Cincinnati Americana trio The Part-Time Gentlemen celebrate the release of their debut album, Whiskey on My Breath, Sunday afternoon with a 3 p.m. show at Arnold’s Bar and Grill (210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com). The event runs until 7 p.m. and also includes performances by Dead Man String Band and Casey Campbell of Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle. Admission is $10 and includes a copy of the new album on CD.
The Part-Time Gentlemen came together in 2012 on Cincinnati’s West Side. Lead singer/guitarist T.J. Male and banjo/ukulele player Nick Sansone had been playing together since high school. At a “picking party” jam session, a mutual friend introduced the pair to upright bassist Jonathan Doll, an instant chemistry was felt and The Part-Time Gentlemen were born, honing their “old-timey” sound in clubs across Greater Cincinnati over the next few years.
The trio’s 10-track debut is a mix of traditional songs and originals, and features special guests like Campbell (percussion), John Victor (harmonica), Suzanna Barnes (fiddle), Andrew McPheters (mandolin) and James Funk (guitar). The band puts a lively spin on traditional numbers like “This Train is Bound for Glory” and “Salty Dog”; while the tracks are peppered with light percussion, it’s the trio’s stringed instruments that really energize and drive the rhythm of the tracks. The band’s take on “Little Maggie” is an album highlight, as the track builds into a dark, blustery blend of fiddle, guitar, harmonica and mandolin. “Little Liza Jane” closes the album on another high note, providing a sparsely arranged sing-along with sky-reaching group vocals and harmonies giving it an almost Gospel-like vibe.
It’s a testament to the group’s writing abilities and understanding of the source material that the handful of original tracks aren’t all that discernible from the tunes plucked from American Roots music’s traditional songbook. All three members contribute original songs to the collection. Male’s “God’s Golden Shore” is a beautiful swaying ballad, while his “Rosa Lee” is a rollicking and well-crafted Folk gem. Doll offers “Sunflowers,” a tender, sparkling love song, and Sansone provides the album’s title/lead-off track, a barn-burning sinner’s lament that rumbles on percolating banjo riffing and shuffling guitar and percussion.
Greater Cincinnati’s rich Roots music scene is overflowing with incredible talent right now and Whiskey on My Breath, as well as their adrenalized live performances, prove that The Part-Time Gentlemen are among the best the area has to offer. (parttimegents.com)
More Local Notes
• Organizers of the Buckeye BBQ Fest have again teamed up with the Cincy Blues Society to book a handful of the area’s finest Blues acts to perform at this weekend’s event. The Buckeye BBQ Fest starts at 5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday, and takes place at The Square at Union Centre (9285 Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester).
Cheryl Renee and Tempted Souls perform Friday, while Stacy Mitchhart headlines at 8:45 p.m. The acclaimed singer/guitarist Mitchhart is a Cincinnati native who was one of the top local Blues acts of the early ’90s before relocating to Nashville, Tenn. Saturday’s lineup includes Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project, Leroy Ellington Blues Band, The SoulFixers, Ricky Nye Inc. and headliner Noah Wotherspoon and his band.
Admission is $5 each day (children younger than 12 get in free). Find complete info at buckeyebbqfest.org.
• Walk the Moon has become part of a rare group of Cincinnati-based musical acts to have a single reach the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The band’s “Shut Up and Dance” has been certified platinum (meaning it has sold over a million copies) and, at press time, sits at No. 5 on the chart. The song’s chart-climb may not be over just yet; following a largely sold-out U.S. tour, Walk the Moon performed on the May 12 episode of NBC’s popular singing competition The Voice.
Following a string of sold out dates in the U.K. later this month, Walk the Moon returns to Cincinnati to play the Bunbury Music Festival. The band is slated to appear at the festival on June 5 at 7:30 p.m. on the Yeatman’s Cove Stage. Three-day passes for Bunbury have sold out, but single-day tickets are still available. Visit bunburyfestival.com for details.