Local Exposure

WVXU's Local Exposure focuses on the thriving music scene in the Greater Cincinnati area.

You'll find interviews with local musicians as well as national artists coming to town, plus concert announcements, album reviews and other music news. Contributors include musicians, artists and a number of folks who have their finger on the pulse of the local and regional music scene.

NYC- based jazz trombonist/composer Sam Blakeslee's bringing his new chamber music jazz project, "Wistful Thinking," to Caffe Vivace on March 19th from 8-11pm.  An Ohio native, he spoke by phone with Ron Esposito on March 10th about his Wistful Thinking project, trombone influences, and playing an interesting blend of jazz genres.  Playing with him that night will be guitarist Brandon Coleman and bassist Matt Wiles.  

Due to coronavirus restrictions dictated by the State of Ohio and the Governor's edicts and Mt. St. Joseph University's suspension of on-campus classes and other non-essential gatherings, (they will beginremote classes on March 16), it is with deep regret that the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame announces that they are postponing the 6th Annual Induction/Jazz Concert that was to be held on March 22, 2020 at the Mount St. Joseph University Auditorium Theatre in Cincinnati, OH. A new date will be announced in the upcoming weeks. All tickets will be honored on the new date. “We regret having to do this, but the safety and health of our performers, volunteers, and fans is our #1 priority, “ stated Kay Casey, Founder and Chairman. “We look forward to the annual celebration and induction when it is rescheduled.” For more information about the postponed induction ceremony/jazz concert, contact Kay Casey at 513.207.0476 or kaycaseycinti@aol.com.  For more information about the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame go to http://www.CincyJazzHOF.org.

UPDATE (3/10/20): Just heard from Jeff that his Nashville concert with Jack Jones has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, so he won't be bringing his Mapex drums to Cincinnati for the induction performance with the Blue Wisp Big Band.  

UPDATE#2 (3/11/20): Because of the coronavirus issue, the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Mt. St. Joseph University has been postponed until hopefully late May or early June.

Jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton's in much demand these days.  He's touring and recording with his two trios and as well as the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  Some jazz fans were lucky to see his perform at Caffe Vivace with his Akiko/Hamilton/Dechter Trio, and he's returning to Cincinnati on March 22nd to sit in with the Blue Wisp Big Band as part of the 6th Annual Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Mt. St. Joseph University from 3-5pm that afternoon.

On March 4th, I spoke by phone with Jeff who's been a friend of mine since the late '70s when he first joined the LA4 playing with Ray Brown, Laurinda Almeida, and Bud Shank.  Since then, he's gone on to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with bassist John Clayton and has recorded with a long list of musicians like Diana Krall, Leon Russell, Dr. John, Paul McCartney, Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Mark Murphy, and many more.

During our conversation, he talks about his contract with Mapex Drums, friendship with John von Ohlen, traveling with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, playing with the Blue Wisp Big Band, and mentoring young drummers. 

Local musician Rick Lisak sat down last week with Elaine Diehl to talk about his new cd, Songs of the Ohio River Valley, recorded with Zach Rowe.  During the interview, Rick discusses how he and Zach came together to form Lisak & Rowe and also how they compose songs together. 

Recently, they've hooked up with Sherry Stanforth and Dick Hague for performances during readings from their collaborative anthology, Riparian.  Lisak & Rowe's next appearance will be Tuesday, February 11th at 6:30pm, Joseph Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion.

If you enjoy cover bands, a concert by The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute to the Beatles is coming to the Taft Theatre on Friday, February 21st.   

According to their press release, “The Emmy Award Winning Fab Four is elevated far above every other Beatles Tribute due to their precise attention to detail. With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles' classics such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "Yesterday," "A Day In The Life," "Twist And Shout," "Here Comes The Sun," and "Hey Jude", the Fab Four will make you think you are watching the real thing… Their incredible stage performances include three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles ever-changing career, and this loving tribute to the Beatles has amazed audiences in countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, France, Hong Kong, The United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.”

Tickets are available at the Taft Theatre Box Office or Ticketmaster.

Guitarist Albert Lee's coming back to Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky, on Wednesday, January 8th.  Show starts at 8pm.

From England, Albert Lee joined Emmylou Harris's Hot Band in 1976, playing with Rodney Crowell and Ricky Skaggs.  In 1978, he started playing with Eric Clapton for 5 years.  A Grammy winner, he's also performed at a Crossroads Festival.  

This'll be an opportunity to see a musician who's played with musical legends for decades.

I was saddened to get a call this morning from Jimmy Railey, one of James Brown's Famous Flames, whose daughter was killed this past weekend.  Donna Railey was killed crossing Reading Road this past Saturday, November 30th.  Visitation is from 10:00 am until 11:00 am, on  Saturday, December 14, 2019, at the Walker Funeral Home - Walnut Hills Chapel, 2625 Gilbert Avenue, Cincinnati  (45206).   The funeral service will immediately follow the visitation beginning at 11:00

All performances will be in the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. 

Ticket information

Elaine Diehl spoke by phone with singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor on November 14th about his upcoming concert at the 20th Century Theater on December 4th.  He's also been teaching at the Berklee College of Music for 30 years.

