MEET THE BAND: Demos Papadimas (guitar, vocals, harmonica, bouzouki), Ralph Rich (drums), Nils Johnson (upright bass), Sandi Quotson (violin), Al Moss (pedal steel), Dave Lynn (electric guitar)
WORKING THE REGION: Based in Youngstown, Papadimas started playing in pop punk bands when he was a teenager but recently went down the singer-songwriter path. He has regularly performed in both Cleveland and Pittsburgh for the past five years. The self-described "cynical optimist" writes what he calls "world-weary, wistful lyrics."
THE GREEK BLUES: In 2013, Papadimas put out his first album, Wanderin' Through the Wilderness. "I'm influenced by Dylan and by the music that influenced him: Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson," says Papadimas. "I am also interested in Mediterranean influences. I'm Greek-American. I play the bouzouki. I bring in those influences. It's singer-songwriter, rootsy old-timey stuff with a Mediterranean twist. Over the past decade, you see more of an interest in a acoustic-based music and people bringing different folk musics together with bands like the David Wax Museum. The past decade has been an exciting time for folk music."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: His new album, Waiting, shows off his songwriting skills. A song like "Restless Time" pairs Papadimas' rich voice with evocative slide guitar. With its spirited string arrangement, "Barrier Doors" comes off as a waltz and sounds like Desire-era Dylan. The same goes for "Backwater Rising," a folk-y tune that finds Papadimas talking his way through the song that features standup bass, violin and harmonica. Papadimas spent about two years developing the songs for the album, which he recorded in Youngstown with Pete Drivere, who's know for his work with rock acts the Infidels and Deadbeat Poets. "I got to know him when I moved back to the area," Papadimas says of Drivere. "He really helped with the record. It was my own mixing of the folk musics and he brought in some great players, like steel player Al Moss and Chris Leonardi, who plays Hammond B-3." Papadimas has already played CD release shows in Youngstown and Pittsburgh. After playing one last CD release show in Cleveland, he plans to have a busy summer performing at festivals and in clubs throughout the region.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: demospapadimas.com
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Demos Papadimas performs with Nate Jones and Radio Lark at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, at the Beachland Tavern.