Country Living

Hunting and Fishing and Making Music


The connection between a passion for making music and the joy of fishing and hunting is a close one, especially around Northern Ohio.

Almost every weekend it’s a snap to catch up with musicians who are also long-time outdoor friends. They’re playing at clubs and concert venues all around the area. And if they’re not, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll be on the water chasing a few walleye or bass, or hunting deer, ducks and wild turkeys.

Four favorites are Steve Madewell, Pat Dailey, Alex Bevan and Steve Brownell. I often plug in their songs and we often enjoy many of the same outdoor adventures.

Steve Madewell performs all over Ohio, although his full-time job is executive director of the Toledo Metroparks. He’s extremely good at both. He has headed three of the 10 largest park systems in Ohio.

Madewell, 60, loves to entertain, and feels the need to bring the wonders of the outdoors to his music. His “Rivers And Trails” album features a personal favorite, “Spawn Till You Die.” Growing up in the Dayton area, his first guitar was a hand-me-down Kent 12-string. These days, he has 13 guitars, just as many fly rods and a few shotguns and rifles.

When Madewell and his wife, Mary Jo, moved to Toledo four years ago, they kept their Lake County home on Big Creek. It could be the because the beautiful home is nestled in a pristine valley. It’s just as likely because there are steelhead trout in Big Creek and white-tailed deer and wild turkeys in abundance.

Patrick Huston Dailey is the most popular of my bunch of my musical friends. His longevity as the bard of both Put-In-Bay and Key West is amazing. So many Saturday nights throughout the summer Dailey has had the popular Beer Barrel Saloon and now the Boathouse at Put-In-Bay rocking with his homespun and often rowdy musical tales.

I first met Dailey at the Hairy Buffalo in the late 1970s, a happening joint on Cleveland’s West Side. He soon became a fixture on South Bass Island, eventually buying a home on his favorite patch of the Bass Islands. His signature song is still “Put-In-Bay,” but a personal favorite is “The Great Lakes Song.” Dailey graciously allowed me to use as the title tune for the “Outdoors Ohio with D’Arcy Egan” television show that aired for a few years on Sports Time Ohio, the Cleveland Indians baseball network.

He is still a wandering troubadour at 75, but he and wife, Anne, finally gave up their fishing boat a year ago. Classic wooden Lyman boats are difficult to maintain, and need plenty of attention after a half-century of riding the Lake Erie waves while chasing walleye and yellow perch.

Dailey’s close friend and sometime collaborator, Alex Bevan made his claim to musical fame on the Cleveland scene in the late 1970s. Bevan ruled at the iconic Euclid Tavern, La Cave and many of the scruffy night clubs in the Flats of Cleveland. He grew up in Cleveland, but found inner peace when he and his wife, Deidre, settled in rural North Madison. The wide open spaces and bubbling steelhead trout streams soothed his soul.

As The Plain Dealer’s great music critic, Chuck Yarborough, wrote in January after the release of “Boomer,” a CD created by Bevan and David J. Young: The ‘Skinny Little Boy From Cleveland,” as he will forever be known despite the passing years and the addition of, um, pant sizes, since he wrote that quintessentially Cleveland son in the late 70s, is a storyteller whose medium just happens to be music and lyric. 

The liner notes for “Boomer” pointedly say just that. “No pitch correction, auto-tune, click tracks or rhyming dictionaries were used in the creation of this recording . . . at all.”

The three places Steve Brownell, 47, of Milan enjoys most are sitting in a tree stand and waiting for a large-antlered white-tailed deer, in a fishing boat when the walleye are biting and perched on a stage with guitar in hand. Like Bevan and Dailey, Brownell is an island singer. He can be heard on Kelleys Island and at Put-In-Bay all summer long. When the island joints are put to bed for the winter, Brownell and girlfriend Kristy Kerek make the switch to an expansive list of cozy mainland bars.

Brownell’s play list is long and varied, but country music is a favorite. His Nashville-produced album, “No Matter What,” went viral when the patriotic tune “We Are Americans” received an awesome amount of air time.

“After 25 years of doing shows, and I do more than 200 each year, I’m still energized every night,” said Brownell. “As long as I get my hunting and fishing fix every so often. When deer season rolls around, you’ll find me at our back woods cabin with hunting buddies or by myself in a tree stand.”

By D’Arcy Egan


PHOTO – Pat Dailey and Alex Bevan work on a song at Dailey’s South Bass Island home.  (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)