Masterful Cincinnati Boogie Woogie piano stylist Ricky Nye is much loved in his hometown. In CityBeat's Best of Cincinnati issue this year, readers voted Nye "Best Local Musician," which he also won last year. And there's a pretty good chance he has more Cincinnati Entertainment Awards and CAMMY awards (the old Enquirer program) than any other musician in the area.
All year, Nye (who founded the internationally-flavored Blues and Boogie Summit concerts, which took a break in 2012 but may make a comeback soon) performs about four nights a week in area clubs, bars and restaurants, his ace chops and entertaining performances helping to woo Cincinnati into loving him. (He's also a super-nice guy, so that probably helps too.)
But Nye has also been working on earning love (and spreading the good word of Boogie Woogie Blues) elsewhere. Nye travels to Europe (which has a larger fan base for his particular brand of Blues) annually to perform numerous shows, particularly in France (this past fall, Nye also played a few shows in Switzerland along with his French itinerary). During one previous visit, Nye snatched up a trio of French musicians with whom to play and record, christening the group Ricky Nye and the Paris Blues Band.
Besides during Nye's visits overseas, the Paris Blues Band has also recorded albums with Nye, including 2008's superb Ville Du Bois, a self-titled release from 2011 and last year's Jump Steady, which came out at the same time as France's Fabrice Eulry & The Rolling Twisters' Twistin' At Ray's, which Nye co-produced in Cincy, and the annual Blues and Boogie Summit highlight compilation album recorded at the 13th annual event in 2011.
This visit, the band will be performing to promote their latest recording, Singing in My Soul, by Oxford, Ohio, singer Lisa Biales and featuring Nye and the PBB on backing. The album is a mix of Blues, Gospel, Roots and Pop, featuring covers of songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Sippie Wallace, Peggy Lee, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and others. Click here to read more and to purchase the release.
For the past few years, Nye has been bringing his Paris Blues Band — Thibaut Chopin (upright bass), Simon Boyer (drums) and Anthony Stelmaszack (guitar). — to the Cincinnati area to do a handful of shows. Since last Friday, Ricky Nye and the Paris Blues Band (usually with Biales singing) have been touring the heck out of the region, playing Rabbit Hash, Ky., and Oxford, Ohio, and also doing an episode of Northern Kentucky radio station WNKU's "Studio 89," where the band played and was interviewed live on the air.
Tonight, the "tour" picks up at Chez Nora in Covington's Main Strasse district. Nye and the Paris Blues Band play at 7:30 p.m. and there is no admission charge. Tomorrow (Thursday), Nye and Co. head back to Oxford for a performance at the Oxford Community Arts Center (showtime is 8 p.m., tickets are $10 and it's BYOB), then set off for Worthington, Ohio, for a Friday show at Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza and Concert House.
Nye and his French pals close out the mini-tour on Saturday with a sold-out show at the Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center in Covington, Ky.