Cleveland’s musical storyteller Alex Bevan describes his journey in 2 nights at Stocker Arts Center

January 9, 2018 GMT

Cleveland’s musical storyteller Alex Bevan describes his journey in 2 nights at Stocker Arts Center

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Alex Bevan is all about perspective.

Well, perspective and brevity. Well, perspective, brevity and emotion. Well, perspective, brevity, emotion and Life.

“Life” is what the music of the “Skinny Little Boy From Cleveland” is about now. Maybe it always was, but over the course of the years, Bevan, who many would agree is the dean of Cleveland’s songwriters, has gotten better and better at capturing it.

All that will be on display as a sort of musical autobiography in each of two nights of music on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12 and 13, at Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Arts Center.


“When they offered me the studio slot, I thought it would be a great time to go in and do a part-legacy and part-where-I-am-now performance,″ said Bevan, calling from his home near Lake Erie in Madison Township.

“I wear a number of different musical hats,″ he said. “There’s the kids stuff [he’s a noted author of children’s music], there’s the Lake Erie music and the legacy stuff, which is the ‘Skinny Little Boy.’ ″

The idea, he said, would be to start with one and segue through the others so fans might get a rare chance to see all the sides of this multifaceted, much-loved singer-songwriter at one time.

“Skinny Little Boy,″ one of his best-known tunes, came out in the middle ’70s, but Bevan has been working, writing and learning far longer than that.

“Being a word guy, over the years I’ve worked really hard at imagining myself approaching some economy of poetic statement,″ he said. “Most of what I do when I rewrite is throw out words.

“I remember working with Pat Dailey and Shel Silverstein,″ said Bevan, who produced several of fellow Cleveland legend Dailey’s albums. “Shel, he was a stone-cold genius. On one of Pat’s songs, he’d nitpick a word and I’d go, ‘The more words, the better.’ ″

In true sponge fashion, he soaked up the lessons of those days.

“Pat and Shel were such great friends, and at the time, I was producing Pat’s records,″ Bevan said. “It was fantastic. You had two marvelous, creative forces in the room, and there I am trying to be the H between the two O’s.″

They are lessons he learned well. As memorable as “Skinny Little Boy From Cleveland″ was, and as great as his album “Grand River Lullaby″ was, Bevan’s writing has gotten better and more meaningful as the years have progressed. Two of his most recent albums, “Dreams Came″ and 2017′s “True Meridian” (which will get a lot of play at the Stocker shows) boast a Mark Twain-like simplicity, cloaked in oceanic depths of emotion.


“During the ‘Skinny Little Boy’ days, aside from having the benefit of being 25 years old and not knowing [bleep], everything with the world was wide open, and there were no limitations,″ Bevan said.

“Over the years, through 40 years of playing and writing, you get to the point where you realize there ARE limitations,″ he said. “But within those limitations, there are incredible amounts of freedom.″

Though he doesn’t write “like″ anyone else, Bevan said goes about the process with the same goals as some of songwriting’s legends.

“I’m trying to write something that I want to share and I want to sing over and over and will grow,′ he said. “There are songs like that.

“If I can go to a Steve Goodman song, ‘City of New Orleans,’ aside from remembering Steve, every time I sing that I go to a place that teaches me something . . .”

“True Meridian″ comes closest to that. Recorded alone with just his voice and guitar, the album is as honest as it is stark – and oddly enough is made better by its flaws, like the occasional buzzing strings.

“Those imperfections, combined with the Dylanesque poetry of Bevan’s lyrics, which only seem to grow stronger and paradoxically more universal as they become increasingly introspective, are what make the album real,″ is what I wrote in a review of the album.

“That’s what a good song is,″ Bevan said in the interview to discuss the Stocker show. “It’s something that stays alive.″

In true Bevan style, he summed it up in equal parts succinctness and poetry.

“It’s the difference between what is music and what is a recording.″

Alex Bevan When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12 and 13. Where: Cirigliano Studio Theatre at Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Arts Center, 1005 N. Abbe Road, Elyria. Tickets: $20; $10 for LCCC students, people under 18 and active duty military personnel, at the door or online at lorainccc.edu/stocker.