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Play Ball ... and Folk Music

By Mike Breen · April 1st, 2009 · Spill It

The unofficial local holiday known as Opening Day (referring to Cincinnati’s pro baseball team’s first game, for you non-sporto types) has had its pre-game parade for 90 years. But local folksinger Jake Speed has started what has become a new Opening Day tradition. Speed and his band The Freddies present their annual “baseball show” this Friday at the Northside Tavern starting at 9 p.m.

Speed and his superb Folk/Americana band will offer plenty of music at the free show, including — of course — lots of baseball-themed songs. Speed’s vintage sound has lent itself well to songs like “Huzzah for the Red Stockings,” “Rube Waddell” and “Old Man Joe” (about Cincy legend Joe Nuxhall), among other tunes found in Speed’s discography. But there will be much more than just music at the event. Taking inspiration from his appearance on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion last year, Speed plans on running the show like an old radio program, telling baseball stories with musical accompaniment and doing a reading of the classic poem, “Casey at the Bat.” Jim Tarbell will also be on hand, playing “Peanut Jim,” the famous peanut vendor from the old Crosley Field days, and lots of other surprises are planned.

Speed will also perform a special baseball show on actual opening day (Monday), starting just prior to the parade, at Arnold’s. And this one will be a real-life radio program. This show — featuring skits, jokes, music and more — will be broadcast on WNKU (89.7 FM; wnku.org) starting at 9:30 a.m.

The party at Arnold’s kicks off at 8 a.m. (freddiesmusic.com)

More Local Notes

• Veteran Cincinnati musician Bam Powell has worked with everyone from the raisins to Stagger Lee to The Goshorn Brothers, playing everything from Country to Funk/R&B to Rock. Today, he’s a member of Bucket, The Bluebirds and Tickled Pink, and Powell is also an indemand studio vocalist, singing on jingles for Gold Star Chili, LaRosa´s, Hudepohl and other local businesses. Now, Powell is going all-out solo with his new CD, Eat the Fat, Drink the Sweet, his first entirely self-produced effort. The disc of soulful, down-and-dirty Funk and R&B will get the CD release party treatment this Saturday at Paxton’s Grill in Loveland. The free show starts at 9 p.m. and Tickled Pink will serve as Powell’s band for the evening.

• For Bluegrass fans, you don’t get much better than Mt. Pleasant String Band, which celebrates the release of its new CD this Sunday at Molly Malone’s in Covington. The Cincinnati Entertainment Award-nominated five-piece will be joined at the show by The Dirt Daubers, a new “old-timey” project from Colonel JD Wilkes of The Legendary Shack Shakers. Show starts at 8 p.m. and the cover charge is $5. (myspace.com/dirtdaubers)

• C. Spencer Yeh’s Burning Star Core — still riding the wave of positive reviews for his 2008 CD, Challenger — and experimental Punk/Jazz duo Wasteland Jazz Unit kick off a joint Midwest tour this Thursday at the Art Damage Lodge in Northside. The all-ages show — which also features a collaboration between Taiga Remains and Caboladies — starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. (dronedisco.com)

• Clifton hangout Rohs Street Café celebrates its sixth anniversary this Saturday with a blowout show featuring a wide range of artists who have played the coffeehouse over the years. Acts slated to appear at the 8 p.m. party include The Atruims, Rhet Hawkins, The Never Setting Suns, MC Till, Sharon Udoh, Elie Fabe, The Bell and the Hammer, for Algernon, Vedge, Eric Falstrom, The Beau Band and Mike Fair. (rohsstreetcafe.com)

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com



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