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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Ryan Humbert pays tribute to Dylan

2/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Ryan Humbert will perform the songs of Bob Dylan at the Akron Civic Theatre March 8.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Humbert
DOWNTOWN AKRON — When Ryan Humbert first decided to perform a tribute to the music of Bob Dylan, he took a look to see how many of the his songs he had to choose from in his collection.

It was more than 900.

“I managed to whittle it down to 78 tunes, and I keep whittling it,” Humbert said. “I’ve got it down to 28 tunes, and that’s what we’re doing.”

“Tangled Up in Dylan” will take place March 8 at 8 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre. The show, which will feature Humbert and bandmates Erin Vaughn, Emily Bates, Ben Evans, Matthew Middleton, Dan Nauss and Michael Houff, will be cabaret style, with musicians and audience on the Civic stage.  

“It’s intimate,” Humbert said. “It’s a really unique experience.”

Humbert, a graduate of Green High School, said he was introduced to Dylan’s music when he was around 17 years old.

“I was immersed in the whole singer-songwriter world, and it doesn’t take you very long to get pointed in the direction of Bob Dylan,” Humbert said. “I wasn’t a super fan off the bat, but there clearly are just some of the best songs ever in his catalog.”

He added he thinks if listeners who have dismissed Dylan in the past because of his voice took the time to listen, they would be impressed.

“I know folks that are not big Dylan fans, and mostly they say they can’t stand his voice,” Humbert said. “If you can get past that, you will find some of the best songs out there.”

Humbert also has performed tribute shows in the past to artists such as Roy Orbison and Woody Guthrie. His goal with the shows is not to imitate the original artist.

“We are not trying to be the person — we are paying tribute to them,” he said. “We’re a band that has a lot of influences, and we’re going to play some songs close to the originals and some we don’t. We just go out there and do the best we can.”

Opening the show will be Canton-based singer-songwriter Cody Martin.

“He’s fantastic,” Humbert said. “He’s very much influenced in his original music by old-school folk rock music.”

Martin also will join Humbert’s band toward the end of the show, Humbert said.

The show comes just as Humbert is working on his next recording. He recently headed to Nashville to work with Grammy-winning producer and engineer Jamie Tate, who has worked with Taylor Swift and Alan Jackson. Humbert recently signed with Nashville-based record label Century Music Group for his next three albums, and the first will be released later this year, he said.

Ticket prices are $20 for general admission and $30 for the Date Night Two-Ticket Special. Tickets are available at the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office, by calling 330-253-2488 or online at www.akroncivic.com, or TicketMaster at 800-745-3000.

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