Eric Ling and Shanna Delaney met as Kent State students seven years ago. Though she was a singer into old-time country music and musical theater, and he was all about Bright Eyes and Elliott Smith, they started an indie-rock band and eventually got married. By 2009 their band, Bethesda, released its debut EP; last year they completed their first album and opened for some of their favorite groups, including Azure Ray. "Eric used to put their songs on CD for me when we were dating," says Delaney.
Now Bethesda are planning a video for "Dreamtiger," the lilting Neko Case-like title track from their brand-new EP. Then they'll tour the East Coast before returning to Cleveland for the Weapons of Mass Creation arts and indie-rock festival next month.
"We've changed so much from our first EP," says Delaney. "We had some folk songs and some pop-punk songs. You could hear we were trying to find our sound. This one is a solid five tunes. We're starting to grow and come into our own."
Bethesda play a CD-release show at 8 p.m. Saturday at Musica in Akron. Speedbumps and the Afternoon Naps' Craig Ramsey open. Tickets are $10, available at akronmusica.com.
The Blue Ribbon Bluegrass Band are wrapping up their debut album. But you can hear some of the new songs when they open for the .357 Stringband on Wednesday, May 4, at the Beachland Tavern. "Our CD takes some old traditional songs and gives them new life," says frontman Adam Snook. "The best part of this whole thing is we are able to have one song recognized by the parents, and on the next song the rockers get their fill, when we play balls to the wall." Hiram Rapids Stumblers are also on the bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $8, available at beachlandballroom.com.
CJ Gunn — who's played with Marky Ramone and Friends, Subtones, the Dead Enders, and the Pinheads — is recording an album he hopes to have out by the end of summer. In the meantime, the punk rocker makes his solo debut on Friday at Anabell's in Akron. The free show also includes the Giggitys and the Riverburners. On Saturday, Gunn will celebrate his 37th birthday at the Spitfire Lounge with the Giggitys and Dead Federation. Both shows start at 9 p.m.
Founding Fathers singer-guitarist John Kalman plays his "second solo show in Cleveland in 10 years" at 9 p.m. Friday at the Happy Dog. For the "acoustic-ish" show, he'll be accompanied by singer-songwriters Bill Fox, Jill Hartmann, and Omine Eager. Tickets are $5, available at happydogcleveland.
Buzzworthy rapper Machine Gun Kelly returns from his spring tour for a homecoming show at 9 p.m. Saturday at House of Blues. DJ EV and DJ Steph Floss open. Tickets range from $20 to $35, available at houseofblues.com.
K.I.N.D., a new band featuring three original members of veteran alt-rockers Dink, make their debut with a free 8 p.m. show at the Garage Bar on Saturday.