Kyleen Downes: Local musician shows different side on new single



The Breeders have been inspiring musicians for decades, but few songwriters get an opportunity to work with a band member. That fact isn’t lost on Kyleen Downes, performing backed by Nick Kizirnis (lead guitar), Brian Hoeflich (drums) and Gabriella Erbacher (bass, vocals) at Yellow Cab Tavern in Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 27.

The Yellow Springs-based musician wrote the new single, “Left on the Pavement,” after attending a free concert by the Breeders at Levitt Pavilion in September 2019 and later ended up in the recording studio with the group’s drummer Jim MacPherson.

“I wrote the song channeling the amazing energy I felt watching the Breeders interact with each other and the audience,” Downes said. “That show was incredible. Dayton has brought out so much of me with music so to see it all together at Levitt was kind of validating. Like, Dayton is special and you’re seeing it right now. And just being a woman in music having that representation on stage was so cool.

“I’m not super edgy,” Downes continued. “I feel like you know what you’re going to get when you go see a Kyleen Downes show but it was inspiring hearing musicians take more risks. I was like, ‘Well, I have different sides of me,’ so, I channeled that. For a while I called it my ‘90s song, which is why I asked Nick to bring his guitar sound.”

Check out “Tell Me What I Want To Hear,” the 2022 single from Kyleen Downes:

Kizirnis enlisted MacPherson, a longtime friend and musical collaborator dating back to the 1980s.

“Working with Jim was great,” Downes said. “I met up with him and Nick at Tim Pritchard’s space at BHA. Jim is the sweetest, kindest guy. He’s just there for the enjoyment of it. There’s no ego. Nick had a lot of ideas. Jim figured out that drum part and then we shaped the dynamics a little. It ended up coming together well and then we recorded the song with Gary King at Dayton Sound Studios.

“We had Jim for a day, so he did his drums,” Downes added. “I recorded the bass part myself and then Nick laid down his guitar and we did the vocals. The final touch was bringing in the harmonies of Gabriella Erbacher to amplify the message. We did so much so Gary had a lot of options, but he did a great job mixing it. It got a little all over the place, but he condensed everything, so it makes sense for the song.”

Downes, who is working on a new EP, will release another stand-alone single in early summer.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or

How to go

Who: Kyleen Downes with special guest Debbie DeCasio

Where: Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. Fourth St., Dayton

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27

Cost: $9 in advance, $12 day of show; cover begins at 7 p.m.

More info: 937-424-3870 or

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