by Mike Breen
Kelly Thomas and The Mudpies cover Jimmy Cliff classic for latest episode of Thomas' yearlong tribute to her favorite songs and people
This particular version of "Many Rivers to Cross," featuring Greater Cincinnati greats Kelly Thomas and The Mudpies, has been haunting me all week (in a great way). It was recorded as the third episode in a brilliantly conceived yearlong project by Thomas and several of her creative pals, The Sacred Harp Sessions, in which she documents her musical inspirations in monthly installments. "Many Rivers" is such a great song, with its uplifting and optimistic Gospel vibe shining through the lyrical desperation. Thomas and The ’Pies version might just be the best I've heard outside of Jimmy Cliff's original version (sorry, UB40). And I thought it kind of fitting for New Year's Eve (or, perhaps more fittingly, New Year's Day morning) because, although there is a bittersweet aura, Cliff wrote and sang about overcoming his heartbreak and moving on to cross many more rivers in his future. Though he's devastated that his "woman left … and … didn't say why," he knows he'll live through it thanks to his strong will and pride. If you had a tough 2012, make this your theme song on your way to a better 2013.The Sacred Harp Sessions (produced, on the video end, by Alex and Tiffany Luscht of Mind Igniton) is an engaging passion project, with Thomas choosing songs, area musicians and even local studios she admires and appreciates. Ultimately, it's a tribute to the things that have made Thomas who she is today as an artist (and person). In the accompanying videos, Thomas talks about what the songs mean to her, but the short films are not purely autobiographical — they can also be educational. The first episode, for example, discussed Cincinnati's King Records and the city's Hank Williams connection; Kelly recorded Williams' "Lost Highway" with Arlo McKinley at the location of downtown's former Herzog recording studio, believed to be the last standing building in which Williams recorded. Episode 2 of The Sacred Harp Sessions found Thomas teaming up with Cincinnati Blues piano legend Ricky Nye at downtown studio Sound Images for a great take on Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen." Click here to subscribe to Thomas' YouTube channel so you know when the latest installments drop and can watch and re-watch your favorites. And keep an eye on Thomas' website for any updates and for limited-edition free downloads of the latest tracks recorded for the project ("Many Rivers" is currently available).Thomas is currently singing in three bands — her longtime Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups crew, the classic Country outfit The Tammy WhyNots and The Lonesome Sound (which formed recently after the aforementioned Hank Williams sessions). She'll be starting off 2013 with free shows with all three acts — The Fabulous Pickups join Sassy Molasses at Northside Tavern Jan. 4, on Jan. 5 The Tammy WhyNots play with Tex Schramm and The Radio King Cowboys and Doctor Bombay and The Atomic Bachelor Pad at Over-the-Rhine's MOTR Pub and The Lonesome Sound has a gig on Jan. 12 at downtown's Taqueria Mercado.
by Mike Breen
Popular Blues showcase returns to Sawyer Point for weekend of Blues you can use
By all accounts (from people who actually attended or performed), last month’s huge Bunbury Music Festival was one of the best-run fests of its kind this area has ever seen. Organizer Bill Donabedian no doubt scored some tips from the operators of the big annual Blues celebration, the volunteer-driven Cincy Blues Fest, which has been doing the “well-run music festival” thing at Sawyer Point Park along the riverfront for many years now. This weekend, the Cincy Blues Fest — one of the finest Blues events in the Midwest — returns to Sawyer Point to celebrate its 20th anniversary. That's a remarkable two decades of providing Greater Cincinnati live music lovers with some of the
finest Blues being made locally, regionally and nationally, a rare and impressive achievement for any music festival. This year’s main stage national headliners are especially strong — Webb Wilder on Friday and Duke Robillard on Saturday — but the Cincy Blues Fest always has a ton of interesting and engaging artists performing throughout the fest’s multiple stages.
Aside from the lineup featuring a few
higher quality headliners than the past couple of years (like Robillard, Wilder, Trampled Under Foot, Super Chikan, Sista Monica, etc.),
this year’s 20th anniversary celebration isn’t really being overblown,
likely because the Cincy Blues Society and the army of volunteers that
work the fest always do such an amazing job running the event; it’s
already quite special, no matter what birthday the fest is celebrating.
