· This Saturday, local faves Over the Rhine return to downtown's Taft Theatre for their annual hometown Christmas concert, something they've been doing since 1994. Continuing their trend of having great nationally known performers open these shows, OTR is joined by Mary Gauthier for the 8 p.m. concert (see Sound Advice, page 40). They have a CD's worth of new material to play — a decade after their first Christmas CD, The Darkest Night of the Year, the band recently released Snow Angels, a collection of 11 original, holiday-themed songs. Die-hard fans will have a couple of opportunities to get close to the band this weekend. Radio station WNKU (89.7 FM) has been a sponsor of the event since its inception and this year, the station is giving fans a chance to meet the band and have dinner before Saturday's show. A ticket for the meet-and-eat-and-greet (which also includes a center floor seat for the performance) is available if you donate $90 to the station. Find out more at wnku.org. The band is also offering fans a special "Christmas Package" deal through its Web site, which includes admittance to their exclusive fan club show this Sunday at 3 p.m. at St. Elizabeth's in Norwood. For that show, Linford Detweiler performs a spoken word/solo piano set and then he and Karin Bergquist play acoustically, followed by a Q&A session. Those purchasing the Christmas Package also receive a signed copy of Live From Nowhere Volume Two, a limited edition CD that is also available for separate purchase at their site.
· Besides dropping a vast array of cool, clever cover tunes into their live sets, Cincinnati's late, great Afghan Whigs were a part of some big-time tribute albums in their time, including homages to Big Star and The Clash. The tables will be turned next year when Summerskiss Records launches with the first Whigs tribute album. The label is an offshoot of the fantastic ultimate Whigs fan site, summerskiss.com, which is a great source for everything related to Greg Dulli and Co., including frequent updates about the band members' current projects. The roster of artists participating in the tribute has yet to be announced (the site says it's a mix of established acts and up-and-comers), but the label is currently running a contest on its MySpace site (myspace.com/summerskiss) where you can win a copy of the disc if you can guess all 38 songs included in a snippet collage of covers posted at the site (not all of the tracks in the collage are included on the CD). We'll give you one tip local band Wussy has posted their submission, a raucous, harmony-laden version of "Retarded" from the Whigs' SubPop debut, Up In It, on their MySpace (myspace.com/therealwussy). It's not the first time Wussy's Chuck Cleaver has paid tribute to the Whigs Cleaver's Ass Ponys tackled "You My Flower" (also from Up In It) on a 1990 split 7-inch single (the Whigs provided a version of the Ponys' "Mr. Superlove" for the flip side). For more on the forthcoming Whigs project, go to summerskissrecords.com.
· Larry Goshorn (now known for his work with The Goshorn Brothers) is reuniting his popular late '60s band Sacred Mushroom for a benefit show at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley this Sunday. The Goshorn Brothers, Noah Hunt, The Bluebirds and several others also perform. The show is a benefit for ailing Mushroom guitarist Fred Fogwell. Showtime is 7 p.m. and there is a suggested donation of $10 per person. (goshornbrothersmusic.com)
· Saturday, local band Hekura is also reuniting for a show at Top Cat's. Band members now live in different parts of the country, so this holiday homecoming show is a rarity. The group is joined by like-minded locals Banderas, Lost Hands Found Fingers and Horns to the Heavens. Showtime is 9 p.m.
· You (technically) can't smoke in local bars anymore, but Saturday at Fat Bob's in Lebanon, you can get a Lucky Strike fix. "Old school R&B" six-piece Lucky Strike (featuring horn players from the Metro City All Stars) is hosting a CD release party in celebration of its debut album.
· As if hard-working local acoustic artist Bob Cushing didn't have enough to do, he recently added "radio DJ" to his résumé. Cushing debuted a two-hour local music show on the new radio station WMWF (88.9 FM) in early November. Cushing spins local bands every Monday night on "ClassX Radio" from 8 until 10 p.m. The independent, non-profit station is low wattage, but you can listen online at classxradio.com. Artists looking for airplay on the show can send CDs to Bob Cushing, 464 Morrvue Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 45238.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com