After Hours: New AC Jones Song; DeYor Livestream; ‘The Nicest City in America’

AC Jones Uses Timeout For Professional Growth

CANFIELD, Ohio – AC Jones has such a natural confidence on stage; it seems like she’s never had a moment of uncertainty.

But like almost everyone, the Canfield-based country singer has had to work through issues. Only she gets to use her music as the outlet.

Jones recently released the song “Castle” as part of that process.

“Castle” is about a woman’s ability to rise above that which would bring her down, be it mental or physical.

“I went through a period in life where it was complicated to figure out who I was,” Jones says. “There’s pressure to be a certain type of person in the music industry. There’s a lot of pressure on women in general. It was an act of discovering who I was. It was a long journey to discover my voice and my message as a musician.”

The inspiration for “Castle,” she says, is her young niece, Norah, who winningly appears in the video for the song.

Norah is battling diabetes, Hashimoto’s and celiac disease.

“I look at the joy and confidence of my niece,” Jones says. “I see how she battles those things on a daily basis. My biggest fear is that that confidence will be taken away as [young women] grow up. And I never want that to happen.”

“Castle” is the first of a new batch of songs by Jones to see the light of day. More are on the way this summer; but all are about her decision to accept and appreciate herself, and a message to anyone feeling the pressures of the world.

“I want them to embrace who they are,” Jones says.

Pressed for details, the songwriter elaborated.

“I have a people-pleasing nature and it makes it even more difficult to figure out myself,” she says. “I want so badly to have people accept me; it becomes easy to just change aspects of myself to go with the flow.”

Like all musicians, Jones has seen her touring schedule evaporate into nothing, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The last few gigs left standing – three shows at the Canfield Fair – got canceled last week when the fair was called off.

But she’s found a silver lining. She’s using the extra time to write songs, both alone and with other songwriters through teleconference apps.

She also using the time to hone her guitar chops, which she says needed some work.

I expect we’ll see an even more confident Jones when the coronavirus crisis ends.

Columbiana in the House

COLUMBIANA, Ohio – For a small town, Columbiana gets an amazing amount of good publicity on a national level. No city or village around here can touch it.

It started in 2019 when Reader’s Digest named Columbiana “The Nicest City in America.”

In December, Hallmark ranked Columbiana No. 19 on its list of Best Christmas Towns. That list included many of the most famous small towns in the country, including Jackson, Wyoming; Telluride, Colorado; Park City, Utah; Taos, New Mexico; Bar Harbor, Maine; Breckenridge, Colorado; and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In January, Columbiana threw its hat in the ring for a contest by HGTV, in which the home improvement cable network selects one city to focus a series on.

Columbiana’s bid included a video, hosted by Erich Offenburg and Donald Arthurs, which highlights buildings in the town that are deserving of HGTV makeovers.

The list includes two private residences, one a 1902 Queen Anne style home, the other a 1900 “saltbox.”

The video also mentions three structures that would be interesting choices for the network: the 1935 WPA Firestone Park swimming pool building; an empty downtown building that sports a mural across its front; and Heck’s Restaurant.

Columbiana was a solid candidate and its video was first-rate. Sadly, it wasn’t selected.

On July 2, HGTV announced that Wetumpka, Alabama, will be the subject of its upcoming “Home Town Makeover” series, which will premiere in 2021.

More than 2,600 cities entered the contest.

DeYor, Symphony to Livestream

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The DeYor Performing Arts Center, home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, has been shut down since March because of the pandemic. There’s no clear vision as to when it will be permitted to reopen.

To fill the void until it does, the DeYor will present its first livestream gala at 7 p.m. Aug. 22.

The show will be hosted by Randall Craig Fleischer, YSO conductor and music director, and feature many interviews with past musical guests of the DeYor, including Dee Snider, Jodi Benson, Chris Brubeck, Mairead Nesbitt, Phil Keaggy and more. The live-streamed gala will include recorded musical performances as well, some by YSO musicians and others by friends of the orchestra.

It will be followed by an online auction from Aug. 22 to 26. Items on the block include Keaggy’s guitar from his 1978 tour with Glass Harp; and a Viking European River Cruise valued at $7,000.

Those who don’t feel like waiting can make a donation to the DeYor and the YSO now by going to their GoFundMe link.

Pictured: Country music singer AC Jones of Canfield recently released the song “Castle.” Watch her video on YouTube.