Tim Blake found his rhythm singing and writing music at an early age. He was inspired by his mother, who wasn’t afraid to sing in front of others and danced to “peppy songs,” as she calls them, wherever and whenever she could.
“I got hooked on the laughter and the happiness that music brings,” says Blake, whose mother still enjoys music every day at age 95. “There was always music playing in the house, and it was always something fun.”
The Lorain native began playing music at age 7 when his parents forced him to take accordion lessons. But, that didn’t last long. Once the Beatles debuted their album in 1963, he was hooked on the guitar and rock ’n’ roll. He taught himself how to play and has been rockin’ the guitar and writing songs ever since.
Today, Blake’s written at least 50 songs and released three albums. He tours all over Northeast Ohio, engaging live audiences with award-winning electric violinist Michele George. They frequent local hot spots, like the Catawba Inn in Port Clinton, West Park Station in Cleveland’s Kamm’s Corners and Lorain’s Jackalope Lakeside and Beaver Park Yacht Club.
The duo plays a good mix, from modern and classic rock, to Celtic to blues to Blake’s classic originals. “Tim Blake and Michele” boasts a friendly, energetic vibe, where audience participation is encouraged — if not required. In fact, audience members occasionally can be spotted on stage singing and dancing with them.
“That makes it more fun for me, too,” says Blake, who has been performing at least once a week for nearly four decades. “Sometimes we pass out tambourines and washboards, and I’m constantly encouraging people to sing. It seems to work better when people become part of the band. I’m not shy about that.”
Blake’s originals recount the interesting people and places he’s encountered throughout his life. His biggest hit, “Jewel of the Port,” depicts the Lorain Lighthouse’s return to glory after years of neglect. By request from the Port of Lorain Foundation Inc., he wrote the song when the 1917 lighthouse underwent restoration in the early 2000s.
The hit single received much local attention. In addition to frequent radio airplay, “Jewel of the Port” was featured in a PBS documentary on the Great Lakes lighthouses. Proceeds from sales of the song aided the lighthouse restoration.
“It’s hard to label my own music,” he says. “I like the fact that it’s all different. [They range] from ballads to classic rock.”
Blake’s latest recording is a soon-to-be-released single, “Something to Imagine” — a personal favorite that took him three years to perfect. It’s a rock tribute to the Beatles’ songs, melodies and words of which have touched him throughout his musical journey.
Someday soon, the 59-year-old hopes to retire from his day job as a steel worker and focus on his music full time.
“I hope to dedicate my life to doing just music,” he says. “That’s what I do. That’s who I am. I’m just really blessed that I have that ability.”
Original Play List
Musician-entertainer Tim Blake’s inspiration for writing new music comes from his day-to-day experiences. And every evening, when he sits down to play music, he puts those words together with the melody he has going on in his head at
the time. “Every day, I hear something, [I say], ‘I should write a song about that,’ and many times I do,” he laughs. “I always have something on the back burner.”
Though difficult to choose, Blake’s favorites play list of his originals would go something like this:
• “Perch Jerkin’ Blues”
• “Take Another Route”
• “Something to Imagine”