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.

From the band's website

During this conversation  Yemi Oyediran, jazz trumpeter John Zappa discusses his musical background including working with various musicians who went on to play with prominent players like David Bowie, James Brown, and David Sanborn.  Some of the bands he's performed with include the Psychoacoustic Orchestra, the Blue Wisp Big Band, Rich Uncle Skeleton, and Tropicoso.  Zappa also teaches at CCM and NKU.

Yemi Oyediran asked John Zappa about the inspiration for his band's self-titled album, Now Hear This, some of which came from a trip to France and an introduction to an afro-beat sound.  Zappa also talks about each band member's background as well as some of the songs on the album.

The cd release party for their new cd, Now Hear This, will be at The Greenwich, 2442 Gilbert Avenue, on Friday evening, June 21st.  

Marc Cohn will join the Blind Boys of Alabama who'll be performing on stage the evening of June 19th beginning at 7pm at the Rose Music Center at the Heights along with the Robert Cray Band and Shemekia Copeland.  I recently spoke with Marc Cohn about this appearance.

During our conversation, he said that Shemekia Copeland will open the show with a 20-minute set, and  he'll be performing with the Blind Boys of Alabama , and the Robert Cray Band will also perform their set.  Cohn also mentioned that he and the Blind Boys of Alabama have recorded an album, Work To Do, that will be coming out in August.  He shared that he'll be playing both a guitar and piano during the show, but mostly the piano.  The guitar he'll have with him is a vintage Gibson from the 60's he found in a secondhand shop in Chelsea.  I also asked him about the non-profit organization, Love Rocks, which he supports and is a board member of.  

Michael McDonald has a tour planned this summer with Chaka Khan, and they'll be on stage together at Rose Music Center at the Heights in Huber Heights on Thursday, June 20th at 7pm.  During his conversation with Elaine Diehl, he said that he and Chaka Kahn plan on rehearsing a couple of days in Detroit before going out.  The plan is for a set each with their own bands, then together, and maybe a song in each other's set, but they're still figuring it out. And, he also said that he'd probably perform 2 or 3 songs from his new album, Wide Open.

His new album, Wide Open, features original music and is first studio album in over 9 years.  Branford Marsalis, Robben Ford, and Warren Haynes are some of the musicians who helped out with this project.  McDonald said every musician he approached jumped on board.

Chaka Khan is a 10-time Grammy winner with 22 albums, and Michael McDonald has 5 Grammys and is known for recording with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. 

Lonesome Miles is the latest album by country-rock masters Root Cellar Xtract. The band’s mission is to continue the Laurel Canyon music tradition that gave us such artists as The Eagles, Pure Prairie League, Buffalo Springfield, Canned Heat, Jackson Browne and many more.

Lonesome Miles is a follow-up to their 2017 album Rear-View Mirror Eyes and clearly demonstrates the band’s fellowship as well as their individual virtuosity. It also provides an excellent compare-and-contrast reference for how the band has developed and grown over the past few years.

Arlington Memorial Gardens website

If you'd like to take your family out for an evening of music, you might want to pack up a picnic basket along with a blanket or folding chairs, and head to Arlington Memorial Gardens for their Second Sunday Summer Concert Series on June 9th (Forever Diamond), July 14th (2nd Wind), and August 11th (Blue Stone Ivory).  Concerts begin at 7pm.

Elaine Diehl spoke with Dan Applegate about the series in WVXU's studio on Tuesday, May 28th.  Their conversation included many of the details, like who'll be performing, parking, pet friendly, and a food truck will be there along plus many other topics.


This is Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra's 45th anniversary this year, and recently music director Eckart Preu spoke with Elaine Diehl about this summer's Summermusik Festival.  The festival runs from August 3rd - 24th at various locations around the city.  This series is sure to sell out, so if you're planning to attend any of the concerts, you might want to order your tickets soon.

Comprador: Important

May 21, 2019

Comprador’s third album Important is a surreal adventure that balances original music with both subtle and overt musical homages. The subject matter of the album ranges from the apocalyptic to the irrational. It is simultaneously a strange amalgam of solo compositions by Charles D'Ardenne and beautifully-intertwined guest appearances.

All the while, Important is loosely based on the exploration into “the abject horror of internet dating in 2018.”

I sat down with Charles D'Ardenne in the studio to talk about Important, the challenges of performing Comprador’s music in a live setting and why this is probably the last Comprador album we’ll see in Cincinnati for a good, long time.

In February 2017, award-winning composer, writer, vocalist and hip-hop performance artist, Napoleon Maddox (IsWhat?!), was commissioned by Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center to create a new work as part of their Black Box series.

The Devil Makes Three band, an Americana/bluegrass trio, is bringing their unique sound to Moonlite Gardens at Coney Island on Wednesday, May 15th at 8pm.  Elaine Diehl spoke with band member Pete Bernhard by phone from Vermont on May 7th.

Their conversation included what the live album recording process was like, their writing process, tour stops, their advice to young bands, plus much more.  The band's spring tour is in support of their recent release, Chains Are Broken, which according to their press release, "...debuted in the Top 10 Bluegrass Album Charts..."


Not many people would trust a tarot card reading they bought with a Groupon, but for a musician like Wonky Tonk, it just seems to resonate with that special part of who she is and where she finds herself on her journey.

