In 1999 Randy Bartz, a resident of Columbia City, Indiana, was visiting his longtime friend, Shane Decker. Shane is a singer-songwriter who lives in Nashville. As Shane raved about the show that he and some fellow songwriters had just produced in West Virginia, Randy and Mark Gevaart, a Waynedale resident thought about producing that same kind of show right here in this area.
The show layout idea was to put on stage 5 singer-songwriters, who were also very good musicians, in an intimate acoustic setting. This would enable all of them to each play the other artist/friend’s music while each making their individual fan base happy. They would play for two hours and then do another hour and a half of meeting and greeting fans.
To make this show a reality in May of 2001 Mark from Waynedale and Randy from Columbia City went about contacting folks to support the show set for October 20, 2001.
“Once the artists were secured and committed to that date, things just started rolling:” Randy said. “We knew the artists wanted a high school auditorium type of setting.” “The entire idea is the artist, with acoustic guitars, in a place that a mother and her teenage daughter could both go to see a show. They could both share the event as a family” added Mark.
The best part of the show is the line-up of talent that Shane Decker has been able to assemble:
MARK MCGUINN-A native of North Carolina,. Mark initially wanted to be a professional soccer player, rather than a career musician. But with his mother’s persistence, Mark started his musical career by learning swing era jazz and pop. McGuinn set to work teaching himself guitar and piano, and then composing in the same manner by simply putting ideas down on paper without any formal training.
In many ways McGuinn’s story is a throwback to country’s early days, when pioneering labels took chances on fresh voices and gave them an opportunity to express their musical vision. VFR Records an independent Nashville label, provided the space and support Mark needed to build, write and complete his current CD with a #1 Billboard hit, “Mrs. Steven Rudy”. A song co-written by his good friend, Shane Decker.
SHANE DECKER-A native of Edgerton, Wisconsin. Shane’s career finds it’s musical roots n TX, where “Shane Decker and the Vibrolux Cowboys” were favorites in the Austin scene for over a decade. Shane came to Nashville in 1989 and opened shows for the then unknown Curb recording artist Tim McGraw and they became roommates and good friends.
Shane has been a friend and frequent co-writing partner of Deryl Dodd. He has written many songs with Deryl including “This Ole World” (recently recorded by Michael Petersen) and “Time On My Hands”. Shane has just co-produced, along with Blake Chancey (Dixie Chicks) Deryl Dodd’s forthcoming record “Pearl Snaps.” Shane and Mark McGuinn co-wrote 4 songs, including the Billboard No. 1 best selling single “Mrs. Steven Rudy.”
ARLOS SMITH-A native of West Virginia. Arlos started his musical career playing and singing in the Parkersburg area and all along the historic river cities of the beautiful Ohio River.
Smith is an award winning singer-songwriter who was named SESAC songwriter of the year in 2000 for the song “Home To You” recorded by John Michael Montgomery. He also co-wrote the song “Loves Great” recorded by Michael Petersen. Arlos currently has songs being recorded and performed by Rascal Flats and David Kersh.
D. VINCENT WILLIAMS-Born and raised in Lifkin, TX D. moved to Nashville, TN in late 1994 and landed a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1995.
D. has a unique style to his writing and has written for Ty Herndon-“Hands of a Working Man”, Billy Gilman-“Oklahoma” and “My Time on Earth”, The Wilkinsons-“I Gotta Get Outta Here”, and a current single by Rascal Flats-“I’m Moving On”.
DAVID KERSH-A native Texan, was a popular kid. At the age of 9 he was singing in the First Baptist Church. Baseball and football were his main focus as a teen. An injury in football led him off the field and into the high school choir. There, his teachers and peers heard a talented and natural voice.
After paying his dues in honky tonks and fairs nationwide, “the boy with the million dollar smile” found himself on tour with Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire. His awesome success is due in large part to his talent and the hard work he has put into his two Curb Record releases “Goodnight Sweetheart” and “If I Ever Stop Loving You”.
While touring with some top name artists, these songwriters have learned a thing or two about how to treat their audiences. “A young fan has just as big a mouth as an older one, and word of mouth, the way people feel about you, is what brings in more fans,” says David Kersh. “We will sign pictures, pose for pictures, sign CD’s and shirts, as well as, talk with our fans, until we have seen them all. We want to give them what they want, a few moments of our time. It means so much to us and them,” continues Shane Decker.
Well, one thing lead to another and with some clever planning by both Bartz and Gevaart, these two unlikely “Producers” were able to bring this show to us. The show “5 Squares in The Round” is scheduled for October 20th at the Carroll High School auditorium. Doors will open at 6pm and the show will start at 7pm. Tickets are on sale exclusively at the Midwest America Credit Unions. Tickets will also be available the day of the show from 3-7pm at the Carroll High School auditorium box office.
This show has a down home, on your front porch feel to it. It is a show that can be enjoyed by fans of all ages. No loud amplifiers, no banging drums, just 5 men who make a living writing and singing country songs. This will make a great Saturday night out for the entire family.
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