Demos Papadimas to Unveil New Album

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — On his new album, Demos Papadimas continues along the distinct yet parallel musical paths he has been treading for years.

But this time, there is an extra level of polish.

The Youngstown-based artist and his ultra-tight band roar on folk-rock numbers that blend blues and Dylan-esque tunesmithing.

He also has a penchant for lively Old World folk, the kind you might hear around a gypsy campfire.

The genres are different but share a common thread of roots music. They intertwine on “The Way Up,” which will be released Friday. To mark the new album’s arrival, the band will play a show Saturday in the main room of West Side Bowl in Youngstown. Admission is $10. Opening act will be Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Ray Flanagan.

The contrasts on the album are obvious when comparing tunes like “Broken Free” and “Out of My Mind.”

The former is a rockabilly rave-up with a rat-a-tat rhythm section and some vicious harmonica work. The latter is a tale of woe with a rueful violin and a musical hook from another era.

The pandemic was in full effect during the recording process and it slowed things down. But there was an upside. With the possibility of playing shows ruled out, Papadimas took all the time he needed to make the record the best it could be.

“This was recorded over two years, from August 2019 to August 2021,” Papadimas said. “That’s a long period of time. But it’s about the right period to make sure you aren’t rushing things and you can get to know the songs.”

The artist said the slow pace allowed him and audio engineer Pete Drivere “to commit them to tape in a way that does them justice.”

Drivere produced the album at his Ampreon Recorder studio in Youngstown.

Had there been no pandemic, the recording process would have likely taken no more than a year. Papadimas said the extra time permitted experimentation.

“It allowed me and Pete to go deeper and try stuff out,” he said. “We experimented using different guitars.”

Papadimas is pleased with energy and style of the 10-song album.

“I’m getting back to rock a bit,” he said. “I play some lead guitar on there. It has some of the bluesiest stuff I’ve ever done. It’s a little more blues-rock and less Americana.”

The new collection is the second of the year for the artist, who released a live album in June.

The core of Papadimas’ band is long-time drummer Ralph Rich and bassist Andre Ptichkin, an original member who recently rejoined.

Past members and current collaborators who appear on the new album include guitarist Dave Lynn, violinist Caitlin Hedge and keyboardist Danny Svenson.

The new release has Papadimas eyeing the future. He is planning an album of Greek folk tunes and another full-band album.

“I’m in a good place creatively right now,” he said. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds, and I’m ready to do the next one.”

But up next on the agenda are some shows.

After the Westside Bowl gig, Papadimas and his band will play at The Record Connection in Pinetree Plaza, near Niles, on Black Friday; at Birdfish Brewing in Columbiana at a date to be determined in December; and at The Grog Shop in Cleveland during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Pictured: Demos Papadimas, flanked by bassist Andre Ptichkin and drummer Ralph Rich.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.