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by Mike Breen 01.17.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, CEAs, Music Video at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Music Tonight: Plume Giant, Happy Maladies and More

Two free shows tonight showcase the many ways artists are experimenting with Americana music

• Combining some of the idiosyncrasies of modern Indie Folk with uplifting Pop melodies, Chamber music arrangements and an Americana grab-bag of various other influences, the trio Plume Giant makes a glorious noise that is buoyed by the clever, collaborative songwriting, as well as the trio’s vocal chops, which add a slanted, colorful layer to the group’s sound via frequent and flawless harmonies. The threesome — which formed after meeting each other while attending Yale —  makes this glorious noise with fairly spare acoustic instrumentation (Oliver Hill plays guitar guitar and viola, Nolan Green plays guitar and harmonium and Eliza Bagg plays violin, harmonium and various other instruments). But the sound of the group’s recent debut full-length, Callithump, is full-bodied and far from minimalistic. On the dynamic 2012 release, the trio explores traditional Appalachian music, swingin’ Jazz, Tin Pan Alley pomp and breezy Folk Pop, but all of it is filtered through Plume Giant’s distinctive vision, with hints of the avant-garde beneath the inescapable harmonies and lovely aura.

The now Brooklyn-based trio performs a free show tonight in Over-the-Rhine at MOTR Pub with like-minded Cincinnati-based Chamber Folk ensemble The Happy Maladies. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Here is Plume Giant's smile-inducing "We Got It Made" video from their debut LP, followed by The Happy Maladies' "New Again," taken from The Emery Sessions live music video series. The Maladies' song is the title track off their 2012 release, which was nominated for "Album of the Year" at the upcoming Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

• At the Southgate House Revival in Newport tonight, Indianapolis progressive Bluegrass group Flatland Harmony Experiment performs a free, 10 p.m. show in the venue's "Lounge." Formed just a couple of summers ago, FHE has toured the region regularly, found success on radio outlets and through online Bluegrass/Americana/Folk music channels and are seemingly on their way to becoming an even bigger presence on the national festival circuit (in June, the trio will compete at the 40th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition). The trio (Scott Nelson on upright bass, Kris Potts on Mandolin and Johnny Plott on banjo) uses the tools of traditional Bluegrass and the members clearly have a firm grasp on the music's rich history (not to mention some delicious chops and textured harmonies that'll send a shiver), but they let the songwriting go wherever their contemporary minds might take it. Fans of
groups like Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and The Infamous Stringdusters will love this Experiment.

Last year, the string band released its debut full-length, On Our Way. Here's the album's "Secret in the Seams":

Click here for even more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight.

by Mike Breen 01.14.2013
Posted In: CEAs at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Videos From CEA 'New Artist' Nominees

Natives, DAAP Girls debut new music videos; CEA voting ends tomorrow

This Friday at Bogart's, the nominees in the "New Artist of the Year" category in this year's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards will perform at Bogart's for CityBeat's first New Music Showcase. Showtime is 8 p.m. and you can get tickets for $7 at the Bogart's box office (or here if you'd like to pay the ticketing fees). Proceeds from the show benefit the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

All seven 'New Artist' nominees will be featured in a special music edition of CityBeat out this Wednesday, with profiles of each nominee, including R. Ring, who are unable to perform Friday's showcase.

The show will feature sets from Jeremy Pinnell and the 55s, DAAP Girls, Ohio Knife, The Natives, Public and Heavy Hinges. The audience will cast ballots for their favorites; that cumulative score will be weighted by the votes of the CEA committee members.

By coincidence, two of the artists performing at Bogart's on Friday — groovy Indie rockers DAAP Girls and tight Hip Hop band The Natives — have brand new music videos out.

DAAP Girls — featuring members of The Lions Rampant and Newport Secret Six — are set to release their new album, Tape Songs, on Feb. 23 with a release party scheduled for Over-the-Rhine's The Drinkery. Each song on the album has a woman's name for the title. The band's first music video is for "Kate," which debuted this morning. Check it below.

Cincinnati Hip Hop band The Natives' new video is for the track "So Much," off of Coup D'etat, one of two releases (and numerous videos) from the group last year. The Natives had a very active 2012 as a group; in 2013, they'll stay just as busy, though they'll be focusing on completing some of the members' solo projects. Here's the clip for "So Much."

Public voting for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ends tomorrow at midnight, so have your voice heard and vote right now if you haven't yet. Click here to cast your ballot.

The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony is Sunday, Jan. 27, at Madison Theater in Covington. The full lineup of performers will be announced soon. Click here to get your CEA show tickets.

by Mike Breen 12.14.2012
Posted In: CEAs, Live Music, Local Music at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Voting Opens for Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Vote online for your favorite Greater Cincinnati musicians of 2012

Voting for Greater Cincinnati's annual celebration of our amazing local music scene, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, is now open. Vote for your faves or, even better, do some research online, check out all of the nominees and THEN pick who you think is most deserving.

Click here to get started on your ballot.

The 16th annual CEA ceremony will be held at Covington’s Madison Theater on Jan. 27, featuring more live performances than ever and first-time host Ted Clark, known for his monthly “live chat show” Ted Clark After Dark. Ted will present a special edition of Ted Clark After Dark at the after-party, this year held at The Loft, just around the corner from the Madison and above Tickets (the former home to the Rock club Radio Down). The after-party will also include the annual “Fashion Trashies,” presented by members of local Indie Pop legends The Fairmount Girls and honoring the best/worst/weirdest-dressed CEA attendees.

Tickets to the Jan. 27 ceremony/party will go on sale this coming Wednesday through CincyTicket.com. Proceeds from ticket sales are being donated the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

Another new aspect of this year’s CEAs involves the “New Artist of the Year” nominees. The acts nominated in that category will perform at the first-ever CEA new music showcase at Bogart’s on Jan. 18 (confirmations pending). Audience votes at the event will help determine the winner of the category, along with votes from the nominating committee (who also choose the Album and Artist of the Year winners).

Tickets for the new music showcase will go sale soon through Ticketmaster.

Now, a few words on "the process." Since the nominees were announced on Wednesday, I've received several queries asking "How do I get nominated for a CEA?" from various artists and/or their representatives.

It's the same answer found in the old joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

Practice. And also work hard and keep spreading the word about your awesome music.

As has been the case in the entire the 16-year existence of the CEAs (and as has been noted every year in our coverage of the event, including this year), a nominating committee is assembled each year to determine the CEA nominees. These include writers, promoters, club owners, local-music radio hosts and others whose opinion on local music-makers we trust. This year's committee included approximately 40 such people. We try our best to include those whose expertise is either wide-ranging or specific to a particular genre represented in the CEA categories. (Judges do not have votes counted if they're cast for an artist with whom the judge directly works.)

This year, invitations to participate in the nominating process were sent out to nearly 70 people, so obviously certain experts declined to participate, missed the deadline for nominees or just ignored our request.

The committee is asked to nominate up to three artists per category who caught their eyes and ears this past year. The only guidelines are that the artists should have been active in the past 365 days, the nominees should be largely original (though certainly talented, straight-up "cover bands" are generally not eligible) and the judges are also instructed to give special consideration to any act that has released new recorded material in that same time-frame.

The CEA nominating judges are listed in the CEA "program" annually. I will not release their names here because I've personally received many rude or stupid emails telling me what an idiot I am for not nominating "fill in the blank." The nominating committee was kind enough to participate; I don't want to open any of them up to such haranguing and harassment.

Finally, I'd just like to say that every year there are TONS of really great acts that deserve a nomination but don't get one. It's not personal. It's not "political." It's not "who you know." It's simply a matter of time and space. If every artist who deserved a nomination got one, the CEA show itself would run 16 hours — and that's just to read the nominations for each category.

I agree to some extent that award shows like these are a little frivolous and that the process for nominations isn't perfect. It never is, for any awards show. We have thought about letting the public nominate the artists (a la the long-gone "CAMMY" awards presented by The Enquirer), but ultimately feel that the way the CEA process is set up works best. Because, ultimately, whoever wins their category is going to deserve it.

Though we take the process seriously, we've always thought of the CEAs as more of a celebration than a contest. I invite you to think of it the same way and join us for the show, whether you were nominated or not. The CEAs are for the ENTIRE Greater Cincinnati music scene. The awards are just a good excuse to get everyone together. Instead of being a sore sport about your lack of attention, come out and congratulate and party with your fellow nominees.

by Mike Breen 11.30.2012
Posted In: CEAs, Music News at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Hey! What Happened to the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards?

Annual celebration of Greater Cincinnati's music scene moves to January

Right around Thanksgiving time, CityBeat began to receive several queries via email, Twitter and Facebook, all essentially asking, "What the hell happened to the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards?"

CityBeat's annual celebration of Greater Cincinnati's best original music had been held for 15 years on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The reasoning was that musicians who tour a lot would hopefully be home for the ceremony and regular weekly giggers might be less likely to have an every-Sunday residency. Also, we thought, perhaps the holiday timing would allow us to nab a few of the city's favorite sons and daughters (Jerry Springer? SJP? Any Lachey we could get our hands on?) as presenters.

In the end, the timing of the ceremony never really had much effect. We did have Jerry Springer — via video tape from Chicago — at the very first CEAs (held at the old Sycamore Gardens in Over-the-Rhine), but the video malfunctioned. Maybe it was an omen. We also spent many years attempting to lure the Isley Brothers to perform and be inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame, but the Isleys haven't been "local" in almost half a century, so the Thanksgiving timing was irrelevant (and the Isleys would have cost a fortune to bring to town).

We also discovered those hard-touring musicians tour so hard, having an off day the Sunday before Thanksgiving is hardly a given. Last year, for example, Artist of the Year winners Walk the Moon were on the road and unable to attend (though they still created one of the show's better moments by having their mothers accept on their behalf).

Having the ceremony in November was also a hassle once CityBeat acquired the MidPoint Music Festival, which occurs annually in late September. The CEAs bumped up a little too close to MPMF, making the organization of the awards a hectic endeavor.

So, starting with the 2012 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, the ceremony will now be held in January. This change allows our staff to fully focus on the CEAs without battling MPMF fatigue. And it creates an easier-to-track window for nomination consideration. In the future, the Album of the Year category's eligibility timeframe will be anything released that year. Previously, the timeframe was approximately October of the previous year to October of the current year. (This year, eligibility will be extended to anything released in 2012, but also includes releases that came out October-December 2011.)

The 16th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony will be held at Covington's Madison Theater on Jan. 27. This year's host will be the very funny Ted Clark, who is also making plans to do his popular "live talk show" at the after-party (read more about Ted here). And there will be more live performances at the CEA ceremony than ever before. Ticket info, the lineup of performers and more details will be released soon.

(Let's get this out of the way right up front, since the Northern Ky. locale always gets mocked every year — yes, the "2012" "Cincinnati" Entertainment Awards will be held in Covington in 2013. How odd!)

Another new wrinkle for the CEAs this year will be a live showcase of the "New Artist of the Year" nominees; the winner of the category (normally decided by the nominating committee) will be largely determined by audience vote at the showcase, which is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 18 at Bogart's. More details to come.

The 2012 CEA nominees — determined by a large pool of local music experts, including writers, bloggers, club owners, radio show hosts and others (this year's committee is the largest yet) — will be announced Dec. 12. The ballot will go live at citybeat.com and then it's up to you. Fan voting determines all categories except for the "Critical Achievement" ones — Artist of the Year, Album of the Year — which are voted on by the committee.

Stay tuned for many more CEA announcements to come. And visit citybeat.com's CEA page here for a look at past nominees, winners and more.

by Mike Breen 11.21.2011
Posted In: CEAs, Music News at 08:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

2011 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards: The Winners

Last night at Covington's Madison Theater, the 15th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony once again brought together people from all facets of the Greater Cincinnati music scene and gave them one hell of a party. Along with offering one of the best people-watching experiences of the year, the packed crowd in attendance was treated to great "mini-sets" (usualy about three tunes) from local bands Pomegranates (who also played the event's after-party at the nearby Mad Hatter), Young Heirlooms, Los Honchos, Two Headed Dog and Wussy, who closed the night out with songs from their recently released fourth album, Strawberry.

"Thanks for voting for us," Wussy's guitarist/vocalist Chuck Cleaver deadpanned as they began.

While Strawberry is among the (if not the) best albums released in 2011 so far, it missed the cut-off to be nominated for a 2011 CEA. (To be in the running, albums had to have been released between early Oct. 2010 and Oct. 2011.) Maybe (probably) next year, Wussy!

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by Mike Breen 11.14.2011
Posted In: King Records, CEAs, Live Music, Music News at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cincinnati Music Heritage Group Offers CEA VIP Perks

The proceeds from the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (coming up this Sunday at Covington's Madison Theater) have been donated to various music-affiliated charities over the years. For the 2011 edition, money from the show will again be given to the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation. The non-profit organization has spent the past few years shining the spotlight on Cincinnati’s rich, often-overlooked musical past, reiterating the Queen City’s vital role in the development of so much popular music. CUSAMHF launches its inaugural membership drive with this year’s CEAs. VIP tickets for the CEA ceremony this year are $50 (click here to purchase) and include membership in the CUSAMHF’s Funky Drummer Society, named for the beat of James Brown’s “The Funky Drummer,” one of the most used drum samples in music history.

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by Mike Breen 11.09.2011
Posted In: CEAs, Local Music at 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

CEA.11 Performers Announced

A good party needs good music and the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony has annually featured some of the best music being made in Greater Cincinnati. This year's show at the Madison Theater on Nov. 20 will be no exception. Performers for this year's CEAs will include Wussy, Pomegranates and New Artist of the Year nominees Two Headed Dog (pictured), with more to be added (we'll keep you posted). Click below for more details on the show. And if you haven't voted for your favorite local musical acts yet, what are you waiting for? Deadline for votes is this Friday at noon. Click here to cast your ballot. And go here to get your tickets to the show.

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by Mike Breen 10.12.2011
Posted In: Local Music, CEAs at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Time to Vote! CEA 2011 Ballot Online Now

The nominees for the 15th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards music program have been announced and you can vote for your favorites right now. Just click here, make your selection and then make plans to join us on Nov. 20 at the Madison Theater in Covington, where the CEAs will be doled out during what is sure to be another spectacular awards ceremony. Good luck to all the nominees! The full list of this year's nominations is below.

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by mbreen 11.22.2010
Posted In: Music News, Local Music, CEAs at 03:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Very Foxy 2010 CEAs

Something (or a few things) unanticipated usually happens at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards show every year. After all, it's a night where hundreds of local musicians are put together in a room with loud music and multiple cash bars.

But the biggest unexpected element of last night’s CEAs at the Madison Theater in Covington was its runtime. Not only a first for the CEAs but perhaps a first in the history of all awards show, the briskly paced show was over early — in about 2 and a half hours, 30 minutes sooner than expected. Efficient stage management and a more streamlined run of show that kept the focus on live performances and the 19 award presentations (winners listed below) helped the event wrap up in record time.

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by mbreen 11.17.2010
Posted In: CEAs at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

CEA Performers, Details Announced

The votes have been cast and counted, the winners’ plaques are being etched as you read this, and now we can all focus on this Sunday’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/concert/party at the Madison Theater in Covington. The CEA program — entering its 14th year of local music exaltation with Sunday’s show — is certainly about who wins what (“Awards” is in the name of the program, after all). But let’s face it — the actual CEA event is what most people are excited about and, barring an alcoholic blackout, what most people will remember most. Of course, a huge part of that is all of the socializing and boozing that goes on. But every year the CEA ceremony has featured some stellar nominee performances and Sunday’s shindig is no different. Below are the artists confirmed to play this year’s event.

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