If you form a band and last three years, you’re doing OK. Make it to five and you’re in more rarified air. But if you can keep a band together — and thriving — for an entire decade … well, you just might be on to something.
That’s the milestone facing Ryan Malott, the founder and sole original member of 500 Miles to Memphis, a kick-ass Rock/Pop band with AltCountry/Roots tendencies. Malott has kept the band pumping with regular touring, not to mention a few truly stellar albums, including the breakthrough 2007 effort, Sunshine in a Shot Glass (which got the band featured on the cover of CityBeat), and the more recent We’ve Built Up to Nothing. The group — which currently includes drummer Kevin Hogle, guitarist Noah Sugarman, lap-steel wizard David Rhodes Brown and guitarist Aaron Whalen — is currently working on its fourth studio album, which they hope to release in August.
The band’s unofficial headquarters in town was the old Southgate House building in Newport. With the owners opening the Southgate House Revival nearby after leaving the original building, it makes sense that 500MTM’s 10th birthday bash this Friday would be held in the new spot. The blow-out is one of the first “whole house” shows at the SGHR, meaning music will run on all three of the club’s stages.
Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance through ticketfly.com or $12 at the door. Among the locals scheduled to appear with 500MTM are The Newport Secret Six, Cari Clara, The Kentucky Struts, Queen City Radio, Jeremy Pinnell & the 55s and Switchblade Syndicate. (500mtm.com)
Music for Causes
• Gifted young violinist/vocalist Rosie Carson and her father, former Customs bassist and longtime show promoter Steve Carson, are presenting a benefit concert on Tuesday at the Molly Malone's in Covington for Cancer Family Care of Cincinnati (cancerfamilycare.org), which assists family members dealing with the cancer diagnosis of a loved one.
The event is being held in “loving memory” of Sue Carson, Rosie’s mother and Steve’s wife, who passed away from the disease. Tuesday’s benefit show starts at 7 p.m. and features The Graveblankets (with whom Rosie performs), Tickled Pink and The Rosie Carson Band, Rosie’s Bluegrass/Celtic hybrid that is opening the sold-out Richard Thompson concert on Thursday at the 20th Century Theater. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.
• Musician Matt Baumann, who performs as the Folk act WolfCryer, and several area Folk/Americana musicians are teaming up this Wednesday to help a local music venue that has given them a home over the years. The club Geez’l Pete’s (508 Madison Ave., Covington) is having financial difficulties to the point where the electricity has been shut off. This Wednesday, the “Save the Pete!” benefit will be held at the club, with music starting at 6 p.m. and running on three performance spots — busking on the street outside, “backporch” jamming and acoustic performances inside the club by candlelight.
“Geez’l Pete’s is a hub for many local musicians,” Baumann says, “and the only one that I know of that keeps a library and store on site for the albums from most of the local musicians.”
There is a suggested donation of $5 and beer and booze will be available to purchase. Artists scheduled to appear include Mark Utley of Magnolia Mountain, WolfCryer, Daniel Van Vechten, Dave Rohs, Tim Caudill and Tony Hall.
On April 17, Baumann and Co. will present another similar benefit at Geez’l Pete’s for the same cause, featuring headliner Kelly Thomas and many others.
Spring (Finally!) Brings Tunes & Blooms
The annual Tunes & Blooms concert series at the Cincinnati Zoo kicked off last week. Despite the late-coming spring, the weekly series — which showcases two local musical acts at each event — is in honor of the blooming flowers of the Zoo’s Botanical Gardens. (The Zoo’s website warns that the tulips will be blooming late due to the weather, sometime further into April.)
The free concerts go down every Thursday in April and run 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Admission to the Zoo is free after 5 p.m. If you park in the Zoo lot, it’ll cost you $8.
The opening date last week saw the return of the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and Magnolia Mountain to the series. This week, catch a couple of Roots/Americana-tinged acts that haven’t played a ton locally as of late — The Turkeys and Jake Speed and the Freddies.
The rest of the series features Folk Pop duo Shiny & the Spoon and eclectic Roots ensemble Shiny Old Soul (April 18), and, on April 25, Tunes & Blooms goes Reggae with veteran Ohio Reggae legends The Ark Band and Cincinnati’s fantastic The Cliftones. (cincinnatizoo.org)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: firstname.lastname@example.org, @CityBeatMusic or here on Facebook.