Swog’s Jam Session returns to West Side

Swog’s Jam Session, which once sparked the local music scene, will return this Sunday.

The sessions began in the early ’90s, when Thom “Swog” Swogger started a weekly blues night at Alfie’s Lounge on the West Side. Youngstown’s live-music heyday of the ’70s and ’80s was over, and the Wednesday-night events perked up a slow period.

The sessions attracted players from the region’s top bands, too, including members of Left End, Merry Christmas, Loud Texas, Savannah, Special Forces, Teddy Pantelas, the Hern Brothers, Poobah, Sacksville, Side Show, Glass Harp, Starburst, Coconut and the Dead Sullivans, as well as members of national acts such as Bobby Blue Bland, Devo, Michael Stanley Band, Pat Benatar and Rare Earth.

Swog’s Jam Session will be resurrected at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Clark Bar, 3143 Mahoning Ave., also on the West Side.

Scheduled to play are Jerry Centifanti (of Brotherhoood) and Butch McCracken (of Special Forces and Triple Threat), and many more are expected to turn out. “Youngstown has too many fantastic musicians that need to jam together again,” said Swogger.


The ruKus Festival will move to downtown Youngstown this year (it previously took place at the Warren Amphitheater), where it will become exponentially bigger. In terms of the number of bands, the Sept. 24 event easily will rival Vexfest.

Founded by local rockers The Kellys, the festival is now linked to rukusradio.com, the Internet station that specializes in independent artists. Rukusradio.com is run by a cadre of mostly-local DJs, including Moe Angelo of The Kellys.

The festival will be centered on West Federal Street and will close about two and a half blocks. The main stage will be at Federal and Market, with secondary stages in the parking lot behind The Lemon Grove and in the parking lot next to The Draught House.

Bands also will be booked inside several downtown bars.

About two dozen bands already have confirmed, including local favorites The Kellys, The Zou, Tropidelic, Liam Jones and the Overtones, Quevor Trillan and the ruKus Allstars and the Young Stonians. Add to that a number of popular regional draws, such as Waterband, the Bloody Muffs, Reel-a-Peel and Fourth River. The list will keep growing, said Angelo.

The festival will make a splash in other ways. Rust Belt Brewing Co. will produce a special ruKus Ale, which (according to Angelo) will be made from hops grown on the North Side.

A parade at noon will kick off the festival, which will include a vendor maze and an on-site recording studio.

For artists new to ruKus radio, there will be an Emerging ruKus stage. Submissions are being accepted at sonicbids.com/rukusthefestival.


Youngstown-based jazz- fusion band SounDoctrine will perform on Cleveland TV station WJW’s “Fox 8 In the Morning” program at 7 a.m. Friday. The ensemble also will be heard from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday on “The Fusion Show” on WCSB 89.3 FM (the Cleveland State University radio station). Listeners to the radio show can tune in online at wcsb.org and can call in and talk with the band.

Downloads of the band’s latest CD, ”Inspire,” will be discounted by 25 percent during Friday’s performances.


Karla Seldon of Youngstown got a standing ovation and won second place when she appeared at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in New York last week. As a result, the singer, who attended Youngstown State University, will return to the competition March 30.

The long-running amateur competition at the legendary theater will crown its champion in October.


Boardman-based country singer Sarah Turner will release her self-titled debut CD Monday. The six-song disc ($5.99) will be available on iTunes and at sarahturnermusic.com.

Turner has several appearances planned to promote the record, including “WFMJ Today” on March 23; singing The National Anthem at a Cleveland Indians game, April 28; The Big Tap-In craft-beer festival in Boardman’s Shepherd Events Center, April 30; Morley Pavilion in Mill Creek Park, June 15; Warren Community Amphitheater, July 9; and Buhl Park in Sharon, Pa., July 10.

More than 60 stations have picked up Turner’s song “Youngstown.”

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