I'm proud to be from Akron, Ohio. Yeah I said it! Akron, 330, Rubber City, Copley!, all those words have always been special to me. Even before Lebron James made them famous. Even before the guys that I'm about to mention in this blog post re-established Akron on the musical map. I've always LOVED my city. You kinda have to love where you're from right? I think it's important. I think it's an important part of who you are as a person to love where you are from.
Anyways, I know you guys are still reading this blog cross-eyed because I just wrote the word re-established in the first paragraph. Let me explain. Akron used to be a musical hub from what I was told. I, of course, wasn't around for any of it. I was up in heaven waiting to be born out of my mommy's tummy :) Seriously, the city boasts a history that a lot of people actually don't know about. Akron used to be a booming town, for its time, with a lot of nightlife, jobs O'plenty, big names, movers and shakers (gangsters), and a pretty large and growing population. The north side of Akron was where most of the blues/jazz musicians played (Howard Street), and I believe there were a lot of big names that would bless the scene. I even remember my parents telling me there was a large amusement park that used to outline Summit Lake.
Let me learn ya somethin...
In 1920, Akron was the fastest-growing city in the United States. The two big cities in the Mid-West were Akron and Chicago. By 1930, about two-thirds of the nation’s automobile tires were produced in Akron, by such companies as Goodyear, Firestone and Goodrich.
Many major American cultural movements first emerged in the city. As the rubber industry was booming, so was the city's population, attracting immigrants from all parts of the globe. Akron became a melting pot in the early 20's, descendants from different racial groups significantly help define the worldwide cuisine. Aside from the North Hill neighborhood of Akron's history in jazz during the early 1900s, for decades Akron has produced musicians in many of genres.
After four decades of prosperity, the ’70s brought mergers and plant closings that began a long, slow slide into economic depression. Goodyear, the only tire company still stationed in Akron, now employs about 3,000 people. By comparison, the rubber factories employed 10 times that many workers a generation ago.
Akron’s music scene has a long history of outsourcing its talent. Chrissie Hynde, who declared Ohio dead in the 1984 song “My City Was Gone,” lit out to England at her first opportunity. Devo slugged it out for a while but skipped town for Los Angeles in the late ‘70s. Robert Quine left to study law at Washington University in St. Louis and later moved to New York City, where he formed the Voidoids with Richard Hell.
Major artist from Akron include Howard Hewett, Chrissie Hynde (who owns The VegiTerranean restaurant in the Northside Lofts), Devo, James Ingram, Buckner & Garcia, Rubber City Rebels, and the artists to whom this blog post belongs to The Black Keys.
So, when I say The Black Keys have re-established Akron's music scene, I say it because most of the hipsters and indie kids that read blogs like mine have no idea who most of the artists from Akron are/were that released before The Black Keys.
Now on to The Black Keys, who just released what I believe to be their sixth album entitled "Brothers." This album was released on May 18 and it features 15 tracks of bluesy, guitar rifting, rhythm enriched awesomeness! I personally feel cool as hell when I bump this. The Black Keys definitely add to the list of reasons why I love to rep where I'm from. Track 2 "Next Girl" is hot! If you haven't heard it, go and do that now. Link below... enjoy.
Now, only if we can get Lebron to stay? :(
The Black Keys speak on the "Lebron" situation in the video below (taken from The Wall Street Journal http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2010/05/18/fate-of-lebron-james-weighs-heavy-even-on-rock-stars/).