LEWISBURG - Jason Barshinger is a rock 'n' roll singer-songwriter from York. He will bring his acoustic guitar and a long repertoire at 9 p.m. Saturday to Town Tavern, 600 Market St.
Besides playing as an acoustic solo act, Barshinger is the lead singer for Autumn Theory, a hard rock band based in Harrisburg. He released a solo album, "Let the Fire Burn," in July and plays originals and covers sets with his backing band, the Deadbeats. They recently performed at the York Fair after winning a battle of the bands sponsored by the York Revolution baseball team.
Barshinger balances his music career with a full-time job at Harrisburg's BCR Music, along with side jobs booking musicians for local venues and teaching guitar lessons. Recording the seven tracks on "Let the Fire Burn" took several months due to his hectic life, according to Barshinger. Released in July, the self-produced folk rock-focused album garnered a 2010 Best Album nomination at the 717 Music Awards and has received radio play in central Pennsylvania.
Jason Barshinger is a rock ‘n’ roll singer-songwriter from York. He will bring his acoustic guitar and a long repertoire at 9 p.m. Saturday to Lewisburg’s Town Tavern, 600 Market St.
Barshinger is working on a new solo album, tentatively slated for completion in spring 2012.
"I'm really enjoying the storytelling aspect of writing right now," Barshinger said. "You sit back and create a story and derive a point out of absolutely nothing. I might play around with a single line for a week or two before it turns into something."
Barshinger is collaborating with a number of musicians and producers on the new album.
"I want to get a different feel out of each track," he said. "I like albums that are really interesting like that."
Barshinger's influences are diverse, which adds flavor to his live shows as well as his writing.
"You'll get a little something for everyone. I might rock out a '90s song from the Smashing Pumpkins, but then turn around and do Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and then Neil Young's 'Ohio' in the same set," Barshinger said. "I never understood how someone can listen to onlsy one specific style of music. I love it all."
Growing up in York, Barshinger listened to a lot of local hard rock bands - Live and Fuel - as well as folk rockers, The Badlees.
His own music career began with an assist from his grandfather, Barshinger said.
"When I was 15, I was given an electric guitar but never really got into it," he said. "Some friends of mine said they needed a bass player, so to keep with the in-crowd I asked to switch over to bass. My father was a little hesitant, but grandpa Barshinger overheard the conversation. He said that he loved the bass and even pretended to thump a few notes on an air bass, which made us all laugh. Dad had no choice after that but to get me a bass."
Barshinger played the bass and sang in Rhea Silvia, a three-piece power rock band that won 717 Artist of the Year honors in 2008 and 2009. Now he sings in Autumn Theory, while playing and singing on his solo gigs. All these parts present challenges.
"With a full-band gig, I know that I'll be moving around more and I'll prepare my voice differently," Barshinger said. "For some parts, it needs to be a little raspier, because we do songs like 'Outshined' by Soundgarden and 'Man In The Box' by Alice In Chains. But even in the acoustic setting, I'm still doing songs like 'Living On A Prayer' by Bon Jovi, so it's not like I'm taking it easy on myself."
Barshinger dated a girl from the Sunbury area several years ago and has played in Lewisburg before, so he has firsthand knowledge of the area. He hopes to play a show in Williamsport sooner rather than later, as he expands the areas he plays in support of next year's album.
"People get out and enjoy music up there," Barshinger said. "There is still a storyteller vibe to a lot of the artists."
Whether playing solo or in a band, bringing good energy is Barshinger's first goal.
"I consider myself an entertainer first and foremost," Barshinger said. "If everyone is having fun and forgetting about all the problems we deal with day-to-day for even just a few hours, I'm doing my job."