Singer-songwriter throws a party for a good cause

Fueled by the Youngstown work ethic, Catholic guilt and the realization that every man could be brought low by powers beyond his control, Kenny Greco was moved to action.

Last year, the singer-songwriter put on a charity show to help feed the needy. A couple hundred people showed up, and two vans full of food, plus $2,200 in cash, were collected.

This year, he hopes to match or surpass that feat.

Greco will reprise his holiday benefit show Saturday at the Petri Club, 3650 Shady Run Road, on Youngstown’s South Side.

The idea first surfaced last year when Greco began helping out at God’s Warehouse, a food bank housed at New Life Church in Poland.

Greco was moved by what he saw there. About three-fourths of the people who showed up for food were elderly, some using a walker to get around.

Admission to this year’s event, which begins at 8:30 p.m., is either two nonperishable food items or a cash donation.

Greco will play three sets, mixing in original songs from his 2010 debut CD “No Apologies,” plus unreleased work and a few covers.

One-hundred percent of the donations will go directly to the all-volunteer God’s Warehouse. Greco pointed out that every dollar raised will buy $15 worth of food from charity food distributors.

Last year’s event brought out people from across the Valley. Greco said the night had the aura of a reunion and described it as “magical.”

The crowd, mostly working people who are anything but affluent, was generous and happy to help the cause. One man donated $300.

People who can’t make it to Saturday’s show can still help the needy. Donations to God’s Warehouse can be made at any time by calling its directors, Anita and Norm Oles, at 330-720-3222. The charity gives out food and personal items the third Saturday of every month from 8 to about 11 a.m. at the church, 2250 E. Western Reserve Road.

Those who attend this Saturday’s fundraiser might find themselves in Greco’s new music video. Greco will have a small crew on hand to finish the video for his new song “Telling Lies.”

It’s part of his strategy. Greco, who is part owner of a scrap-metal company in Youngstown, plans to release a song every few months on iTunes. The new year also will bring an increase in shows, including more outside the Youngstown area.

Greco has been a working musician off-and-on since he was a teenager, attending Mooney High School. He took a break after marrying and having kids but resumed a couple years ago, and with a greater understanding of where he fits in.

“I am a rust-belt musician,” he said. That might limit his appeal to an area stretching from, say, Philadelphia to Chicago, but Greco said that’s more than enough for him.

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