MEET THE BAND: Thor Platter (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Paul Kovac (banjo, guitar, drums, vocals), Paul Lewis (bass, vocals)
BLUEGRASS AND BLUES: Born and raised in Buffalo, local singer-songwriter Thor Platter received a good dose of classic rock as a youth when his sister introduced him to her record collection. She had albums by guys such as Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. His mother's love of traditional Irish music and her Beach Boys obsession left a lasting impression too. Platter also dug into his father's collection of bluegrass and blues, giving him a fairly eclectic musical background, all of which he's channeled into his own music.
A CLEVELAND TRANSPLANT: In Buffalo, Platter played with the Fatbacks, a group that regularly played the local circuit and hit up regional festivals. He left Buffalo and arrived in Cleveland a few years ago. In 2013, he issued Looking for Sunshine, an album of songs that he'd written over the course of the previous decade. He followed it up with 2015's Long Road Ahead, which he recorded locally at Blue Buddha Studio with Jim Wall, the guy who owns the place. Recorded and produced by local musician David Mayfield at his Tiger Spa studio in Akron, Platter's new album, Take Time, features the singer and songwriter and a trio of musicians. Platter met Lewis shortly after he moved from Nashville back to North Ridgeville and recruited him to play in his band. He then recruited Kovac, a local guy who's played in a number of different ensembles. "At the end of last year, the band finally came together, and we've been able to play out of town as a trio and get a great response," says Platter, adding that he doesn't consider him a bluegrass musician even though he plays some music that approximates bluegrass. "I consider myself Americana," he says. "I thought for a second I could be called 'new acoustic,' but I don't know how you would describe my music. We just approached the album as singer-songwriter stuff, and I've immersed myself in playing bluegrass leads on the guitar. Like anyone else, I hate genre stuff."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: When Platter and Mayfield spoke about what to put on the record, they sifted through Platter's back catalog of unrecorded tunes. Take Time opener "Destined" features a bit of banjo as Platter reflects on feeling a bit wanderlust one day on "a dark snow in Buffalo." The song certainly reflects his Midwestern mentality. "I remember sitting in my room at my home in Buffalo one day, and it was miserable out," he says. "It was dark and gloomy, and if you didn't get out to plow the driveway, you weren't getting out for the day." Platter wrote "Open Up Your Heart" when he was only 18. "I think the songs all go together, and they come from a place of growing up in another Midwest town. Buffalo and Cleveland are really similar, but they're also really different from each other. I can't imagine moving now. It's great here now." Since most of the songs on the record date back a few years, Platter and Mayfield plan to start recording another album in January with the songs that Platter has just written.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM:
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Thor Platter performs with the Cave Twins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Music Box Supper Club.