Songs for the community

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By Ris Twigg
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Ris Twigg
Dan Heidt is a singer-songwriter hailing from the Hilltop. He and two other musicians, Ron Freeman and Zach Whitney, also from the Westside, approached Third Way Cafe in January of 2019 about starting a monthly community songwriter’s event at the West Broad Street coffee shop. The event took a short break before re-launching earlier this year.

Returning to Third Way Cafe is “Third Sundays,” a monthly music series featuring local singer-songwriters from the Hilltop and central Ohio.

Hailing from the Westside are hosts Dan Heidt, Ron Freeman and Zach Whitney, all singer-songwriters who approached Third Way Cafe just over a year ago to start the monthly music series.

“Together, we alternate hosting duties and we bring in some songwriters from all over the place, all over the central Ohio area,” Dan Heidt, host of the Feb. 16 event, said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Last year, the three musicians decided to take a break from the program before re-launching in January to kick off the new year.

February’s Third Sunday event featured host Dan Heidt and his two guests, Phil Clark and Benjamin Marshall, who are also singer-songwriters.

Nestled among book-lined shelves, glowing incandescent lights and the smell of fresh coffee, Third Way Cafe’s full-house of audience members sipped coffee and tea — included in the $5 cover charge — while Heidt, Clark and Marshall strummed their guitars to self-produced tunes about life, love, dingy apartments, cats and old memories.

“Some of these guys have been around for 20 plus years. The music they have to offer — it’s just amazing,” Timothy Rush, co-founder of Third Way Cafe, said during the event at the W. Broad Street coffee shop. “Dan Heidt’s a songwriter and storyteller. It’s like opening up a kids book.”

Rush said that just over a year ago, Heidt, Freeman and Whitney approached him about starting a monthly community songwriter’s night, and he was immediately on board. By providing a community gathering space that focuses on local music, Rush hopes to create a healthy environment for folks on the Hilltop to enjoy.

“Overall, to have a healthy community, you need to have places where people can go to interact with each other in a healthy way,” Rush said. “And I think music’s a great way to do that. I think it provides good conversation. I think it provides a good space where everybody in the room can disagree on anything and still come together and have fun and talk about their own community.”

About 30 or more people filtered in and out of the event, hosted every third Sunday of the month from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

“There’s plenty of room. It’s a fun event. You don’t have to be a certain type of person to come. You can sit alone or sit with other people,” Rush said. “It’s BYOB (and) bring your own food. The music’s great. Coffee comes with the cover charge. Tea comes with the cover charge. And it’s only $5.”

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