One of my favorite elements of the Blues
Fest is its undying support for our local players and singers. This
year, Cincy Blues Challenge winners Chris Yakopcic and the Noah
Wotherspoon Band have main-stage slots (they’ll also go to Memphis this
winter to compete for Cincinnati in the International Blues Challenge).
Yakopcic performs at 5:45 p.m. Friday, while Wotherspoon and Co. play at
the same time Saturday (following a band of students associated with
the Blues in the Schools program, for which the fest raises money).
The three side stages — always creatively
programmed — have a heavy local presence. Friday, visit the “Blues: The
Next Generation” stage for sets by younger area acts like the Wade
Baker Trio, Brian Keith Wallen Band, Scotty Bratcher and (again!) Noah
Wotherspoon and his band. The “Next Gen” stage starts at 5:15 p.m.
Saturday. Friday "The Next Generation of Blues" stage lineup5:15 p.m. Wade Baker Trio6:20 p.m. Jellico Motel7:05 p.m. Brian Keith Wallen Band8:10 p.m. Carson Diersing Band9:25 p.m. Scotty Bratcher10:40 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band
As the name suggests, the St. Vincent
DePaul Local Stage is chock full of local talent. Friday, the stage
features Bad Men on a Mission, Them Bones, the Doug Hart Band, Leroy
Ellington’s Blues Band and Blue Sacrifice.
Saturday, catch the Blue
Birds Big Band, the Gradual Taylor Band, the Leo Clarke Band, The Juice,
Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project and Balderdash. Friday St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup5:45-6:45 p.m. Bad Men on a Mission7:00-8:00 p.m. Them Bones8:15-9:15 p.m. Doug Hart Band9:30-10:30 p.m. Leroy Ellington’s Blues Band10:45pm-12:00 a.m. Blue SacrificeSaturday St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup 4:30-5:30 p.m. Blue Birds Big Band5:45-6:45 p.m. The Gradual Taylor Band7:00-8:00 p.m. The Leo Clarke Band8:15-9:15 p.m. The Juice9:30-10:30 p.m. Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project10:45-11:45 p.m. Balderdash
And perhaps the fest’s most notable and
renowned side stage, the unique Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame Stage,
on Saturday will feature appearances by Jimmy Rogers, Todd Hepburn, Liz
Pennock & Dr. Blues and Ricky Nye, plus players from across the
planet. The Boogie Woogie stage closes out with a “grand finale jam”
just before midnight. Saturday Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame Stage lineup4:30 p.m. Jimmy Rogers5:10 p.m. Todd Hepburn5:50 p.m. Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues6:50 p.m. Ricky Nye7:40 p.m. Mark Braun8:30 p.m. Rob Rio9:20 p.m. Cynthia Girtley10:10 p.m. Bob Seeley11:00 p.m. Fabrice Eulry11:50 p.m. Grand Finale JamHere are the lineups for the Budweiser Main Stage this weekend:Friday Budweiser Main Stage lineup 5:45-6:45 p.m. Chris Yakopcic7:00-8:15 p.m. Super Chikan8:30-10:00 p.m. Sista Monica10:15-11:45 p.m. Webb WilderSaturday Budweiser Main Stage lineup5:00-5:30 p.m. Blues in the School (BITS) Band5:45-6:45 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band7:00-8:15 p.m. Southern Hospitality8:30-10:00 p.m. Trampled Under Foot10:15-11:45 p.m. Duke RobillardTickets are $20 each day (two-day passes are
available Friday at the gates for $30), or grab yours early through
brownpapertickets.com for a $5 discount. Or you can join the Cincy Blues
Society (cincyblues.org), the creators and managers of Cincy Blues
Fest, to receive an even deeper discount.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this week's CityBeat, which includes a pull-out guide for the Cincy Blues Fest, with artist bios, schedules and more. For further ticket info, updates, details on the new Cincy Blues Fest mobile app and much more, visit cincybluesfest.org.
