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Tour with charitable cause coming to downtown

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Music and philanthrophy can work together in Russ Baum’s world.

The Indiana-based musician will headline the “Nearest-N-Dearest Tour 2018” on Wednesday night at Capone’s Downtown Speakeasy, 1 Public Square, in Shelbyville. 

The Shelbyville performance is the first of a 10-stop tour through Illinois, Michigan and his home state of Indiana. Joining the tour Wednesday will be The Hammer and the Hatchet as well as Megan Maudlin.

Baum is donating 25 percent of the profits from the tour to the St Mary’s Child Center of Indianapolis. Founded in 1961, the facility provides services to children who have or are at risk of learning of having emotional problems. Through its preschool program, St. Mary’s offers intensive early intervention services for 3- to 5-year-old children who have experienced poverty, abuse, neglect, parents with disabilities or addictions, and violence in their home or neighborhood. 

Art and music are part of the therapy measures employed at St. Mary’s.

“Music is a part of it,” relayed Baum. “They really work on childrens’ imaginations to keep them positive to overcome their own reality. Art and music can do that. Music is what I used to overcome some of the hardships of my life.”

Baum was influenced early in life by his parents who kept a steady stream of country and R&B playing. But his older sister introduced him to Green Day and sparked his interest to learn how to play a guitar.

In his early teens at a camp along with his sister, he performed in front of an audience for the first time.

“She had the bass (guitar) and I had the acoustic guitar and I really loved it,” he recalled. “It was a cool moment for me.”

Once Baum realized he could make money in the music industry – he first won $100 at an open mic contest – he threw himself passionately into the business. But it still took years to become successful as a musician and performer.

“It takes a long time from that point to develop it,” he said. “It was another 7-8 years before it became a full-time career.”

Baum has toured the country, performing on both coasts and in between. He tries to tour the Midwest, close to his roots, at least twice a year.

Wednesday night’s show marks a return to Capone’s for Baum, who has performed in Shelbyville at several venues. 

“Capone’s is definitely my favorite venue in Shelbyville,” said Baum, who labels his tour as “Folk Energy.” 

“It’s folk rock with a good vibe,” he said.

The music is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are on sale at nndshelbyville.bpt.me.