American Roots Music Spectacular

The annual Rivertown Breakdown has been the finest showcase of local Roots music practitioners for nine years now. And the lineup for this year's event (Saturday at the Southgate House) once again provides a "Cincinnati Roots Music Scene 101" for America

The annual Rivertown Breakdown has been the finest showcase of local Roots music practitioners for nine years now. And the lineup for this year’s event — Saturday at the Southgate House — once again provides a “Cincinnati Roots Music Scene 101” for Americana fans who might not realize what a strong scene we have right here along the banks of the Ohio River. For those that are in the know, the Breakdown is a great chance to catch the best of the best all under one roof. The music ranges from Bluegrass and Folk to Jazz, Blues and beyond.

Over the past eight years, Rivertown Breakdown has served as a benefit for the ORSANCO’s River Sweep, a clean-up effort that scrubs the entire stretch of the Ohio. The concert event has raised over $20,000 for the Sweep in its eight years, but this year (with the River Sweep organizers’ blessing), proceeds will go to help restore the PA Denny River Education Center, a paddleboat/floating classroom that lets students study the river up close. After an inspection, it was found that the Denny would need close to a quarter million dollars’ worth of repairs. (Breakdown organizers are hoping to put at least a $5,000 dent in that bill.)

Music begins at 8 p.m. in the Southgate’s Ballroom with Rumpke Mountain Boys, followed by The Katie Laur Band, Magnolia Mountain, Queen City Zapatistas, Straw Boss and Jake Speed & the Freddies (pictured). An “all-star jam” is slated to close out the night in the Ballroom.

Music will also be featured on the Southgate’s other two stages. In the upstairs Parlour, catch Frontier Folk Nebraska, Shiny and the Spoon, Mt. Pleasant String Band, Lagniappe and The Faux Frenchmen. In the cozy Juney’s Lounge, Greg Schaber, Cincinnati Dancing Pigs, The Sidecars, Rubber Knife Gang and Marmalade Brigade are slated to perform.

Tickets are $15. For more information, go to

That’s What She Ced

Local Rock sextet Chakras formed in 2008 and almost immediately made an impression with its Goth/Alternative/Hard Rock/Metal audio conglomeration. The band scored Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominations in both of its years of existence, and their energized live shows have helped it build a local and regional name for itself.

On Friday, the band celebrates the release of its first long-player, Cedric. (The album was named in honor of guitarist Bill Menke’s young son, who has been battling a brain tumor, from which he's still recovering.) The release party will also feature performances from local group Mad Anthony, Cleveland’s Mr. Gnome and Nashville’s Straw Factory.

With the high-soaring vocals of Andrea Simler-DeGolier, songs about everything from religion to S&M, the creative, metallic guitar work brought by Menke and Mark Szabo, eerie/airy cello by Patrice and a punishing, tight rhythm section (bassist Jeff Conner and drummer Steve Kolonski), Chakras’ sound is dark, emotional and moody but also accessible and highly melodic (the group is already getting radio play around the country with the album). An easy comparison is Evanescence (thanks mostly to the band’s big, sweeping choruses), but you’ll hear tons more of the members’ varied influences (Alice in Chains, White Stripes, Heart and more) between the grooves. Overall, Cedric is a solid Alt/Hard Rock album that seems primed for even more radio exposure if it gets into the right hands.

Chakras will be featured on Fox 19’s morning show Friday doing an acoustic version of its song “Split Lip.” Get more details and hear music at

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]

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