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Local Band in Focus

Hey, Mavis!


Meet the Band: Ed "Stevie" Caner (fiddle, viola profunda), Laurie Michelle "Tootsie" Caner (banjo, vocals), and Sarah "Mavis" Benn (bass, vocals)

The Road to Old-Timey: After globetrotting with Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and Pavarotti, renowned fiddler Stevie returned to Akron in 2008 and joined forces with the vocal duo the Rhondas, creating the Cuyahoga Valley's craftiest Americana triumvirate. "We come from diverse musical backgrounds," says lead songwriter Tootsie. "But it didn't take long for us to meld those influences into our signature, modern old-timey sound."

Mavis in the Mix: Last year's rootsy but adventurous debut Red Wine was produced by Don Dixon (who's worked with R.E.M. and the Smithereens). The group's second album will be out later this year.

Least Obvious Influences: "My dad listened to Michael Jackson and Madonna all the time," says Tootsie. "So I'm sure that finds its way into my songwriting."

Motherhood Is Like Making Music: "When you perform an original song in front of an audience for the first time, it's kind of like finally letting your kids cross the street on their own," says Tootsie, who's expecting her third child with Stevie soon. "However, if things go badly, it's a lot easier to write another song than to grow another baby."

Hey, Mavis! What Makes You Happy? "When it comes down to it, we just want to make great music, perform for appreciative audiences, raise our kids, and have a good time," says Tootsie.

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: At the Ohio Music Store in Kent on April 29. — Andrew Clayman

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