Rustic Rock: Hocking College Students Present “Robbins Crossing Sessions”

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Robbins Crossing’s authentic log cabins are well-known by Nelsonville Music Festival attendees. Now the charming buildings are gaining notoriety for a Hocking College music video series.

This past semester, a group of students blended 19th Century surroundings with 21st Century media to create a five-part web series titled Robbins Crossing Sessions.

"As a part of the final Music Business Synthesis class, we aimed to launch a major initiative for the spring semester that combined both production and business elements," explained Josh Antonuccio, who was the coordinating instructor for the course. "The class developed the series in the mold of DayTrotter and Black Cab Sessions…to essentially use the Robbins Crossing Village as a backdrop for bands on tour to stop in and perform four-song stripped-down acoustic sets of their songs."

Over the course of the semester, the class booked five traveling performers: Squid The Whale (Detroit, Mich.); City Lights (Columbus, Ohio); Adam Remnant of Southeast Engine (Athens, Ohio); Envoi (Cleveland, Ohio); and Decker of of the band Belle Histoire (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Each recording session was accompanied by a short interview about the artist and the stories behind the songs being performed.

Antonuccio explained that the students were essential for every aspect of the production, from planning, contacting the artists, scheduling, establishing contracts, recording professional-level audio and video, setting up the website and doing all of the publicity work.

"My role as an instructor was to facilitate all of their ideas and energy and keep the process moving forward," he said.

One student, 20-year old Jacob Tender from Medina County, Ohio, is credited with booking three of the five acts, as well as designing the Robbins Crossing Sessions logo and graphics for the website. In fact, Tender had the opportunity to work with three of the performing artists in the past: Squid the Whale, Envoi, and Decker.

"Squid the Whale is a rock and soul four-piece from Detroit, Mich., that has built an impressive following without any label support," he explained. "Envoi has also caught the attention of alternative music publications for their female vocalists natural ability. Decker is a new solo venture comprised of Jane Smith, the lead vocalist of Cincinnati favorites Belle Histoire. Each of these bands has put out a new EP this year and seemed like a natural fit for the project."

Since the end of the semester, Tender has been touring with You, Me, and Everyone We Know, opening for Squid the Whale.

Twenty-one year old Annie Gullo from Conneaut, Ohio, had the responsibility of securing sponsorships from local businesses to help offset the costs of hospitality for the talent. As a graduating senior at the time, Gullo considers herself lucky to finish out her college career with Robbins Crossing Sessions.

Although she admits to loving everything about the experience, Gullo explains that her favorite moment came when they were set to record Adam Remnant's episode during the cold weather of early spring.

"We all sat around on the floor, trying not to move because the old building's floor squeaked and the sound would be picked up by the microphones, and we were all freezing," she said. "But it didn't matter, because we had front row seats with a talented artist, and we're watching our creation come to life. It was totally worth being cold and sitting still."

Gullo recently graduated Hocking College’s music program, and traveled to Nashville this month for an internship with a music publisher.

"I think it was extraordinary and went far beyond our expectations," said Antonuccio. "We launched successfully and had so many talented people come through. Along with that, we got tremendous publicity, both regionally and nationally."

The full series is currently available for viewing at www.robbinscrossingsessions.com.