Last year around this time, Boogie Woogie Blues specialist Ricky Nye brought his musical pals from France to the U.S. for a series of local/regional tour dates to promote Ville du Bois, the album they recorded during one of Nye’s frequents treks to Europe three years ago. Now, Ricky Nye & the Paris Blues Band are in the midst of their second run of regional dates, supporting the combo’s second album, a self-titled affair. Nye re-teams with his usual deft overseas crew — Anthony Stelmaszack (guitar/vocals), Thibaut Copin (upright bass/harmonica/vocals) and Simon “Shuffle” Boyer (drums) — for the trek, which continues this week. Among other dates, they’ll be at Covington’s Chez Nora Wednesday and McAuley High School (opening for acclaimed Blues artist Marcia Ball) Thursday. The crew wraps things up with an appearance in Covington’s Mainstrasse for the annual Maifest celebration; RN&PBB play the festival’s Trestle Stage on Sunday at 3 p.m. (visit www.mainstrasse.org for full details on the festival, which features lots of local music Friday-Sunday). For more on Nye’s new album and further show dates, visit www.rickynye.com.
• Rabbit Hash, Ky., is a pretty renowned place for being such a cozy, tiny town, thanks partly to the mayor’s notoriety (national news outlets often report on Rabbit Hash’s common practice of electing a dog to the office).
But it’s also become a bit of a music hub, a popular destination for Greater Cincinnati artists and music lovers thanks to regular concerts thrown in or near the “General Store.” To enhance this huge aspect of Rabbit Hash culture, city officials are planning to construct a permanent bandstand along its Ohio River shoreline. The new stage should draw even more area performers, who seem to fall in love with the experience. To show that love, several artists have signed on for the “Raise the Bandstand” benefit show, featuring two stages and around 20 regional bands performing their own brand of Americana and Roots music. The concert runs noon-11 p.m. Saturday and features groups like Lagniappe, Rumpke Mountain Boys, The Tammy WhyNots, Radio King Cowboys, Side Cars, Dallas Moore, Poke, Straw Boss, The Tillers and others. Money raised via silent auction and sales of CDs donated by Rabbit Hash’s many musical fans will go to the Rabbit Hash Historical Society to pay for the bandstand’s construction. (www.rabbithashusa.com)
• The Big Joe Duskin Music Education Foundation (named for one of Cincinnati’s greatest Blues artists) recently announced it had won a grant from the local ArtsWave organization and will use the money for the Foundation’s new “Music Mentors” program. The youth workshops (promoted in area public elementary schools) will have longtime local music legends Phillip Paul, Ed Conley and Roland Ashby serving as mentors to the kids, offering a chance to talk and maybe even play with musicians who have much wisdom and insight to share. “Music Mentors” begins this Sunday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club; plans are to make it a weekly event, but response to this week’s opener will determine if there is enough interest. The mentoring workshops start at 3:30 p.m. Kids must have an adult with them. It’s free for adults with children but anyone coming sans kid can attend for $10. Visit www.bigjoeduskin.org for further details.
• If you’re a local Blues junkie, stay away from the Cincy Blues Society’s Blues Challenge — there’s a serious risk of overdose. The competition for area Blues performers helps determine local acts for this summer’s Cincy Blues Fest and also Cincinnati’s representative at the International Blues Challenge. The “Band Challenge” is this Sunday at Germania Park in Colerain Twp., with over 20 groups going at it beginning at 1 p.m. Admission is $15. Find full details at cincyblues.org.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: email@example.com