Stringer getting into his rhythm
Americana music can now be heard on ALT 102.3 FM
It’s always good to get a little help from your friends.
The latest entry into ALT 102.3’s Homegrown Spotlight, Sean Stringer, has received some help along the way from a couple of Spotlight veterans, Amara Gilraine and Jessie Mae.
“We split a gig at teds, and she was like, ‘You ought to do it,’ ” Stringer said of Mae. “She shot me (ALT 102.3 DJ) Zack Skyler’s email, and from there, I got in contact with him, said I’d be interested in sending him some of my stuff, and he was all about it.”
Skyler was indeed “all about” what he was hearing, and you too can catch it during the ALT 102.3 Showcase each Friday at 7 p.m., as well as Stringer’s Spotlight at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 11.
“I think Sean is a phenomenal guitar player and the lyrics are really well done,” Skyler said.
Finding sweet gig
Growing up in the Cleveland area, the 26-year-old Stringer’s songs seem to come from someone with much more life experience. Picking up the guitar at a young age, Stringer moved on to take classical lessons between about 12 and 16 years old.
Along the way, he also got a knack for woodworking, which led him to Galloup School of Guitar Building and Repair in Big Rapids, Michigan. Following graduation, he made a decision that a lot of musicians do.
“After school, I was looking for a job, and I figured, ‘Well, Sweetwater is probably hiring,’ ” he said. “It just made sense. It wasn’t that big of a jump.”
Joining Sweetwater as a guitar tech in the spring of 2021, Stringer has been flourishing in his new surroundings.
“I always wanted to get closer to music,” he said. “I had just been playing in basement, and I have notebooks and notebooks filled with lyrics. I was just kind of writing music, and I was getting out a little bit doing open mic nights.”
Those nights out playing have increased, which led him to Gilraine, who allowed him to do some recording after she began posting her music to streaming services late last year.
“I really started hitting the open mic scene pretty hard, and met a girl named Amara Gilraine, who’s another local singer-songwriter,” he said. “She already had a little studio set up, so she was like, ‘We have to get some stuff out for you.’ It looks so much better when you can show venues a completely mastered recording. That was when I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ I got out of my shell. I guess I was a little shy in the past, but life’s short.”
Getting local gigs has continued to be tough, as he still finds himself returning to Cleveland for a lot of shows. However, he does have some local gigs lined up, including Friday, Sept. 9, at Howie’s on Hamilton, and Sunday, Oct. 2, at Hop River.
The shows and radio airplay have been coming at Stringer fast, especially considering his first posted EP was A Lonely Avenue on Jan. 19.
“It’s amazing, and it’s really been a quick spin around here,” he said. “I had no idea it was going to change into this, but I’m so grateful. I guess sometimes that’s how it works.”
Since that first release, Stringer has put out another EP, Indiana, as well as four singles, the most recent being “Wasting Your Time” on July 24.
Along with “Wasting Your Time,” his other singles include “I’ll Stay Away,” “Reminds Me of You,” and “Blues Improv,” with the titles hinting at the type of music this Americana artist is about to play, although that’s not the only kind of music he’s into.
“I would like to start doing some more upbeat stuff,” he said. “I have plenty of stuff I still want to release.
Those might be released this year, as he plans to do some recording when outdoor gigs begin to dry up into winter. Having obtained his own recording equipment, he says another EP or full-length album could be released before 2023.