Sunday at 7 p.m., WVXU's local arts and culture program, Around Cincinnati, airs a two-hour holiday special that's sprinkled with plenty of holiday flavor (and, perhaps, nutmeg). Instead of culling the standard "White Christmas"/"Dogs Barking 'Jingle Bells' " tunes for the show, producers gathered an impressive lineup of local musicians to record songs in the station's studios. Artists like Over the Rhine, Chris Dunnett, psychodots, Ricky Nye, Bob Lotz, the Phil DeGreg Trio, the Steve Schmidt Trio, Greg Schaber, Katie Reider and the Faux Frenchmen cut fresh holiday chestnuts for the show, while Raison D'Etre, Jake Speed and the Freddies, Ekimi, Ed Cunningham, Vocal Arts Ensemble, Cincinnati Men's Chorus and the Adagio Trio provided previously-released cuts. Several of the musicians also recorded interviews, which have been used in the Around Cincinnati programs leading up to the holidays. The show also presents several theatrical and spoken word pieces, including Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell's reading of "The Night Before Christmas" and an original story from Raison D'Etre singer Roberta Schultz. The station's Web site, wvxu.org, has a special page set up in conjunction with the program, with photos from the recording sessions and other bonus features.
More Musical Holidaze
· Jazz pianist Steve Schmidt brings his annual "Christmas Spectacular" back to The Comet in Northside for a two-night stand, Wednesday and Thursday. Now in its ninth year, the holiday extravaganza features Schmidt's "Organ Trio," with Schmidt on Hammond organ, Scott Burns on sax, Marc Wolfley on drums and Eugene Goss on the mic. The shows start at 8:30 p.m. and are free.
· Recalling the glory days when the Afghan Whigs would play annually on Christmas night, the Mad Hatter in Covington presents two of Cincinnati's biggest and best Rock bands Sunday.
The Greenhornes and Thee Shams perform at the club for a benefit for the Ruth Lyons Christmas Fund. V2 Records recently released the Greenhornes career retrospective, Sewed Soles, featuring tracks from the band's various indie releases, and it was just announced that the much ballyhooed debut album by The Raconteurs, featuring Jack White, Brendan Benson and Greenhornes' bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler, is to be released in May, with a tour to follow. The Christmas night show is open to fans 18 years old and up.
· Gifted local singer/songwriter Eric Diedrichs will be pulling double-duty Friday night at the Southgate House in Newport. His band Cari Clara hasn't been active much lately, since his new duties as the guitarist for MOTH have kept him busy on the road. Friday, both bands perform, joined on a solid bill by 500 Miles to Memphis, Dayton's Captain of Industry and Lexington's Parlour Boys.
· Local Indie Pop greats The Fairmount Girls present their ninth annual "Christmas Bizarre" on Friday at The Comet. Besides The Girls, Campfire Crush and Meadoe perform and DJ BevRage will be spinning between sets. The free event also features the Fairmount Girls' "Bake Sale" (with treats concocted by the band), a "quiz show" segment, where audience members can win Christmas gifts from the various band members, and the promise of an appearance from "Black Santa," the "under-represented and elusive" jolly ol' elf who will be on hand to gather and spread holiday wishes and spirit. Showtime is 9 p.m.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com