Tag Archives: Cincy Groove Music Festival

American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall

Okay, I have to confess, I’m just a tad excited. Yesterday I got tickets for the Sunday afternoon performance of American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall.

American Originals

 

So why so excited? I hear you say

Well, how about this for a line-up:

Rosanne Cash – One of my favorite artists, who’s album The River and the Thread was one of my top ten albums of 2014. I briefly saw her on stage at the end of the Americana Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium  in September 2013 and have been wanting to see her ever since.

 

Americana Awards 2013

Dom Flemons – Formerly with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who I saw when he was still a member, at the City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, England in October 2012.  I also saw Dom Flemons late last year when he compered Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour, which was one of my top ten gigs of last year.

Pokey Lafarge Central Time poster

Over The Rhine – I’ve not yet seen Over The Rhine, but I understand they’re a Cincinnati institution, so it’ll be cool to catch one of my new home town bands.

Aoife O’Donovan – I’ve heard her a few times on Bob Harris‘s Radio 2 show and I’ve been wanting to see her live for quite a while now.

The other two acts on the bill are the Comet Bluegrass Allstars and Joe Henry. I’ve not heard of either of these, so a bit of research is required.

All these acts are going to be performing with the world-famous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

The show will be based around the songs of Stephen Foster, who reputedly was America’s first great songwriter. Being a Brit, who’s only been living in the States for just over a year, and in Cincinnati for four months, I’m not fully au fait with Stephen Foster, but being a music fan, I’m obviously aware of the Great American Songbook. I’m also aware of the black face minstrel tradition for which Stephen Foster is known for, as during my childhood back in the UK, there used to be a light entertainment program, on the BBC, called the Black and White Minstrel Show. The show was very popular and ran for 20 year and won a Golden Rose at Montreux for Best Light Entertainment program. However, after numerous complaints it finally was pulled in 1978.

This show introduced me to many of Stephen Foster‘s songs, including Oh Susanna!,Camptown Races,Swanee River & My Old Kentucky Home amongst others. So whilst the manner used, on the Black and White Minstrel Show, of showcasing the songs was abhorrent, it did contribute greatly to my love of music, and Americana in particular.

One added bonus of going on Sunday is that I get to see Hickory Robot again, as they’re providing the pre-concert entertainment. I saw them at the CincyGroove Music Festival last year, where they were excellent, so it will be good to see them again.

Another reason for the excitement is that this will be my first visit to the Cincinnati Music Hall. I’ve been in Cincinnati for four months and have been waiting for the right concert before making my first visit, and the American Originals fits the bill perfectly!

 

 

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Top Ten Gigs of 2014, part one!

After yesterday’s Top Ten Albums of 2014, it’s now time for my Top Ten Gigs of 2014. This is a somewhat harder list to compile as I can just play an album to remind myself how good it is, whereas with a gig I’m reliant on my memory, never a good idea!

Apart from the first ten days of the year, all of 2014 has been spent in the USA. I’ve managed to see gigs in five states and went to my first festival in America. For both of the top two gigs on my list I traveled in excess of 300 miles, and yes both were well worth the journey!

So here’s my Top Ten Gigs of 2014, numbers 10 to 6:

10 – Gaslight Anthem at the Shaky Knees Festival in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Shaky Knees Festival was my first festival in America and was also the first festival I’d been to which was held on concrete and throughout which I stayed in a hotel, as there was no camping! But after my initial misgivings it proved to be a great weekend. I’ve seen Gaslight Anthem a few times now, but their one hour slot on the Friday night at the Shaky Knees Festival was one of the best. My particular highlight being a wicked version on The Animals‘ classic, House of the Rising Sun.

9 – Darius Rucker at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina. We took our niece, Alexandra, to see Darius Rucker for her Christmas present. I’ve been a fan of Darius Rucker since hearing his Charleston, SC, 1966 album, which was the soundtrack of my summer of 2013, when I spent three months in Georgia, with my then fiance. Southern State of Mind being one of my all time favorite songs. He played this, along with many other songs from the Charleston album, together with songs from his latest album, True Believers. All of which went down a storm, but the high spot for me was when he performed a couple of Hootie and the Blowfish songs, awesome!

8. – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero at the Shaky Knees Festival. This is a set I won’t forget in a long time. I’ve been to loads of gigs in my lifetime, but haven’t seen a lead singer as frenzied as Alex Ebert. The whole set had the air of a religious experience, with the Alex Ebert, aka Edward Sharpe being the Messiah! Added surrealism came in the form of an onstage proposal from one of the members of the crowd, which needless to say was accepted. One word – Amazing!

7. The Tillers at the CincyGroove Festival in the Southgate House Revival, Newport, Kentucky. This was the second time I’d seen The Tillers and this time they were headliners for the night. You can read more about this gig in my earlier post on the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

6. Dawes at the Shaky Knees FestivalI’ve been a fan of Dawes since hearing them on Bob Harris‘s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 2, so I was really looking forward to seeing them on the Sunday afternoon of the Shaky Knees Festival, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. They were, by far and way, my highlight of the festival. And as an added bonus, they sang my favorite Dawes song, A Little Piece of Everything. Pure class!

 

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Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

I cast my votes in the Cincinnati Music Awards for the first time last night. I’ve only been in Cincinnati four months, but during that time I’ve managed to catch The Tillers a couple of times, and both times they’ve been brilliant. The first time I saw them perform was as part of Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour. I’ll be doing a separate post about that superb evening, but The Tillers blew me away, so much so that I purchased their latest album, Hand on the Plow, straight after he gig.

The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was on the strength of that performance that I decided to get tickets for the Cincy Groove Music Festival at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky. And I’m so glad I did!

First of all a word about the venue. The Southgate House Revival is located in the The Grace Episcopal Methodist Church, which dates back to 1866. The gig was taking place in The Sanctuary, one of three rooms in the building used for gigs. The first thing I noticed on entering the Sanctuary was an old pipe organ, which apparently is the original organ for the church. The next thing I noticed were the stained glass windows, which were simply stunning. I think I may well have to do some research on this building, both as a church and as a music venue. Anyway enough of the architecture, what about the music?

First up were Shiny and the Spoon who got the evening off to a great start, but for me it was the next band, Hickory Robot, who really got things going. The fiddle playing and vocals of Lauren Schloemer stood out amongst all four members of the group, who were excellent in their own right. The highlight of their set was a ten minute epic called Exhultation, from their latest album Sawyer, which reminded me of an old Lindisfarne song, Dingly Dell. I think it was partly due to the atmospheric nature of the song, but mainly due to the mandolin playing of Scott Carnder, that I connected them with Lindisfarne.

I was well impressed with Hickory Robot, which led to yet another CD purchase!

Hickory Robot-Sawyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on stage was the only artist not from Cincinnati,Chicago Farmer, This is the name by which Cody Diekhoff goes by. He’s a folk singer in the Woody Guthrie style and kept the crowd well entertained despite an electrical hiccup at the start of his set. He was certainly topical, referencing the recent Ferguson murder in one of his songs.

He warmed the crowd up nicely for the headliners The Tillers, who from start to finish were simply superb. Having played the Hand on the Plow numerous times since buying it I was familiar with a lot of the songs in the set, but hearing them played live just took them to another dimension. Their interaction with the crowd created a great atmosphere and I can safely say this was one of my top gigs of the year.

And my wallet took a further hit when I purchased their live CD, Farewell to the Historic Southgate House, the title of which has made me more intrigued about this great venue.

The Tillers - Farewell to the Historic Southgate House

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tillers were nominated in three categories in the Cincinnati Music Awardsneedless to say they got my vote in all three!

 

 

 

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