by Mike Breen
Weekly music, interactive musical fountains and more planned for renovated OTR park
Revitalization group 3CDC's live music programming throughout the past few summers has helped turn Fountain Square into the heart of Cincinnati's increasingly active downtown area, drawing thousands to the Square every week to catch everything from Reggae and Salsa to Hip Hop and Indie Rock. The group will be doing the same thing in Over-the-Rhine at the newly renovated Washington Park across from Music Hall. The Park officially opens tomorrow (July 6) with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The christening will be followed by tours of the park, then a free 5 p.m. World Choir Games "friendship concert" at the Bandstand.Like with Fountain Square, Washington Park's weekly music series will showcase local musicians, with live performances on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday will be "Bandstand Bluegrass" night, featuring some of the best area Bluegrass artists. The shows begin July 11 and will run every week, starting at 7 p.m., until Sept. 5. On Fridays, the Park features "Friday Flow," a night of R&B and Soul that starts July 13 and runs each Friday through Sept. 5.The lineups for Wednesdays and Fridays have yet to be announced, but more details have been made available about the every-Thursday Jazz in the Park series. Beginning July 12, the lineup has been curated by local Jazz pianist Chris Comer, who held a similar role on Fountain Square last year. The first Jazz in the Park concert is July 12 and features Comer and his quintet, plus special guest Napoleon Maddox from the progressive Jazz/Hip Hop group IsWhat?!Jazz in the Park performances run 7-9 p.m. through Aug. 30. Other shows in the series include the P&G Big Band (July 19); The Cincy Brass (Aug. 2); Steve Schmidt (Aug. 9), Ricky Nye Inc. (Aug. 16); and the Dick Sorice-Dan Jackson Quintet (Aug. 23).Along with many other special concerts — like Over the Rhine's (the band) free show July 22 and the rare joint performance featuring Cincinnati Pops, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet — the Washington Park summer schedule is filled with other types of events, from community festivals to "dog programs" to movie nights and special "Curiosity Saturdays" for kids. One of the coolest physical changes to Washington Park is the interactive Classical Music Walk of Fame, a project in conjunction with the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and InfoTrust which will enable visitors to use their smartphones and tablets to play various musical selections through the park's sound system or through the very cool "musical fountains," which will change appearance/flow/color depending on which music is selected. Here's a quick overview of how the interactive Classical Music Walk of Fame will work. To read about all of the things Washington Park has planned just this summer alone (remember, it will be a primary venue for the MidPoint Music Festival at the end of September) click here.
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Though rootsier acoustic music seems to
be almost trendy now (it’s a “fad” that seems to come around every 15
years or so), the local
organization Queen City Balladeers has been celebrating and nurturing
Folk and Americana music for decades in the Queen City. Next year will
mark the Balladeers’ 50th anniversary; this Friday, the 49th annual EdenSong concert series returns to Eden Park.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 7, 2012
If a duo can qualify as a “supergroup,” then Freekbot is a legit local music supergroup. Freekbot features Freekbass (a.k.a.
bassist/singer Chris Sherman of Funk crew Freekbass) and Tobotius
(a.k.a. Tobe Donohue, producer and founder of world-renowned turntable
crew Animal Crackers) in an Electronic duo configuration.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Last year, officials in Marshall, Texas,
declared its city the birthplace of Boogie Woogie music. But 13 years
ago, local pianist Ricky Nye started a tradition that has made Greater
Cincinnati (or, more precisely, Newport, Ky.) one of the premiere active
hubs in the U.S. for the rolling, rollicking American style of
Blues/R&B music that dates back to the late 1800s.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Block out next Saturday, Nov. 13, on your day planner for the 10th annual BRINK New Music Showcase, which this year morphs from a one-venue event (at the Southgate House) to a multi-venue extravaganza in Northside. Tied to the annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, BRINK is a chance to check out the next wave of new, original bands in the Cincy area.
Nov. 6 • Southgate House
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Ricky Nye, the local master of the Blues style known as Boogie Woogie, hosts the 12th annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit at the Southgate House Saturday. The U.K.'s Julian Phillips, Belgium's Patrick Smet and Detroit's Bob Seeley join Nye for the 9 p.m. show.
August 6 • Sawyer Point
0 Comments · Friday, August 6, 2010
The Cincy Blues Fest returns to Sawyer Point Friday and Saturday. Along with quality headliners, organizers from the Cincy Blues Society will once again present some cool side-stage offerings and loads of local performers. Friday night's highlights include the New Orleans-flavored "Pardi Gras" stage and singer Candye Kane.
August 7 • Sawyer Point
0 Comments · Friday, August 6, 2010
The Cincy Blues Fest returns to Sawyer Point Friday and Saturday. Along with quality headliners, organizers from the Cincy Blues Society will once again present some cool side-stage offerings and loads of local performers. Saturday's highlights include the Arches Boogie Woogie piano stage and a huge lineup of local bands.