A new concert series is working to bring big-name jazz artists to rural Tuscarawas County. Tuscomusic's director of operations, David Ryder, said before the series began earlier this year, residents had to go elsewhere to see popular jazz musicians.
"There's a lot of culture under the surface," Ryder said. "The unfortunate part of that is that there isn't always the right people to facilitate that."
He said the concert series fills a void.
"We keep hearing from people that this county needs this, so that people in our community didn't have to go to Akron, Cleveland or Columbus to see the same caliber of artists that we have available to us," he said.
A Nashville connection
Before moving to Tuscarawas County, Ryder worked in the music industry in technology and production, in conjunction with the Grand Ole Opry. And he's hoping to draw on those connections to bring Nashville musicians to the Dover-New Philadelphia area.
"They're very real people, and they all share in the passion for music. And when you have people who share that passion, making those relationships is a lot easier," he said.
"We approached them about doing shows with us," Ryder said. "And as we started to book them, they were telling their friends about it. And the next thing you know artists are contacting us."
Ryder also said he's hoping the concert series can elevate local musicians as well.
"One of the musicians we've had consistently is Barflies. They're the perfect example of the caliber of musician who exists here, and nobody is even aware of it," he said.
The concerts will be filmed and broadcast on Tuscarawas County’s public access TV channel, Tusco TV, as well as online.
The next concert is Friday, July 27, with Theron Brown at the Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center.