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Local band becomes finalist in citywide song contest
|Pictured above is Chris Gianvito, guitar and vocals; Jack Crow, bass player; Dan Keller, lead guitar and vocals; Dean Wilson, guitar, vocals and percussion; and Steve Proudfoot, drummer.
Patrons of Polly’s Tavern on Sullivant Avenue and Plank’s on Broadway may be familiar with the classic rock cover band, Hell N Keller, but may not know the band is a finalist in the Celebrate Columbus in Song contest.
In December, the organization 200Columbus received 123 original songs in response to an open call. The contest was designed to find melodies that capture the spirit of central Ohio. A dozen of the songs will be featured on a CD released later this year.
Twenty-nine songs were selected on Feb. 14 and are being voted on through March 23.
Hell N Keller submitted, “My City,” written by band member Chris Gianvito of the Westside.
The band was founded by lead vocalist Dan Keller. The remaining members are Dean Wilson of Hilliard, Steve Proudfoot of Clintonville and Jack Crow of the south end. All of the band members have known each other most their lives.
Gianvito, who has lived on the Hilltop for 20 years, wrote “My City,” when he first heard talks about the contest.
“We spun our wheels around for close to two months,” Gianvito said. “It was not an easy subject, to be creative with.”
Gianvito hoped to create a song that identified the area, without being too trivial. He avoided simply dropping the names of landmarks and hotspots.
“In the end I tried to have fun with it,” Gianvito said.
Gaining inspiration from the diverse playlist of the Beatles, Hell N Keller performs classic rock, with elements of a modern sound.
Keller said their gigs consist of four hours with cover songs, but they hope to move toward playing original content.
“That’s what is in our hearts, to write songs and write stuff people want to hear,” Keller said.
Keller got his first taste of playing live in junior high school, when he and Crow performed for their Sadie Hawkins dance as the C&O Railroad Band.
That same summer Keller and Crow won the battle of the bands at what is now Berliner Park during a Fourth of July celebration.
“It showed me the power of music,” Keller said.
Hell N Keller has performed regularly for about five years. They also put on “Beatle Fest” every few years. As the name hints at, it is a full night of nothing but Beatles’ songs. According to Keller, these events are wildly successful.
The band has hosted two fests so far, the first at Plank’s and the second at Polly’s. Keller said they hope to plan another one in the future.
Hell N Keller’s next two performances are at Victory’s, 543 S. High St., on March 24 and Planks, 4022 Broadway, Grove City on April 21.
The public may listen to all 29 songs in the Celebrate Columbus in Song contest and cast their vote at www.song.200columbus.com/vote.
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