• The Kelly Richey Band caps off a successful year that saw the release of Richey’s 15th album of soulful Blues Rock, Sweet Spirit, and the introduction of local bass wizard Freekbass and drummer Big Bamn to the group with a show this Friday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club (700 Race St., Downtown, 513-241-WISP, thebluewisp.com). The show is being recorded and filmed for a planned live album (the first to feature Richey’s current “power trio” lineup) and DVD release. Showtime is 8 p.m. (kellyrichey.com)
• Cincinnati Bluegrass greats The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars are giving fans a belated Christmas gift on Sunday during their free, weekly gig at The Comet (4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900, cometbar.com). The ensemble will be celebrating the release of its fourth recording, Songs That Tell a Story, a 14-track album featuring almost exclusively original material (a first for the group) about “murder, unions, fire, the supernatural, the Wild West, homesickness, robber barons, mother, steamboats, unrequited love, heroes and sin.” Pick up a copy of the new release during the group’s 7:30 p.m. performance Sunday. (cometbluegrass.com)
• After another year of globe-trotting, plus the release of Golden Tickets (featuring songs written about specific fans who purchased merch from the band’s site as part of a Willy Wonka-inspired contest), locally based, internationally beloved Indie crew Why? will play its final show of 2013 at the intimate Comet in Northside (4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900, cometbar.com) on New Year’s Eve.
The show is free and there’s not a ton of space, so you’d be well advised to show up early. (This should rival The Greenhornes’ packed-to-the-gills show at the same club a while back or Heartless Bastards’ two-night stand at Northside Tavern a few years ago). Visit the music blog at citybeat.com for an interview with Why?’s Josiah Wolf about the band’s successful 2013.
• Cincinnati Indie Folk duo Young Heirlooms will be opening up for Ohio-spawned Pop/Rock band Red Wanting Blue on New Year’s Eve at the 20th Century Theater (3021 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-8000, the20thcenturytheatre.com). YH takes the stage at 9 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance through ticketmaster.com or $30 day of show. There is also a $40 VIP ticket, which includes access to a RWB pre-show acoustic set, a meet-and-greet with the band and a signed concert poster. Give a listen to Young Heirlooms’ impressive self-titled debut album at youngheirlooms.bandcamp.com.
• Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, rootsy, melodic rockers 500 Miles to Memphis are gearing up for the release of a brand new album in 2014. You can say goodbye to 2013 with the band, one of the best live groups in the area, when they perform on New Year’s Eve at the Southgate House Revival (111 E. Sixth St., Newport, 859-431-2201, southgatehouse.com). Fellow roots rockers Fifth on the Floor open the show at 9 p.m. Tickets are available in advance for $8 through ticketfly.com; it’ll cost you $10 day of show. (500mtm.com)
• Some other can’t-miss New Year’s Eve shows featuring local artists who write and perform their own music include: Rumpke Mountain Boys at Newport’s Thompson House (thompsonhousenewport.com) with New Old Cavalry and Flatland Harmony Experiment; the Jess Lamb Band and Sassy Molasses doing a free show at downtown’s Mainstay Rock Bar (mainstayrockbar.com); two of the area’s finest, Wussy and Frontier Folk Nebraska, at Northside Tavern (northside-tavern.com); and 2013 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nominees The Almighty Get Down and Baoku & The Image Afrobeat Band, plus Nevelle and Us, Today at Stanley’s Pub in the Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood (facebook.com/stanleys.pub).