By: Marah J. Morrison
Local entertainer Todd Cutshaw performed piano for guests at V2 Wine Bar Trattoria in downtown Youngstown on Sept. 1.
Cutshaw, a solo artist from Howland, Ohio, has performed locally for almost 40 years. He said he entertains at local bars, nursing homes and clubs in the Warren and Youngstown areas, but also flies out once or twice a month to different cities.
“I played instruments as a kid and in 12th grade I got a real piano,” Cutshaw said. “Right at the end of my senior year of high school, I decided to put together an audition for Youngstown State University.”
Cutshaw attended YSU in the early ’80s where he received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. In the late ’90s, he received his master’s degree. He said it is essential as an artist to perform to all age groups.
“I like playing for kids because it keeps me on my toes, learning some of the rap music and the hip-hop kind of stuff that’s coming out,” Cutshaw said, “but I like playing for the older folks because you feel like that’s a real purpose — it’s their last stop in life.”
Cutshaw said he knows a lot of ’20s, ’30s and ’40s music, but nursing homes in particular are moving more into ’50s, ’60s and ’70s music.
“I know thousands of songs,” Cutshaw said, “but I also have an iPad loaded up with tens of thousands of songs so if I don’t know the song, I can usually do it.”
Cutshaw said he’s performed at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts and at V2 at least a dozen times, as well as other locations in Youngstown.
Sally Bogdan, a waitress and bartender at V2, has worked at the local wine bar for five years. She said local entertainment benefits the restaurant, both eliminating stress of workers and raising extra money for the business.
“Wednesdays and usually Thursdays we have Jay Byrd,” Bogdan said. “And he’s a musician and plays guitar and piano.”
Bogdan said the wine bar hosts a live DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, which definitely draws in a crowd.
“I think it makes [the Youngstown area] exciting, and downtown is always trying to be bigger and have more people come down here,” Bogdan said. “So, when college students have something to do, I think it definitely makes it more exciting for them and campus life.”
Kevin Deckant, the assistant manager at V2 and alumni from YSU, said V2 is a nice place to hang out, relax and to listen to performers.
“Everything is better with music,” Deckant said.
Upcoming events at the wine bar include Jay Byrd R&B on Sept. 16 and Dec. 8, National Cheeseburger Day on Sept. 18 and Italian Heritage Month beginning Oct. 1.