Building on History at Herzog Music

Herzog Music opens its doors and hosts a grand opening celebration this weekend complete with free live music from local artists, special guest speakers and performers, an open jam, tours of the original Herzog space and more.

Jul 19, 2017 at 11:54 am
click to enlarge The Tigerlilies play Herzog Music’s grand opening Saturday. - Photo:
The Tigerlilies play Herzog Music’s grand opening Saturday.

A new endeavor initiated by a collective of dedicated Greater Cincinnati music boosters comes alive this weekend, as Herzog Music opens its doors and hosts a grand opening celebration.

For the past seven years, the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation has been headquartered downtown on the second floor of the building at 811 Race St. (also home to CityBeat, among other tenants).  It was a good fit for the organization — between 1945 and 1955, the space was home to a recording studio opened by a WLW radio engineer named E.T. Herzog where several crucial records were made. The studio tracked everything from R&B to Bluegrass, resulting in seminal recordings by Bull Moose Jackson, Flatt & Scruggs and The Delmore Brothers, among others.

In 1948, music icon Hank Williams came to Cincinnati to record at Herzog for the first time, laying down (among other songs) his breakthrough hit, “Lovesick Blues.” He later returned to record classics like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Thanks to CMHF’s efforts, an official historical marker honoring Herzog’s groundbreaking efforts now sits in front of the Race Street building. The site (which features photos and memorabilia from the original Herzog era) has been visited by touring musicians like Patti Smith and Sufjan Stevens, and CMHF has hosted numerous events, programs, performances and sessions featuring local artists like Dallas Moore, Jeremy Pinnell and many others. 

With its most recent tenants, the six-story building will now be even more recognizable as an important musical landmark. Partnering with CMHF, the Herzog Music collective has taken over the building’s eye-catching first-floor storefront to not only keep a spotlight on Cincinnati’s musical contributions of the past, but also bolster the city’s current and next generations of musicians and music lovers. 

Described as a “new music collective and emporium designed to bring together the region’s music community and welcome visiting musicians to participate in our area’s rich and diverse music scene,” the members of the Herzog Music collaborative have brought together their various areas of expertise and interests to create a multifaceted gathering place/shop/education center unlike any other in Greater Cincinnati. 

Renowned for its vintage gear and instrument selection, as well as its repair work, Mike’s Music (which has shops in Corryville and Covington, Ky.) will offer a selection of new and used equipment and do repair work out of Herzog Music. For those wanting to start playing or buff up their skills, the new Queen City Music Academy — a partnership with Ludlow, Ky.’s Folk School Coffee Parlor — will have lessons and clinics at Herzog, covering a wide range of instrumental and genre preferences. The space also offers vintage stereo equipment, as well as stereo repair services, a big selection of used vinyl records and limited-edition posters and prints created exclusively by local graphic designer Keith Neltner, who also designed Herzog Music’s visual brand elements.

This Saturday and Sunday, Herzog Music officially opens with two days of free live music from local artists, as well as special guest speakers and performers, an open jam, tours of the original Herzog space, food from Eli’s BBQ (founder Elias Leisring is one on Herzog Music’s leading partners) and more. Saturday at 11 a.m., drummer Philip Paul (a Cincinnati legend who was a session player for King Records) will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Live music begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with performances by The HidersRicky Nye & Chris DouglasBrianna KellyTracy Walker and The Tigerlilies, who recorded the songs for their recent 7-inch single “Shipwrecked” in Herzog’s original second-floor studio spot. The music picks up again at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with sets throughout the day by J Dorsey BandChalk EyeAndrew HibbardAnimal Crackers and All-Seeing Eyes, whose 7-inch featuring a session recorded at Herzog in 2014 became the first vinyl release to come out of the new Herzog era. 

Sign up for Herzog Music’s mailing list at to be notified about events, classes and more. For up-to-the-minute information, visit

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]