CH duo Red Brick Rhoades makes beautiful music
Becca Rhoades and Red Chrosniak have been making music together for about five years. The two met in 2011 when they were both contra dancing (similar to square dancing) at Grace Lutheran Church in Cleveland Heights. Both of them loved music, and they became good friends.
The couple, who married in 2014, perform as a duo, Red Brick Rhoades. Rhoades explained how they came up with the name: “Before we started dating, there were a lot of brick roads in our lives. In addition, on one of our first dates, we went for a walk on two brick roads.”
Rhoades, who’s 30, grew up in Lubbock, Texas, the hometown of rock music pioneer Buddy Holly. “There’s a lot of good music there,” she said. She started playing violin when she was 4, and by the time she was in high school, she decided to make music the focus of her life. She atteded Texas Tech University, where she majored in music performance. After graduating in 2009, she moved to Cleveland to attend the Cleveland Institute of Music, and received her master’s degree in music performance in 2012.
Chrosniak, 32, grew up on Cleveland’s East Side, in the Collinwood neighborhood. Though his real first name is Patrick, he has gone by the name "Red" for many years. He graduated from St. Edward’s High School and then the College of Wooster, where he majored in religious studies and received a minor in philosophy. He then attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Wickliffe, where he earned a master’s degree in theology.
Chrosniak started playing guitar about six years ago. He had a guitar at home that he didn’t know how to play. One night, he was hanging out at the Barking Spider on Juniper Road near University Circle, and while he was listening to the music, he decided that he should start teaching himself how to play his guitar. “I started teaching myself, and I started writing songs,” he said.
He and Rhoades started getting into music together shortly after they first met. ”He came up to me and said that he had a song he had written that would sound better if it had a fiddle on it,” Rhoades said. “The song is called ‘Bad News,’ and it’s on our newest CD, which is called This Road.”
The CD, which is the duo's first full-length one, was released in June 2015. “It was meant to be our wedding album,” said Rhoades. “All of the songs on it are very significant to our relationship.” This Road is available on Amazon and other websites. In June 2013, the duo released The Barn Sessions, which was recorded in a barn in Peninsula, Ohio.
The duo’s music is very folky, with Chrosniak on acoustic guitar and Rhoades on violin. The two both sing on the CDs, usually alternating vocals. Rhoades said she really got into folk music during her freshman year of college.
They played at this year's Heights Music Hop and will perform at CLE Urban Winery on Lee Road in December. They will also play a Paul Simon tribute show at the Beachland Ballroom on Oct. 9.
On May 5 of this year, the couple had their first child, Moses. The family lives in Cleveland Heights, off of South Taylor Road between Cedar and Mayfield roads.
“We like Cleveland Heights a lot,” Rhoades said. “There is a sense of community, and there is a good balance of people and wonderful diversity.”
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley. He is on the board of FutureHeights, and is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee.