Kelly Richey Band Gets Down at the Wisp

Plus, Shoot Out the Light issues new album, Jeremy Pinnell previews his solo debut and Ray's Music Exchange reunites

Mar 12, 2014 at 9:19 am
click to enlarge Kelly Richey Band's 'Live at the Blue Wisp'
Kelly Richey Band's 'Live at the Blue Wisp'

Though veteran Cincinnati Blues/Rock guitarist/singer/songwriter Kelly Richey has put out some solid studio albums in her 20 years of releasing music, seeing her live is where jaws are dropped. That’s probably why Richey’s discography includes five live albums and a live DVD. This week, The Kelly Richey Band celebrates yet another live collection, this one recorded recently at downtown’s Blue Wisp Jazz Club (700 Race St., Downtown, 513-241-9477, Fittingly, the release party for the new Live at the Blue Wisp album is at the Blue Wisp this Saturday. Showtime is 8 p.m. and admission is $10.

The album is a great showcase for Richey’s current band. Drummer Big Bamm and bassist Freekbass (who has his own celebrated eponymous band) come from a Funk background and their mark on Richey’s soulful, gritty Blues/Rock tunes is prominent, giving the songs their huge grooves and transforming the sound into a unique brand of Blues Funk. After touring together constantly since last summer, the band’s chemistry continues to grow and Live at the Blue Wisp documents that spectacularly. Instead of playing hired guns and simply adapting to Richey’s style, both musicians inject their own groovy personalities into the mix.

Produced by Freekbass cohort and core Animal Crackers member Tobe Donohue (who also provides dashes of turntablism on three of the album’s tracks), Live at the Blue Wisp features nine songs from Richey’s 2013 album, Sweet Spirit, but these versions are bigger, livelier and often expanded into epic jams. (

More New Local Release News

• Excellent rootsy rockers Shoot Out the Lights return to physical and digital record shelves this week with their new album, Let’s Get Lost, the follow-up to the band’s self-titled 2011 debut. This Friday, the group hosts a release party at Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-3603, The band will be joined by Alone at 3AM and Wonky Tonk and the Holiday Rambles. The free show kicks off at 9 p.m.

Though there is Roots Rock running through Shoot Out the Lights’ blood, the five-piece should also appeal to fans of heartland rockers like Bruce Springsteen and his disciples (like Gaslight Anthem). You can get a sneak peek of Let’s Get Lost at (or by just clicking the player below); the band is offering a free download of the superb title track.

Shoot Out the Lights plans to tour regionally behind the new release and in June the group will be the “Artist in Residency” at Newport’s Southgate House Revival (, playing free shows every Wednesday of the month in the venue’s Lounge. (

Jeremy Pinnell proved himself to be one of the region’s best songwriters with projects like the Indie Folk Rock band The Light Wires and the acoustic duo The Great Depression. Pinnell’s most recent project, Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s, is one of his most active and enduring yet, performing frequently around the area and scoring the most recent Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Country music. With the current band, Pinnell moved more toward a Country/Honky Tonk approach, but regardless of the genre, it’s his riveting songwriting that leaves listeners in awe, the bleeding raw emotion dripping from his mesmerizing voice.    

On March 21, Pinnell will celebrate the release of his 10-track solo album, OH/KY, at MOTR Pub, but fans can get an early listen this Saturday at Shake It Records (4156 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-591-0123, Pinnell and the 55’s will perform at 7 p.m. (part of a series of in-store performances this month in honor of Shake It’s 15th anniversary), then there will be a listening party for the new release at 8 p.m. (

The Return of Ray’s

In the late ’90s/early ’00s, Ray’s Music Exchange was one of the more popular bands in Cincinnati, as well as one of the more adventurous, versatile and progressive. Each member of brought a unique ingredient, resulting in a distinctive Jazz/Funk/Rock/Jam sound that knew few boundaries. The band had regular line-up turnover, but used it to their advantage, seamlessly adapting to the new elements each new player brought to the table.

The group — also a popular touring act that released a trio of well-received albums — called it quits in the mid-’00s, as each of the gifted members went on to new projects. Steve Kortyka, for example, works in New York City who has regularly performed with Lady Gaga, while trumpeter Michael Mavridoglou played with Jazz Mandolin Project (he current arranges horns for Jam faves Umphrey’s McGee) and keyboardist Paul Hogan (also now in NYC) is a successful jingle writer.

The members have occasionally found time for hometown reunion shows, which have been incredibly well attended. This Saturday, the band reunites for a third time at the Southgate House Revival (111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., The Cincy Brass and Steve Schmidt Organ Trio open the 9 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 in advance through or $17 at the door.

CONTACT MIKE BREEN : [email protected] or @CityBeatMusic .