Youngstown jazz guitarist Rick Ward is the newest member of the Ohio Players.
Ward had been asked to play with the band as a fill-in at a festival in Trenton, Mich., on Saturday. He did so well that the R&B-funk legends officially signed him over the weekend.
Billy Beck, also of Youngs-town and an original and current member of the Ohio Players, introduced Ward to the band. Beck and Ward often play jazz shows together in the Mahoning Valley.
SPECIAL FORCES WILL REUNITE, PERFORM AT HALLIGAN’S BAR
Special Forces, once one of the more popular bands in the Mahoning Valley, will get back together. Its first reunion show will be Saturday night at Halligan’s Bar, 1281 Salt Springs Road, on Youngstown’s West Side. More shows will follow.
Before breaking up a decade ago, the band was a fixture at the Parlor in Niles and the Gristmill in Austintown. It played mostly covers, everything from Pink Floyd to INXS to Melissa Etheridge, but also mixed in several originals at each show.
Saturday’s show at Halligan’s will start at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 ($15 for two) at the door. Advance tickets can be had for $8 at the bar.
RADIO STATION OFFERS TIME TO UNSIGNED R&B BANDS
Hot Jamz 1570 (WHTX-AM) is offering airtime to unsigned R&B artists over Labor Day weekend.
“We want to give back to all of the independent artists by giving them a platform to showcase their music, as independent radio is the backbone of expression for up-and-coming artists,” said Richard Nelson, program director for the station.
Artists who want to submit their music should go to facebook.com/hotjamz1570.
MARY RUTH LYNN TO DIRECT THEATER SERIES AT SELAH
Selah Restaurant in downtown Struthers is launching a theater season in its upstairs room.
Each of the three plays will be produced and directed by Mary Ruth Lynn, who was the executive director of Youngstown Playhouse until she was let go earlier this year in a board shakeup,
On the schedule are “Mister Lincoln” (September), “Love, Loss and What I Wore” (February), and “The Gin Game” (May).
Selah is owned by Brian Palumbo, who also is the director of Top Hat Productions. But the Selah series will not be a part of Top Hat.
The upstairs venue at the restaurant is small — 25 to 50 capacity. It has a stage and has been used for musical events and other productions the past couple of years.
The fact that it is a mere flight of stairs above a fine restaurant should make it easy for patrons to combine dinner and theater for an evening out.
For information, to go selahrestaurant.com, or call 330-755-2759.