Jeff Tobin could get by with a little help from his friends.

Jeff Tobin could get by with a little help from his friends.

Some neighbors wouldn't hurt, either.

The German Village-based musician is among 29 finalists whose work is being considered for a CD in observance of Columbus' bicentennial.

Tobin hopes his song, "5-Below on High Street," will be among the 10 tracks from local performers featured on the CD.

People can vote for their favorite numbers in the Celebrate Columbus in Song contest, part of the ongoing commemoration of the city's 200th birthday, at

Contest organizers put out a call in December to local musicians of all ages, genres and skill levels for original songs that best capture the spirit of central Ohio.

The contest received 123 entries. A committee of 21 people from the community, which included representation from musicians and people in the arts, broadcast, media and music venue industries, considered and ranked the songs by a variety of criteria.

In his song, set to a samba rhythm, Tobin sings about one of his dislikes of Columbus - the cold and gray winters - and takes a swipe at Michigan. He describes it as a sort of old-school number, a throwback to the days of husband-and-wife pop duet Steve and Eydie.

"It's tongue-in-cheek humorous, which is what most of my songs tend to be," he said.

Going up against such Columbus favorites as Arnett Howard, Donna Mogavero and Watershed is going to be challenge, Tobin said.

"The competition is fierce," he said.

The musicians and bands selected will receive a cash prize of $500 and an opportunity for professional recording and production time at the WCBE (90.5 FM) or Jazz Academy studios.

Tobin, 56, said he played most of the instruments and sang on the song, while Michelle Ishida put down additional vocal tracks and Rob Mattice played percussion. They performed under the name Truck-Stop Poets.

Tobin also plays regularly with the Apple Bottom Gang, a honky-tonk country band.

He and his wife, local real-estate agent Regina Acosta Tobin, moved to Columbus seven years ago from South Carolina, a rather chilly conversion, he said. Yet, they took an instant shine to the city.

Tobin, a musician and songwriter since he was a teenager, said he relished an opportunity to show off his musical chops while singing about his new town.

"To participate and compete in your own backyard was inviting," said Tobin, a former advertising executive who now works with his wife.

He and his wife share a love of music, hold concerts at their house and used to perform together - she played the egg shaker, one-shot and the maracas.

Regina Acosta Tobin said she has confidence in her husband's talent and hopes others vote for the song.

"Hopefully he'll get it, but there are a lot of very popular musicians" in the contest, she said.