was raised by his mother and his grandmother. He has a wife and daughter, and his writing partner is a woman. So it was really important him, and it was important to me."  

A male/female disconnect
Tomin says there's a disconnect in the music scene between men and women.

"This is helping to raise the profile of other woman musicians in the communty and their male band members who have to deal with the fact that they might not be getting as many gigs due to the fact that they have a female singer.

A bigger stage
Last year the event featured three bands at the Happy Dog. Now, it's grown to five bands on the much bigger House of Blues stage downtown. 

'I think women are empowered by men in the community as well as other women to go for it'

Along with Tomin's band, the night will feature The Katy, Samfox, Niights and The Whiskey Hollow

Tomin says the show brings together bands of all different styles, from bluesy, indie rockers The Katy to the psychadelic rock and dream-pop of Niights.  

Feeling empowered
"We have a strong female presense in the music scene. But, there are still more male bands, which is just the music industry. But I think women are empowered by men in the community as well as other women to go for it."

"I started piano when I was 6-years-old, and I was never told I couldn't do it because I was a woman," Tomin says. 

"People ask me who my musicial influences are. They're mostly male bands. Now that I'm older, I've found those female artsis that I really enjoy. But to hopefully be that for someone who is younger would be really great. That there are women who will support you and there are men who will support you."