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Waterloo Makes Music: Bent String and John McGrail

Waterloo Makes Music is a free concert series on Waterloo as a gift to all the music lovers in the community, and a celebration of Cleveland’s amazing musical legacy.

Bent String: We perform a mix of early American roots music, including acoustic blues and early jazz, and originals in those styles. Kari’s voice holds center stage, underpinned with the feel of jazz age swing by Reed Simon’s violin, Kevin Richards acoustic guitar and Cleveland Blues Hall of Fame upright bassist, Raymond  DeForest. Dan Bode adds vocals and a horn like approach to harmonica.

John McGrail Trio

The New John McGrail Trio is an evolving extension of the music of John McGrail. Originally composed of guitar bass and percussion it has now become the home of guitar, bass, flutes and whistles. While still mining the darker side of life lyrically, musically the loss of one member left the possibility for improvement. Consisting of John McGrail on vocals and guitar, Jay Bentoff on bass and the latest addition of Sheela Das on flutes and whistles the Trio is embarking on a newer slightly different path. Change is a good thing!

Categorized as a folk musician he accepts that and on some level even agrees but his influences range far beyond that and they all contribute to the ‘folk’ music that he creates. Analysis of his tunes would find things like odd meters, Floydian textures, and the occasional stinging guitar solo. Then there are the lyrics… well there are those who have described him as the Dark Prince of Cleveland Folk.

Never one to be pigeonholed John uses whatever he has at his disposal to present his music. As of late for live performances it is his trio of Jay Bentoff and Sheela Das. When in the studio he grasps for whatever it is that will get his music across in a manner that makes him happy. Whether it’s loops and programs and virtual instruments or the more traditional type, one will usually find him using all and blending them in a most unique way. Boundaries are for breaking.


Made possible with support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

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