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Rohm's on Fire 

Hot Lakewood rocker won't fiddle around with law career.

Before Jackson Rohm graduated from Miami University in 1993, he seriously mulled over becoming an attorney. But after a brief stint at the University of Buffalo's law school, the Lakewood-based guitarist scrapped the thought of working out of a briefcase, and instead slung his axe over his shoulder and played clubs near campus. "The venues started filling up, and I was raking in some decent money. The concept of the cover charge soon showed me that playing live music can actually be quite lucrative," says Rohm, who plays a free happy-hour show tonight on Cleveland's West Side. "And the excitement from performing and interacting with people is just something I'd never get from a typical job."While his movie-star looks and he-man physique help fill bars with drooling fans, Rohm banks on his growing repertoire of autobiographical originals and 300 covers of tunes from artists like James Taylor and Dave Matthews to land him the more than 200 gigs a year he plays throughout the Midwest. His latest CD, Four on the Floor, recaps his tours to big cities and small towns alike. "As a songwriter, I embrace the role of the storyteller, taking situations and encounters I have in my travels and translating them into lyrics that others can relate to in their lives. Often, that involves exposing myself more than I am comfortable with," says Rohm. "But I believe that is essential. To connect with your audience, you really have to throw yourself out there."He's grown accustomed to the soul-bearing, shooting down any notion that he'll ever work in a law firm someday. "There are many jobs that I know I could do well. There are just not any that I can think of that would make me as happy as I am now. It's miserable wearing a suit," says Rohm. "I'm the best boss I know. I'll never work for someone else." Rohm punches in from 6 to 10 p.m. tonight at West Park Station, 17015 Lorain Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-476-2000 or visit
Fri., Feb. 15, 6-10 p.m., 2008

Speaking of Highlights

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