The AthensNEWS Annual Manual — Annual Manual 2010
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Bruce and Gay Dalzell
Natalie Knoth

Bruce and Gay Dalzell can be described as a harmonious couple.

They were both nominated for the Best in Athens artist survey for their musical contributions. Both have been performing for about 35 years, they said in separate interviews.

Bruce – who has his own studio called I Love Brucie studios – plays what he dubs “contemporary folk,” although, he added, “I do everything my heart desires.”

Nominator Jean Andrews of Athens had nothing but praise for Bruce Dalzell’s music. “A road trip with one of Bruce’s Cds playing calls you back to the wooded hills and valleys of Appalachian Ohio, no matter how long your journey may be,” Andrews wrote in the online nomination.

Bruce’s many accomplishments include being nominated for a WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Association) award for his song “Tocoi Light” and performing as a guest on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s “Mountain Stage.”

Bruce won “Best Impact of Music in a Documentary – Jury Choice” in the bronze category in the 2008 Park City Film Music Festival, according to a previous article in The Athens NEWS. He won the honor for a soundtrack he created for the video documentary, “A Forest Returns: The Success Story of Ohio’s Only National Forest as Told by Ora E. Anderson.”

In the 2009 Park City awards, he won the “Silver Medal for Excellence” for “Best Impact of Music in a Documentary” for “Ropewalk.”

On the local front, he has been hosting open mic nights – called Open Stage – on Fridays in The Front Room for about 20 years, he said. A few years ago he started a Wednesday night open mic show as well.

While he has performed at many places in the Athens area, he does have a favorite.

“The best place in town for what I do is Donkey Coffee,” Bruce said. “It’s a nice, quiet listening room.” The cozy, eclectic coffee shop is located at 17 ½ W. Washington St. in Athens.

His wife, Gay, is certainly no stranger to the music scene either.

As far as her most memorable performance, Gay had a diffi cult time deciding.

One that sticks out in her mind is her performance with the The Local Girls trio at the White House for Hilary Clinton’s 50th birthday.

“From the exposure we were invited to sing for the Christmas celebration,” Dalzell said.

Performing with the trio on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor is another experience she will never forget. (Mimi Hart and Brenda Catania, both literally local gals, are the two other singers.)

The trio has also performed in Europe.

Bob Edwards of “The Bob Edwards Show” on XM Satellite Public Radio said of the trio, “You girls sound like angels!” according to The Local Girls’ Web site at

But Gay also said some of her most memorable times – and the most touching – are those she spends with patients and their families.

“To be able to sing with someone who’s dying and their family is the most meaningful experience. It’s an honor,” Gay said.

Gay said working with elderly infl icted with severe dementia is a truly rewarding experience.

“Someone might not remember their name, but they’ll remember a song they grew up with,” she said.

“Everyday I work I sing. Sing, sing, sing,” Gay said.

Gay and Bruce also blend their musical talents together on occasion, performing together at private parties, weddings and funerals.

And how do they feel about being nominated? Both seemed modest and a little lost for words.

“It’s thrilling!” Bruce said.

“I think, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’ because we’re in the land of plenty (of talent),” Gay said with a laugh. “It’s quite tickling.”