by Jarrett Hoffman
One of the unique offerings of crossover music in Northeast Ohio is the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s Divergent Sounds. The series pairs select bands and singer-songwriters from the area with their own hand-picked group of instruments from the Orchestra. Then arranger Kevin Martinez creates new chamber-ensemble versions of their songs to be performed at Zimmermann Symphony Center.
The next Divergent Sounds concert on Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 pm will feature the Ben Gage Band, led by Akron-based folk musician Ben Gage. Armed with guitar, harmonica, and his own voice, Gage will be joined by electric guitarist Dan Socha, double bassist Brant Novak, and drummer Spencer Cindia — plus an ensemble of clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and cello from the Canton Symphony. Also making appearances will be a trio of guest vocalists: Bethany Joy, Josee McGee, and Chrissy Strong. Tickets are available here.
Both contemplative and down-to-earth, Gage is an absorbing conversationalist, as I found out during an interview earlier this week. Among the topics we touched on: his choice of instruments from the orchestra (influenced by a recent trip to New Orleans), writing songs about the area, growing up in rural Ashtabula County, sharing early versions of his songs on his website, and the people he meets while out on tour.