Leave them wanting more

May 28, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

It might seem like sacrilege for a band to arrive, perform and leave all in the same day -- at the height of Western Maryland Blues Fest.

But that is the plan for Cephas & Milo's Rusty Strings Road Show, a two-man acoustic act booked for a show Saturday at The Gourmet Goat & GG's Restaurant & Martini Bar, where the guys have played for the past three years.

Now entering its 14th year, the Western Maryland Blues Fest is a four-day festival of blues music set in and around downtown Hagerstown. The Nighthawks kick things off tonight with a free concert at University Plaza Park. Organizers say attendance has ranged from 8,000 to 18,000, making it one of the city's biggest events.

While most up-and-coming bands would jump at the chance of performing in downtown Hagerstown during Blues Fest, so that they can network with Blues Fest's big-name performers and introduce their music to the thousands of expected attendees. But Cephas & Milo's Rusty Strings Road Show will come, they will play, and then they will leave.


They hope to arrive in Pittsburgh a shade past dinner time, explained Jim Zahniser, the "Milo" half of Cephas & Milo.

Perhaps, it's a matter of practicality.

Zahniser, a 41-year-old graphic designer and illustrator from Pittsburgh, said playing shows is about the only time he gets to hang out with his bud, Matt Texter -- aka "Cephas" -- who lives in Erie, Pa.

Cephas & Milo was formed as an extension of their friendship, Zahniser said.

Zahniser is a hobbyist guitar player. It's Texter who does most of the heavy lifting, as a singer-songwriter who does lots of recording and gigging outside of their duo act, Zahniser said.

On Saturday, Cephas & Milo will make their fourth appearance at the Gourmet Goat, said co-owner Paul Deputy. He said the duo have already developed a following.

"People know they're coming," Deputy said.

Cephas & Milo got their start performing what Zahniser called "old-timey" music at low-key venues -- coffee shops and antique markets. The Cephas & Milo persona developed along the way.

"It sounded like two old guys," Zahniser said.

Zahniser and Texter used to work together, but have since taken jobs in different cities and have families of their own, Zahniser said. Now that they might get to see each other twice a year.

Performing together as Cephas & Milo is treated as an extended road trip.

"That's kind of our guy thing to do, to go out and play music," Zahniser said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Cephas & Milo's Rusty Strings Road Show

WHEN: Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 30

WHERE: The Gourmet Goat & GG's Restaurant & Martini Bar, 41 N. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown. This portion of Potomac Street will be closed to automobile traffic during Blues Fest but will be accessible to foot traffic.

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, go to

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