Monty shoutOUT :: tenth ed :: 8.5.11. Is this email not displaying correctly? View email in browser.
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Sept. 22–24, 2011

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Monty says ... WHAM!

Hello dear readers! Hard to believe, but this is the TENTH edition of the Monty shoutOUT! We've explored some pretty awesome pieces of Cincinnati's musical history,and I've got even more in store for the coming weeks. Today I'll be taking you back to the 1950's again, as we take a closer look at another record label that called the Queen City home. 

As you will recall from the second edition of the shoutOUT, King Records was the leading label behemoth in Cincinnati. But a smaller label also existed in the same era: Fraternity Records, founded by Harry Carlson in 1954. A former musician with industry ties, Carlson took a different approach to getting artists heard. Operating out of the Sheraton Gibson hotel (now the Westin Hotel in downtown Cincinnati) instead of in a contained atmosphere like King Records, Carlson sent artists to record at independent studios, the records were sent back to Carlson to adjust and then RCA handled the national distribution. 

Fraternity Records was DIY before it was cool and the process yielded quite a few gems. 1959 saw Bobby Bare's single, "All-American Boy", hit the number one spot on charts in the U.S. Famed big-band leader and acclaimed jazz multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Dorsey also landed a number one hit with "So Rare" in 1957 and pop singer Cathy Carr's rendition of "Ivory Tower" brought her a #2 hit in 1956. 


Perhaps the most prolific of all artists associated with Fraternity Records is Lonnie Mack, a renowned rock, blues and country guitarist from southeastern Indiana. Mack engineered a fresh spin on electric guitar, melding his bluesy sound with fast-picking styling and rock-and-roll sensibilities. In 1963, Mack brought the country the hit "Wham!", an instrumental piece that helped start the revolution of the sound of electric guitar rock. "Memphis" was also released by Fraternity in 1963, establishing Mack's place as a preeminent rock and roll guitarist. The guitar would never be the same after Mack's pioneering. Stevie Ray Vaughan, another influential electric blues guitarist, called Mack his mentor. Mack's legacy remains to this day, evidenced by comfortable use of the tremolo (whammy) bar in today's music.

So the next time you find yourself wandering past a blues-rock bar and hear the wail of the electric guitar in the middle of a sweet solo, recall this bit of history and smile that Cincinnati yet again made an indelible mark on music.


MidPoint Indie Summer Series :: August 5

 9:30pm :: These United States

As much as I love telling stories of America-lore and anecdotes, I enjoy listening to These United States put it their way much more.  A group from Washington, D.C. and Lexington, KY, these gentlemen meld plaintive harmonies, alt-country rhythms and driving energy to create music that will draw you in for one reason and make you stay for another. To the band's great advantage, lead singer Jesse Elliot has a voice that is simultaneously familiar and unique, weaving tales of Americana, history and fables that are fresh and intriguing. When the movie of my life is finally produced (tentative release date is set for 2013!), I want these boys to provide the soundtrack.   

8:15pm :: The Ready Stance

On the count of three... describe how this Cincinnati-based quartet makes you feel. I'll tell you how I feel. I feel like it's sunny and I'm sitting on the deck of my riverboat, staring out at the expanse of blue Ohio sky, getting lifted by the classic rock and slight twang of these earnest boys. One minute their sound is directed by a 1990's rock-sensibility with steady bass lines and stripped down guitars, the next it's led to a timeless, raucous state with fervent drumming and complementary vocals. The band has roots in the college-rock scene in Cincinnati and I can tell they learned some good lessons. Stick to the basics, dress up when necessary and wear it all with confidence. Now off you go!

7:00pm :: The Ridges

Acoustic folk-rock with classical undertones. Not quite the typical sound bite used to describe many bands, certainly not one that is always executed successfully. But in The Ridges, I have found the exception to that rule. A three-piece from Athens, Ohio, these two guys and a girl are haunting, dreamy and absorbing. Romantic, intelligent vocal interplay between lead singer Victor Rasgaitis and his fellow bandmates, along with focused musicality and sprinkled intermittently with quirky improvisation (including guest performers at live shows) give this band an edge in not only their own genre but a variety, as they transcend and transform typical boundaries. Swelling buildups with a playful nod and underlying melancholic leaning make these guys one to watch. Kudos!



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