LSC Music Series show fun for all

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (April 11, 2024) – If you weren’t there, you should’ve been. The “Origins” show, produced by singer/songwriter Mark Leach, which appeared on the Loveland Stage Company Theater (LSC) stage last Saturday was great fun for everyone.  

Josh Withenshaw, Mark Leach and Evan Blankenship with audience in the background following the “Origins” show at LSC Saturday, April 6 (Photo Credit Steve Ziegelmeyer)

Ask anyone who did attend, and you’ll hear adjectives like amazing, great, better than I hoped, wonderful and fun. Oh, and there were plenty of people who did attend the near sellout performance (only 24 unsold seats) by Mark Leach and his fellow Nashville singer/songwriter pals Josh Withenshaw and Evan Blankenship. The idea was for the three artists to share what it’s like writing songs in Nashville. Mark, Josh & Evan have all participated in “writer’s rounds” in Music City. The short explanation is this: singer/songwriter hopefuls get together in a bar and share a song title (The Hook) and then they each work to come up with lyrics for the song. Thus, the “origins” of songs they hope to record, or have recorded by known artists. It is what they hope for, work for, and yes, it does happen.

Singer/songwriter Evan Blankenship performing during “Origins” show at LSC April 6, 2024 (Photo credit Steve Ziegelmeyer)

The show “Origins” performed on stage at LSC Saturday night demonstrated just how much fun being a part of the process can be. Mark Leach was introduced and came on stage first and he wasted no time engaging the audience with his humorous introductions of Josh Withenshaw and Evan Blankenship. Just to give you a taste, he gave a rather complimentary, yet not too lengthy introduction for Evan, but then simply said: “C-mon out” without any fanfare for Josh. Somehow it didn’t seem like any slight, it was just fun between friends. Of course, it will help you to understand better if you know Mark Leach grew up near Columbus as a Buckeye fan and Evan Blankenship attended Ohio State and played football for the Buckeyes. Oh yeah, and Josh Withenshaw is from Michigan. It provided for some good-natured ribbing and fun as the show went on. Nuff said.

Singer/songwriter Josh Withenshaw (straw hat on right ) looks on as Mark Leach performs  and Evan Blankenship also looking on far left during Origins show (Photo credit Steve Ziegelmeyer)

The audience was treated to rounds of songs from each of the trio starting with Evan then in rotation Mark and Josh. Each one would offer a little story about the origin of the song they played. Virtually every story had a humorous touch to it and all revealed exactly where the inspiration for lyrics came from. Evan wasn’t only strumming guitar strings, he spent the evening tugging at heart strings with his songs about lost love, break-ups or the more poignant song inspired by the birth of his daughter. Mark and Josh simply suggested Evan might need some therapy or counseling with all the sad songs.  Josh even asked if Evan was going to make him cry on every song.

Singer/songwriter and producer of “Origins” Mark Leach performs one of his songs during the show in Loveland April 6, 2024 (Photo credit Steve Ziegelmeyer)

It wasn’t all break-ups and tears, Mark offered some more lively fare including his song “I Come from Ohio” which was quite well received after including his favorite moment with that song came when he played it in “The Shoe” during a Buckeye football game. Not to mention he ended it Saturday night with “damn the Wolverines” which earned a rafter-rattling ovation from the Ohio-biased audience. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the engagement of the audience to chant along with Evan as he shouted “I say O – H , you say I – O” again, rattling the rafters. Don’t worry about our Michigan lad Josh Withenshaw, he was able to fend for himself with a retort of: “I say NATIONAL and you say CHAMPIONS!”  

The crowd was not quite as strong in his favor, but surprisingly more Michigan support than one might have expected. There were a lot of laughs. Like the headline says: music and mischief.

Josh Withenshaw displayed great timing – almost like he was the Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson for both Evan and Mark. Withenshaw never missed a beat with his humorous retorts. His music and songs hit the spot just as easily. One of the best was “This House” which he opened with this story about the origin of the song: “It’s about a house,” and he began singing.

Josh Withenshaw – Nashville Singer/Songwriter appearing with Mark Leach in Origins at LSC (Photo Tom Allen)

Mark Leach was the anchor in the middle throughout taking the hand-off from Evan after each of his songs, and then sharing stories of his experience writing and recording songs. You’ll want to catch his story about Luke Combs before he was LUKE COMBS we all know and love. Short version: he heard some guy named Luke working on songs and said: “That guy is going to blow-up” referring to how good he sounded. We all know the rest of that story. Then there’s the one he told about being sent out to work with another singer/songwriter at her home. Got there, was invited to take a seat while she finished getting ready, saw a photo of a “shirtless flexing” Terry Bradshaw on the coffee table, worked on the song with the singer/songwriter and upon leaving learned she was Carrie Bradshaw daughter of the famous NFL quarterback/commentator.

Evan Blankenship, Mark Leach and Josh Withenshaw on stage togehter at Loveland Stage Company for “Origins” April 6, 2024 (Photo credit Steve Ziegelmeyer)

It went like that throughout the very fast-paced and entertaining 90 minute show. “Origins” reveals a side of the making music in Music City in a way that only makes you appreciate it more, or start listening if you’re not already. Mark Leach, Evan Blankenship and Josh Withenshaw bring it the music, the inspiration for it, and their own story to life in a most entertaining and endearing way. The audience is left feeling like part of their family. It’s clear, you are and they like it that way. Their music and mischief was fun for all.

Josh Withenshaw tours with the band: “The Dangerous Summer” find him on FB at: josh.withenshaw.3 

Evan Blankenship plays with the band: “North to Nashville” Check them out at: https://northtonashville.com/

Mark Leach is currently working to complete his next album. Find him on FB at: MarkLeachMusic

Enjoy more photos from the Origins show online at: www.zieglemeyerphotography.com with thanks to photographer Steve Ziegelmeyer.