Singer/songwriter Raye Zaragoza dropped by the studio on her way to her gig at Ludlow Garage on Tuesday afternoon, November 12th, where she opened for the Rising Appalachia band.

She spoke with Elaine Diehl about her 2017 album, what it's like being on the road so much, and her social activism.  Raye also talked about how nice it would be to take some time off after this tour and before the new cd drops to spend some time off at her home in L.A.

Rising Appalachia At The Ludlow Garage

Nov 5, 2019

The band, Rising Appalachia, is bringing their tour to Ludlow Garage on Tuesday, November 12th.  Elaine Diehl spoke with Leah Song about the group and their new release, "Leylines," by phone Monday, November 4th.  During the conversation, Leah said that this is their 7th album, not including the bootlegs out there.  She also discussed the band members and the recording process for this new album which was recorded in 10 days in a studio north of San Francisco on the Pacific coast late summer, 2018.  The band has also teamed up with social activists and non-profits to help make a difference with this tour.

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Local singer-songwriter Molly Sullivan is a bit of an enigma. Many of her songs have, so far, gone unrecorded, and she tends to limit her online presence. When she joined me in the studio, I had very little in front of me in terms of notes or prepared questions, so, I thought, "Let’s just start talking and see where it goes."

As it turns out, this interview ranks among one of my favorites; and as you join me as a witness to this conversation, you’ll see why; and hopefully, it will be one of your favorites as well. 

Harlem 100, featuring Mwenso & the Shakes, is a unique collaboration with the National Jazz History Museum in Harlem that’s currently on a 32-city tour around the country.  The event is a celebration of the 100th anniversity of the Harlem Renaissance.  The Harlem-based jazz band, Mwenso & the Shakes, will be on stage at Hall Auditorium in Miami University Saturday, November 2nd.

I spoke with Michael Mwenso, the bandleader and lead vocalist of the band, by phone Tuesday, October 22nd.  We discussed the tour, the events over the last 100 years in Harlem, Mwenso’s personal musical journey, and the components of the multi-media show.  He also talked about the band.

When asked about his personal story, Mwenso said he was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone but grew up in London where he met many musicians and then Wynton Marsalis brought him to New York City to work with the Jazz at Lincoln Center group.

Celebrate Brooklyn performance    -   Tiny Desk Contest performance

Provided

Newport's Mentoring Plus is a small nonprofit supporting local high school students needing academic help but also providing a safe haven for friendship, food, and more. Local musician and former judge Mickey Foellger will be part of a fundraising music festival on November 2 at the Southgate House Revival. 

Holly Tutor Photography

Sawyer Fredericks is bringing his band to Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky, on Thursday evening, October 24th to promote the 11/9 release of their new single, "Flowers for You."  The album will be coming out in Spring, 2020.  The song was recorded at Dreamland Recordings in Woodstock and was written and produced by Sawyer.  

During his conversation with Elaine Diehl, they discussed his writing process, collaborations, and the members of his band.  His experience on NBC's, "The Voice," was also explored.  Sawyer said that the show scouted him for the auditions when he was only 15 years old.  He considered his time on "The Voice" as a valuable learning experience and is looking forward to working on this new album.  The playlist for their concert at Southgate House Revival will include the new single, songs he sang on "The Voice," as well as selections for his past albums.  

Blues guitarist Coco Montoya and his band are coming to the Sorg Opera House in Middletown on Thursday night, October 24th for one show only at 8pm.  Their sounds are surely going to rock out given the great acoustics in this hall which is loved by the musicians who play there.  It's an intimate setting, so the audience will be up close and personal to these blues musicians.

Their album, "Coming in Hot," is Coco Montoya's 5th album with Alligator Records and features studio musicians from the west coast as well as special guests including Jon Cleary.  But, he'll be bringing his regular band with him on the tour.

I spoke with Mr. Montoya by phone on Tuesday, October 15th about this new album, one of the songs on the album, a memory of working with Albert Collins, and his guitars.  I'd also like to thank Elaine Diehl for her assistance editing our interview.

The poet Francis Duggan called Death “The Great Equalizer.” No matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe, all of us will one day leave this existence.

Mike Oberst, one of the founding members of The Tillers, has released an 11- track solo album titled Six Feet Of Earth that examines that reality.

By combining traditional American and European folk songs with two original compositions - and an extraordinary Carole King cover, Mike explores themes that transcend our differences and finds those common bonds that define us all, ultimately, as human beings.

The movie, "The Mountain Minor," is coming to the Esquire Theatre on Thursday, October 17th and Sunday, October 20th at 7pm each evening.  There's a q&a session after each showing and an after party at Sitwell's on Thursday evening with live music, too.  The director, Dale Farmer, and two of the actor/musicians Ma Crow and Mike Oberst from the Tillers came into the studio this morning to talk about this film.

The film was shot in North Carolina for the most part with some scenes in Eaton, Oxford and the Southgate House Revival in Newport.  Dale cast real musicians for acting roles in this story about an Appalachian family who came to Cincinnati for jobs and brought their music with them.  The plot's based on Dale's grandparents' story which is also the story for many of us in the area.

The film's made the film festival route and has garnered awards, but Thursday night is the premiere of "The Mountain Minor" movie which resonates with those who have seen it to the point of bringing tears.  A dvd is in the planning stages.

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