Poobah songs have staying power

Poobah songs are surfacing on the small screen and the big screen.

“Enjoy What You Have,” a cut from the band’s 1972 debut album “Let Me In,” will be part of the soundtrack of “Graves,” a half-hour dramedy series on EPIX cable channel that stars Nick Nolte as the president of the United States. The song will air in episode 6 of the new season, which will begin later this year.

The band also has songs in a couple of movies.

“Frustration,” from Poobah’s 1979 album “Steamroller,” can be heard in “Between Us” (2016), a romantic comedy directed by Rafael Palacio Illingworth.

And, the upcoming film “Huntsville,” due later this year, will include two Poobah songs: “Mr. Destroyer” and “Bowleen,” both from “Let Me In.”

Poobah was formed decades ago by Jim Gustafson of Youngstown, and while it has undergone many changes in personnel over the years, the psychedelic hard rock band has always stayed true to itself. It still tours constantly, and as a result, Poobah has a wide strata of fans across the globe. The band is also experiencing a new appreciation for its timeless sound.

Last year’s highlights including being tapped to open for Sean Lennon and Les Claypool at Nelson Ledges last summer.

But most interesting, or bizarre, is the underground German-made e-comic book titled “Ariane Eldar: The Great Vinyl Cover Romance.” One episode features a number of rock greats as characters, including Gustafson.

He is in some lofty company, as John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Pete Townshend, Greg Lake, Paul Kantner, Roland Kirk and John Kay are also characters in the comic. It’s available at amazon.com.

Poobah will release a new album this month titled “Blue Poobah.” It can be purchased at all major online retailers..

The band consists of Gustafson, guitar and vocals; fellow Youngstown native Kevin McIllvaine, bass; Mike Fortino of Baltimore, drums; and Lori Powers of West Virginia, percussionist.

Catch the band live this Friday at at 9 p.m. at JR’z Pub, 1722 S. Raccoon Road, Austintown.


Art Outreach Gallery’s next exhibition is a poignant one.

It will feature works by the late Shannon McEwan, who died in 2012 at age 14. McEwan, a special needs student at South Range Middle School, loved art and had told her parents, Laurie and Rodney McEwan, numerous times “I’m going to be a famous artist.”

The young girl spent many hours at her desk creating what her mother, Laurie, now calls her “stained glass drawings.”

Shannon would melt crayons under her desk lamp to bring out more color.

After Shannon’s death, Laurie found more than 50 of her drawings, including some unfinished ones. After reading an inspirational message she posted on Facebook about her daughter, Art Outreach Gallery decided to help make true Shannon’s dream of becoming a famous artist, and set up this exhibition.

The show, which is titled “An Artist Can Come from Anywhere,” opens Friday and runs through Feb. 5. A reception will be Jan. 20 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 at the gallery, which is inside Eastwood Mall in Niles (JCPenney’s concourse). Gallery hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday, 1-9 p.m. Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Works by students in the Collective Palette Studio will also be shown in the exhibition. The studio is a collaboration of agencies that serve people with disabilities in Trumbull County. The artists will be on hand for a reception at 5 p.m. Friday.


The popular anime TV series “Sword Art Online” will get its U.S. cinematic premiere with the English-subtitled film “Sword Art Online The Movie — Ordinal Scale.” The one-night event will be at theaters nationwide, including Tinseltown in Boardman, at 8 p.m. March 9. For tickets go to FathomEvents.com or the Tinseltown box office.

The movie is based on author Reki Kawahara’s novels of the same name. Since the first volume was published in 2009, the series has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide and spawned two TV adaptations, video games and comic books.


The Nelsonville Music Festival, in that southeast Ohio town, revealed the first phase of its lineup this week. Headliners are Ween (headlining June 3) and Emmylou Harris (headlining June 4), who will be joined by Rodriguez, Son Volt, Parquet Courts, Twin Peaks, Sara Watkins, Big Thief and more. A second round of bands will be revealed in the coming weeks.

As major rock festivals continue to grow in number and size, they are becoming more homogenized in their experience, uniform in their band lineups, and segregated by their ticket price levels that separate the VIPs from the hoi polloi.

As the mainstreaming erodes what made festivals cool in the first place, it might be best to look to the smaller ones, like Nelsonville, to carry on the spirit.

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