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Issue Date: July 2004 Issue

New Attitude

Jill Sell

Alex Bevan built a reputation playing guitar in smoky bars and loud coffeehouses, and writing lyrics such as "You tnow I love your jeans/ Awww . . . they're awful cute/ 'Specially when you wear 'em/with those black leather boots."

So what's he doing in the woods, Leaching kids about the environment? According to Bevan, it's a natural fit.

The singer/songwriter, who describes himself as a camp counselor, canoe-carrying kind of guy," paid his musical dues as a folk singer in the late 1960s and '70s at Cleveland's legendary Fagan's in the Flats and has opened for Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Beach Boys. He's also written radio and television jingles and won an Emmy for his post score of "The Rustbelt Blues," a segment of the NBC-TV documentary "American Promise."

"The 1980s were transition years for me," he explains. "I spent much of the decade writing and raising my son. By the early '90s, I was dissatisfied with the direction my music had taken and began to focus on natural themes. I started taking a view of music that was more felt than contrived."

These days, Bevan's an environmental troubadour. Recent compact discs include "The Grand River Lullaby," "Watersongs" and "South Shore Serenade." He also recorded "All the Rivers Run" for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association.

His latest offering, "The Life and Times of Sweetwater Pete," a compilation of lake songs, was released last month. Bevan, who lives in Madison Township, just a block from Lake Erie, often finds inspiration for his work by hiking along Hogback Ridge in Lake County and biking the Towpath Trail to Hale Farm and Village in Bath Township.

"Most of my songs are created from either a fast walk or a meander. You can tell the difference," he says.

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