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Releasing 'Spirits'

Hank Williams tribute released, CEA voting open and Best New Bands showcased booked

By Mike Breen · December 18th, 2013 · Spill It
spirits_of_hank_photo_provided'Spirits of Hank' by Arlo McKinley and Friends

If you’re looking for a really cool, unique and local-centric gift for a friend or relative who digs traditional Country — or if you are a fan yourself and want a cool new CD — head to the Southgate House Revival (111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-2201, southgatehouse.com) this Saturday for the Spirits of Hank CD release party. 

Spirits of Hank is a live recording featuring numerous local Country/Roots musicians playing the eight songs music legend Hank Williams recorded at Cincinnati’s Herzog recording studios in the late ’40s. Attendees are encouraged to sport ’40s-era clothing, learn some dance moves from that decade at the show and listen to the music of local bands Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle and Straw Boss. Capping the night off is Arlo McKinley and the talented friends who helped with the recording. 

McKinley, Tim Carr, Tyler Lockard, Sarah Davis, Moriah Haven Lawson, Sylvia Mitchell and Kelly Thomas teamed up at the former Herzog site, downtown at 811 Race St. (the last still-standing building in which Williams recorded, which also happens to be CityBeat headquarters) on Aug. 30 this year, which was the 64th anniversary of Williams’ first session at the studio. On midnight Saturday, as the ensemble reconvenes for the release party in Newport, it will be the 65th anniversary of Williams’ second and final session. Those original sessions (which also featured Hank’s first wife, Audrey Williams, and ace Country session band, the Pleasant Valley Boys) were of great historical importance, leading to Williams’ national breakthrough and resulting in a handful of American music classics. 

The local collective performed amazing versions of the “Hank 8” (the eight tracks recorded at Herzog) and the new recording brings out all of the passion and soul of their live session. You’d be hard-pressed to find better versions of the tunes the band tackled: “Lost on The River,” “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Living,” “There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight,” “I Heard My Mother Pray For Me,” “Lovesick Blues,” “House Without Love,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It.” 

The songs themselves make this album a “must-have,” but the “narration” by Ed Vardiman of local Honky Tonk heroes Straw Boss takes it to the next level, making it an indispensable historical document for the ages.

In his introductions throughout the performances, Vardiman provides context and tells the stories of Williams’ visits to Cincinnati in a way that is both thoroughly entertaining and informative. 

Tickets are available for Saturday’s release shindig (which will also feature a photo display of pictures of Williams during his time in Cincy) through ticketfly.com for $5 or $12, if you’d also like to pre-purchase the CD. Admission is $7 at the door on the day of the show or $12 with the CD. Proceeds benefit the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (which is located in the old Herzog space).

CEA Voting Now Open

You can now vote for your favorite local musicians nominated for CityBeat’s 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards at citybeat.com. Voting continues through Jan. 14. 

Along with “Best Music Video,” we’ve also added another new category — Best Band/Musician That Wasn’t Nominated. The category is open to any active band/performer who has played shows locally in the past year and does primarily original material, regardless of genre. Or talent. Write in those artists we’ve so tragically wronged by not being able to nominate every single act in Greater Cincinnati; once an artist receives enough write-ins, they’ll be added to the drop-down menu. (We are vigilant about ballot stuffing and tampering, including in this new category. So don’t be an a-hole.)

On Jan. 26, the awards will be presented at our annual CEA ceremony/party, which is returning to Covington’s Madison Theater and will feature numerous live performances. Expect an announcement of the performers shortly (keep an eye on the music blog at citybeat.com for the latest updates). Last-minute Christmas gift idea: Tickets for the CEA ceremony/party are available now at cincyticket.com. 

‘Best New Bands’ Lineup Takes Shape

CityBeat will be hosting a special CEA sister event at Corryville’s Bogart’s on Jan. 18 that shines the spotlight exclusively on new artists (the lifeblood of any strong local music scene). The “Best New Bands” showcase will feature several artists nominated for CEAs in the “New Artist of the Year” category, as well as other newcomers who’ve made waves over the past 365 days. 

The confirmed lineup so far includes Injecting Strangers, Little Lights, ADM, Molly Sullivan, Electric Citizen, Archer’s Paradox, Pop Goes the Evil, Mardou and Austin Livingood. More performers will be announced shortly.

Tickets for the “Best New Bands” event are just $5 and can be purchased on the day of the show or in advance at the Bogart’s ticket window. (bogarts.com)

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com, @CityBeatMusic or on Facebook here.



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