A tireless performer and songwriter, Wonky Tonk is preparing to release her second full-length album, Lessons Not Lovers, this summer.

It took some relentless pursuit, but after a few years of trying, I was finally able to get her to sit still long enough to spend some time with me in the studio. As we sat down together, I wasn't sure where our conversation would go, and though I resisted asking about "being a girl in a band," it just naturally went in that direction. I found myself fascinated by her stories, her view on music, life, and everything.

Softstone Hearts describe their music as "Indie Pop Rock (with Lots of Cello.)"

Longtime friends Chase Jeffries and Lisa Newell started the band, which included Abby Depp to round out the vocal harmonies and provide keys and saxophone, in 2018. With the addition of Tom Harlan on drums and John Botter on bass, they gained not only a rhythm section, but additional tools for songwriting, recording and production.

When they went into Marble Garden studio to record their EP, String Or a Bow, they met up with CCM cello student Chris Park who quickly became a permanent member of the band.

Imagine that you have years of experience behind the bar at a club that celebrates uniquely-crafted cocktails. Add to that over 60 years of rock-n-roll and rhythm & blues history, a dash of funk, a twist of serendipity, garnish with spontaneity and serve super-cool.

Now you have the recipe for Rocktails - a new compendium of concoctions by local musicians Kristen Kreft (The Perfect Children) and Mayalou Banatwala (Heavy Hinges).

NXNS - North By Northside

Apr 25, 2019

50 musical acts at 7 venues over a 2-day period.

That is exactly what you can experience at the North By Northside festival --- happening this Memorial Day weekend.

The Sorg Opera House is hosting two concerts on Friday, April 26th and Saturday, April 27th.  Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials will be on stage at the Sorg Opera House Friday night, April 26th, beginning at 8pm.  Then, the next evening, Saturday, April 27th, the Blue Wisp Big Band take center stage for a special evening saluting Duke Ellington with music  also beginning at 8pm.  It's the 2nd Annual Duke Ellington Birthday Celebration and Fundraiser sponsored by Premier Health Atrium Medical Center.

Elaine Diehl and Jeff Johnson, board member of the Sorg Revitalization Group, discussed the history of the Sorg Opera House, improvements made since 2012, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming concerts.

Photo supplied by Carla Parisi

Singer/songwriter Nellie McKay is "a sly, articulate musician who sounds comfortable in any era" according to the New York Times.  She's bringing her solo show to the York Street Cafe on Thursday, April 18th at 8pm to promote her new album, "Sister Orchid."

Nellie spoke by phone from North Carolina to Elaine Diehl on March 28th.  During the conversation, she spoke about Bob Dorough, Geoff Emerick who was an engineer with the Beatles, and also about her new album.  McKay also said that she plays a number of instruments, but mostly piano and harmonica, and loves mallets.

"Sister Orchid" is her 7th album.  Nellie McKay's also performed on Broadway, on NPR programs, and on films.  Her music has been heard on many television programs like Mad Men, NCIS, and Boardwalk Empire.  And, she's also been recognized for her support of animal rights , civil rights, and feminism.

More than a tribute show, Hagfest is a musical celebration of country legend Merle Haggard who passed away on April 6th, 2016 at the age of 79.  Joe Macheret of The Tillers and Joe’s Truck Stop is the organizer with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Appalachian Prison Book Project.  Otis Williams who recorded at King Records will also be performing.  There'll be three stages of music beginning at 6pm, Saturday, April 6th, at Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky.   

Phratry

Mar 26, 2019

15 years ago, Jerry Dirr decided to start his own record label, Phratry Records,  in the bedroom of his home in Cincinnati.

When the label celebrated its 10th anniversary, Jerry partnered with director Shane Chaney with the intention of compiling video footage of the various Phratry bands into a documentary short film.

Five years and hours of film later, the completed feature-length film is finally ready for its premiere.

To learn more about the label, the film and the celebration, I spoke with Phratry Records founder Jerry Dirr as well as producers David Cornelius Matt Gray from Argo One Productions.

Chris Smither is one of those singer/songwriters who's been on the scene for fifty years and loves to keep bringing joy to his fans with his music.  Promoting his first album of originals in six years, Call Me Lucky, Smither will be bringing his tour to the 20th Century Theater in Oakley on Wednesday, April 10th.  Kevin Gordon will be opening for him.  Doors open at 7pm with music beginning at 8 o'clock.  

Elaine Diehl spoke with him by phone on March 19th about his new album, his tour of Ireland in January, and the fact that he's only playing 100 shows per year.  Smither also talks about the guitar he'll be playing at the 20th Century solo show, which songs he prepares for shows, and what he does in his time off.  Chris Smither also said that he grew up in New Orleans and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts now, but still makes red beans and rice once a week.

The Joe Policastro Trio is bringing their jazz sounds in support of their new release, Nothing Here Belongs, to Caffe Vivace on Friday, April 5th. 

During their conversation, Joe, who's a Cincinnati native, talks about some of the songs on the new cd, what the band's process is working up arrangements, and the chemistry of the band members.  Joe also talks about the club where they play regularly in Chicago, Pops in Champagne.

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