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Ryan Humbert brings Roy Orbison tribute back to Civic stage

11/8/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Akron area musician Ryan Humbert is shown during a previous Roy Orbison tribute concert. He will return with the show to the Akron Civic Theatre Nov. 16.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Humbert
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Local singer/songwriter Ryan Humbert loves a lot of things about singer/songwriter Roy Orbison.

“He was definitely a mold breaker,” Humbert said of the late Orbison, famous for songs like “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “Crying.” “He was writing these songs that nobody else was really doing, like ‘Running Scared,’ which has no chorus, a handful of verses and one big bridge at the end of the song. You don’t realize until you try to sit down and learn the songs how complex they are.”

Then there was that voice.

“He was one of the all-time great singers,” Humbert said. “There’s never been another Roy Orbison, and there won’t be. He had incredible range and could sing all kinds of stuff.”

Humbert once again will bring his unique tribute to Orbison to the stage in Akron for “Only the Lonely: The Music of Roy Orbison” at the Akron Civic Theatre Nov. 16 at 8 p.m.

The show features Humbert, his band and the addition of strings to bring more than 20 of Orbison’s songs to life. The show will be cabaret style, with band and audience on the Civic stage.

Humbert first performed an Orbison set in 2006 for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s American Music Masters Series in honor of the singer. Humbert and his band were the only band from Northeast Ohio invited to participate, and they performed for Orbison’s widow Barbara Orbison, his son, Roy Orbison Jr., and producer Fred Foster at the event kickoff party.

“It went off without a hitch,” Humbert said. “Throughout the years, people asked us if we would do the show again.”

He complied and recreated it in Canton in 2010, with a set list that doubled the number of songs. Last year, the Akron Civic Theatre asked him to do the show, and now he’s returning there to present it once again.

Humbert said he’s not trying to impersonate Orbison in the show.

“It’s just a band that has a love for this music presenting music to other people who love this music,” he said.

Some of the songs are performed as Orbison would have done them, but Humbert does add his own style and technique to others.

“His songs are not easy to sing,” Humbert said. “Some I can do in the same key and others I have to drop it a little.”

The Orbison show is the first of two appearances for Humbert and his band at the Civic this season. He will return Dec. 14 for his Holiday Extravaganza and Variety Show.

The Akron-Canton based musician is capping off a busy year that saw the release of his latest CD, Sometimes the Game Plays You. One of the songs, “I Will Find My Own Way,” was picked to air on Sirius XM satellite radio’s Coffee House channel, Humbert said.

“We were thrilled,” he said.

Tickets for “Only the Lonely” are on sale now at the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, by calling 330-253-2488 or online at www.akron civic.com, or TicketMaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $40 for the Date Night Special, which includes two admission tickets and two drink tickets.

For more information, go to www.ryanhumbert.com.

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