Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 2, 2012

Editorial: Ignition another spark in Goshen


GOSHEN — Goshen is a small city of about 31,000 residents. Nobody is going to mistake it for New Orleans, Nashville or Austin, Texas. Depending on how lucky a person is with traffic signals (and railroad crossings), they can motor from one end of town to the other in about 15 minutes.

But, if that person isn’t in a hurry, they just might be tempted to park along Main Street and stroll through our downtown on a mild summer night. If such a scenario played out, say, this past Wednesday, what would that person have seen or heard? Would they have wondered just where they were? Newsflash: Goshen is hip (if the word “hip” can still be considered, well, hip). How about “rockin’” for a word? That certainly seemed to fit on Wednesday.

For those of you who are wondering where we’re going with this little soliloquy, we’ll tell you now: Ignition Garage on Washington Street. Since opening its doors next to Better World Books back in January, Ignition has evolved quickly into the latest golden nugget in a downtown gem bag that seems to get heavier by the day. Owner Steve Martin has managed to turn an old repair garage, with its exposed brick walls and floor to ceiling windows, into one of the finest intimate music venues in northern Indiana.

Last week more than 120 people showed up to see Nashville singer/songwriter Will Hoge perform at Ignition. Hoge is an accomplished musician who has written a No. 1 country hit and manages to exude a Bruce Springsteen vibe with his jeans, plaid shirt and sweat-drenched head of hair. He even plays his Fender Telecaster like a washboard in standard Boss style. Opening act Marc Scibilia also wooed the standing-room only crowd, looking like a young Bob Dylan with his ragged pompadour, acoustic guitar and harmonica rack dangling around his neck.   

People drove from the Detroit area and from South Bend for Wednesday’s fine show. Hoge, who is no stranger to much larger venues, was even impressed. “This venue (ignition garage) and this town (Goshen, IN) are awesome,” he wrote on his Facebook page before taking the stage. “Gonna be a great night.”

Since Martin fired up Ignition at the start of the year, the venue has seen the likes of up-and-coming yet accomplished acts including The Vespers, The Good Lovelies, Tim Easton, Brigitte DeMeyer and The Spring Standards. These are acts people are talking about … and by people we mean people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to music. And guess what: People are also talking about Goshen and Ignition Garage.

It’s not Beale STREET, Bourbon Street or Broadway in Nashville, but we’re on to something cool here as far as a music scene, thanks in large part to the work of Martin and Jason Samuel, who is the station manager of Goshen College’s 91.1 The Globe.

The word is getting out. Goshen isn’t a secret anymore. It’s a destination … even on a Wednesday night in August.