By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — Darke County Center for the Arts opened its 2021-2022 Coffee House Concert season on Thursday at Montage Café with a delightful show by Grammy-nominated artist Zak Morgan. Based in Cincinnati, Morgan is in Darke County to perform at local schools, as part of the DCCA’s Arts in Education program. He has been entertaining children all over the country for the past 21 years.
“I’ve always been a ham,” Morgan chuckled, explaining why he gravitated towards children early on in his musical career. “They are so open with their reactions, and the enthusiasm is so rewarding to see,” he stated, adding that adults are too afraid of being judged.
Morgan opened the concert with “If you Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens, encouraging audience participation. He continued for the next 90 minutes, performing an eclectic blend of mostly country, folk and original songs. Accompanied by guitarist Chris Cusentino, he was also helped out by an occasional audience member.
Morgan invited AJ Watts to sing a duet of the Hank Williams classic “Hey, Good Lookin.’” Later in the show, Luke Young of Celina joined Morgan for his rendition of “I Won’t Back Down.” At one point, Young even added in some of his own beat-boxing.
Morgan earned one of the biggest laughs of the evening with his original song “The Spider’s Web,” about three insects taking their untimely place in the food chain. “I was actually told I needed to change the song, and make it about a good little vegetarian spider,” he said. He added that “circle of life” songs are his forte, having been nominated for a Grammy in 2004 for “When Bullfrogs Croak.”
He also sang two of his more serious songs: “Let Me In,” about the power of forgiveness, and “It’s an Amazing World We’re Living In,” providing encouragement to overcome bullying, and low self-esteem — life lessons for people of all ages.
“This has been an absolute joy for me,” Morgan said of his Montage audience. Hearty applause, cheers, and smiles assured him the feeling was mutual.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts, email [email protected]