Warren venue creates space for live music during virus restrictions


Some bands are finding ways to perform during the pandemic

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Since March, musicians like those that play in the Bobby Ocean Band have been sidelined, but the two Warren natives got the chance to perform Wednesday night.

Bobby Ocean and Jay Byrd played songs they wrote and cover songs at Charbenay’s Wine on the River in Warren, giving them a chance to entertain the hometown crowd of about 40 people.

Ocean felt relaxed, but Byrd felt a little nervous.

“For me, it is easier to play in front of strangers, folks that don’t have a background in knowing you. Those people, you know them and you want them to have a favorable impression of the music,” Byrd said.

The band has had the opportunity to work with a number of fellow artists like George Strait’s drummer and Reba McEntire’s guitarist. But since the pandemic started, they had to stop concerts.

“I think with the Bobby Ocean Band, obviously, we’ve had a ton of shows canceled this past summer and even up to now, some pretty large shows,” Ocean said.

Byrd said on a good year, they have 150 shows.

“This year, my schedule had a hole shot through it from March to middle or late June.,” he said.

So, the band turned to recording more songs and worked on digital elements. But on Wednesday, fans were happy to see them performing again.

Monica Strong and Meliss Miller are friends of the band. They both say they miss live performances.

“It’s sad that we can’t go to concerts, right now,” Strong said. “It’s nice to be able to see people perform live.”

The band’s performance was held outside on the back patio of the winery. People were spaced out and asked to wear masks when they got up.

“They are doing a good job here at the winery. They are making sure that people are wearing the masks when you walk in and when you move around. They ask that you wear your masks,” said Melissa Miller, patron.

Even though this venue is smaller than what the band is accustomed to, Ocean says it is a fun experience.

“It’s nice to just come back here. It’s nice to go back and forth. It’s nice being in Nashville, but it’s nice being back in your hometown,” he said.

While concerts like the one held at the winery are allowed, some are wondering why concerts in the park are prohibited. WKBN First News has reached out to the Trumbull Combined Health District with this question, but we have not received a response as of this report.

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