The Winter Blues Fest — created as a cold-weather sister event to the Cincy Blues Society’s massive summertime Cincy Blues Fest — returns to the Southgate House this Friday and Saturday. The event is the main fund-raiser for the Blues in the Schools program, which sends professional local Blues performers into area schools to educate students on the music’s rich history and encourage young musicians to play Blues. The Blues in the Schools Band, featuring some of those young musicians, will kick off both nights of the Winter Blues Fest at 6 p.m.
Once again, the Winter Blues Fest presents a great representation of Greater Cincinnati’s strong Blues scene. Artists scheduled to play include B. Hatfield Band, Bad Men on a Mission, Balderdash, The Blue Birds, The Blues Merchants, Blues Therapy Rx, Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project, The Electric Souls, G. Miles & The Hitmen, The Gear Shifts, John Redell & Company, The Juice, Kayneevol, Leo Clarke Band, Miss Lissa & Company, The Mudpies, Ralph & the Rhythm Hounds, Richie & The Students, Sonny's All Blues Band, Tempted Souls Band, Them Bones, Thomas Long & Blue Sacrifice, Voodoo Puppet and more.
This year’s event also brings the first Winter Blues Fest compilation album, which will be available at the shows and, like with ticket sales, benefit Blues in the Schools
In the past, tickets for the Winter Blues Fest were only available at the door on the night of the show(s). Last year, the event sold out and people had to be turned away, so the Blues Society is offering patrons a chance to buy tickets online (or in person) ahead of time. The Southgate House’s Ticketfly site at www.ticketfly.com has $15 advance tickets (they’ll cost $20 at the door). Tickets can also be purchased for $15 at Shake It Records in Northside or at the Southgate House (in Juney’s Lounge).
For the full lineup and schedule, hit up the Cincy Blues Society’s site at cincyblues.org.
More Local Notes
• R. Ring, a new duo project from longtime local musician/engineer Mike Montgomery (Ampline, Thistle) and Kelley Deal of Dayton’s Breeders, performs a free show Thursday at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The project came about when Montgomery mentioned to Deal (who was working in Montgomery’s studio on tracks with Cincy’s Buffalo Killers) that he had a solo show coming up, but, being used to band backing, he was uncomfortable performing completely alone. The two began writing together and, following their November debut, performed more recently in Dayton. R. Ring’s third public performance Thursday also features a solo set from Buffalo Killers Andy Gabbard. (www.motrpub.com)
• The region’s finest Gypsy Jazz ensemble, The Faux Frenchmen, has maintained a strong and consistent presence on the local club/coffeehouse/restaurant/etc. circuit. And while a two-year gap between releases for independent local artists seems to be the norm, the Frenchmen have carried their live consistency over to the recording realm. Friday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club, the group celebrates the release of its follow-up to last June’s The Swing Shift, 3AM Waltz. The album continues the band’s accomplished, swingin’ take on Django Reinhardt/Hot Club of France-inspired Jazz, featuring 10 original tracks and four new arrangements of some Jazz standards. Friday’s release show begins at 8 p.m.; admission is $10. (www.fauxfrenchmen.com)
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