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February 10th, 2012 By Mike Breen | Music | Posted In: Live Music, Local Music

Winter Blues Fest 2012 Kicks Off Tonight

Two-night festival moves from Northern Kentucky to Over-the-Rhine

bbc(Photo: bbc.co.uk)
In this week's CityBeat, I made an offhand comment about how it might not feel like winter, but the Cincy Blues Society's annual Winter Blues Fest is going down this weekend regardless of temperature. The gods must've heard me (or is a big Blues fan) because currently in Cincinnati, winter has finally decided to arrive. So the Winter Blues Fest will have an appropriate climate and setting.

After several years in Northern Kentucky, the event is following the MidPoint Music Festival’s lead and hosting its 2012 event in Over-the-Rhine. More than 25 performers will entertain in four centrally located clubs — The Drinkery and venues in the former homes of Rhythm & Blues Café (dubbed "Japp's Annex" during the fest) and Harry’s Pizza (see below), as well as Below Zero Lounge. The three venues are within easy walking distance of each other — all but Below Zero are on Main Street (and Below Zero is just off of the drag). So bundle up, but don't let a few snowflakes become your excuse for not attending.

Once again the festival serves as a great representation of the local Blues scene. And the Blues Society is once again showing its event organizing acumen. The reason the Winter Blues Fest and the org's even more popular summertime Cincy Blues Fest, celebrating its 20th anniversary this coming August, have been successful and keep bringing music lovers back is (along with the fest presenter's adaptability) the eagerness to switch things up each year and never rest on laurels. I'm always impressed with the thought that goes into the clever new features year after year.

This year, for the first time, the Winter Blues Fest will feature a “national” headlining act — Nashville’s RB Stone plays Saturday at 11:30 p.m. at The Drinkery.

Tonight, The Drinkery hosts a special female Blues artists showcase, with hard-touring local Blues wiz Kelly Richey, Miss Lissa & Company, Tempted Souls and Ellie Lee & Blues Fury sharing the bill. 

Another cool feature for this year’s event is the introduction of a free, all-ages stage. A nod to the Cincy Blues Society’s Blues in the Schools initiative (Winter Blues Fest is the educational program’s main fundraiser), the former Harry’s Pizza/Local 1207/The Overflow space on Main will feature the Blues in the Schools Band (starring youngsters from the program) both nights for an “under-21 jam” at 7 p.m. The space — called "WNKU Blues in the SchoolHouse" — will be free and all-ages throughout the weekend.

Another tweak this year (besides the fact that you can't smoke, since the fest ain't in Kentucky anymore): those with Android smartphones can download a free Winter Blues Fest app at the Android Market and keep the schedule (as well as descriptions of the acts, maps and more) in their pocket. 

Wristbands can be purchased at the Blues in the SchoolHouse venue and Below Zero. The cost is $25 for each night ($15 if you're a Blues Society member) and tickets will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. Those who purchased advanced tickets can pick them up at the will call table at the Blues in the SchoolHouse.

Here's the full schedule (subject to change, as always):

TONIGHT
Fri., Feb. 10

The Drinkery (1150 Main St.)
7 p.m.
Ellie Lee & Blues Fury
8:25 p.m. Tempted Souls
9:55 p.m. Miss Lissa & Company
11:30 p.m. Kelly Richey
 
Below Zero (1122 Walnut St.)
7 p.m. Bad Men on a Mission
8:25 p.m. Ricky Nye Inc. featuring Bekah Williams
9:55 p.m.
G. Miles & the Hitmen
11:30
p.m. Electric Souls

WNKU Blues in the SchoolHouse  (1207 Main St.)
7
p.m. Blues in the Schools (BITS) Band (under 21 jam)
8:25
p.m. John Redell & the Company he Keeps
9:55
p.m. Wade Baker Trio featuring Carson Diersing
11:30 p.m.
Gregg "GC" Clark and Brian Lee
 
Japp's Annex (1142 Main St.)
7 p.m. 46 Long
8:25
p.m. Blue Sacrifice
9:55
p.m. The Dalton Street Gang
11:30
p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band

TOMORROW
Sat, Feb 11
 
The Drinkery (1150 Main St.)
7 p.m.
Leroy Ellington & his Pink Flamingos
8:25 p.m. 
Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project
9:55 p.m. 
Greg Schaber Band
11:30 p.m.
RB Stone & the Cincy Blues Syndicate
 
Below Zero (1122 Walnut St.)
7 p.m.
Ralph & the Rhythm Hounds
8:25 p.m.
The Blues Merchants featuring Amy McFarland
9:55 p.m.
The Mudpies
11:30
p.m. Them Bones

WNKU Blues in the SchoolHouse  (1207 Main St.)
7
p.m. Blues in the Schools (BITS) Band (under 21 jam)
8:25
p.m. Jellico Motel
9:55
p.m. Brian Keith Wallen
11:30 p.m.
Bluesbent
 
Japp's Annex (1142 Main St.)
7 p.m.
Leo Clarke Band
8:25
p.m. The Juice
9:55
p.m. B. Hatfield Band
11:30
p.m. Doug Hart

 
 
 
 
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