New to America, and Living in Cincinnati?

Many of Gaslight Property’s tenants (and prospective tenants) are international, and some are new to America, with Cincinnati being the first city they live in. One of the things that people from overseas quickly learn is that the image of America they receive from thousands of miles away isn’t necessarily reality. Here I’m reminded of a story I heard once from an American who stayed with a family overseas. At dinner on one of the first nights the mother, who had never been to America, told her family that in America if someone’s car broke down they simply left it there and then went to car dealership to buy a new car.

It’s not that simple, and a lot aren’t simple for people who have just moved to America. Because of that, a webpage has been created that you should know about that could make the transition easier. Basically it’s a down-to-earth, nuts and bolts webpage with lots of information about getting started. It tells what you should expect to pay for certain things; it tells you about social security cards and other work-related matters; public transportation and the social scene are among the other matters that are addressed. Continue reading “New to America, and Living in Cincinnati?”

Catching Up With Bassist Chris Dahlgren


When I first saw jazz bassist Chris Dahlgren perform both of us were living in Cincinnati. He was clearly quite versatile, working in numerous settings and in different genres, although I always thought of him as a jazz musician first and foremost.  I saw Chris perform several times back then and heard about many of the projects mentioned in this interview, but until he listed some of them in his email responses to these questions it never really struck me how much of an impact he had on the music and overall artistic scene while he lived in Cincinnati.

Not surprisingly, he moved on, first to NYC and now Berlin. Since Chris left I’d occasionally hear about projects that he was involved with; for example, I knew he was working with Gebhard Ullmann and Anthony Braxton. When I ran across the CD Mystic Maze by Chris Dahlgren & Lexicon in a record store, however, I had no idea what it would sound like—and now that I’ve heard this strikingly original work, I’m not sure that knowing his entire oeuvre prior to that release would have prepared me for Mystic Maze. With a quintet that includes saxophonist and bass clarinetist Gebhard Ullmann, Dahlgren (while playing the bass) recites some highly vitriolic criticism directed at Bela Bartok when he was considered by many people as the enfant terrible of classical music. Spoken word recitations + jazz can be a dry affair, but Mystic Maze is actually quite entertaining; it’s odd how funny it is at the same that it helps prove what dummies critics can be. After hearing Mystic Maze, which is available on the German label jazzwerkstatt, I tracked Chris down and asked him if he’d be interested in answering some questions—and here are his responses. Continue reading “Catching Up With Bassist Chris Dahlgren”

Blues Merchants Return with Tattoed with the Blues

Blues music is tricky. We’ve all been to shows where blues artists tear through a set like nobody’s business, yet when you get home and listen to their albums their recordings don’t do them justice. Somehow the energy that comes through when a fired-up audience is on hand up just doesn’t translate to the studio.

That problem does not apply, however, to the new Blues Merchants album, Tattoed with the Blues. A five-piece Cincinnati band. the Blues Merchants formed in 2006. Tattoed is their second full-length release, and it’s clear that the excitement of their live shows also comes through on their studio recordings. The band is tight but not slick, and although the sound is polished, it still has a live-in-the-studio feel. For this we have to give some credit to Ron Esposito, who produced the record and who also, along with Bill Gwynne, helped mix it.

Something else that stands out on the record is the songwriting, which is primarily split between guitarist Chris Kepes and keyboardist Bob Nave. You may have heard Bob on the radio (WNOP and WVXU, among others), and you may have heard him in other local bands, including the Lemon Pipers, whose “Green Tambourine” was a #1 single in 1968; they also performed at Ludlow Garage. Bob slips in some nice keyboard licks on the record, and Chris Kepes is a versatile guitarist whose slide work bears special mention. Continue reading “Blues Merchants Return with Tattoed with the Blues”

Purity Ring at Mayday This Saturday

When I was growing up my mother always told me if you can plug two things in a blog entry that’s better than one, and three’s even better, and today I get a chance to do that. The dream pop duo Purity Ring is coming to Mayday at 4227 Spring Grove Avenue in Northside this Saturday, August 25. Purity Ring is on the 4AD label, whose recording artists also include The National, St. Vincent and Bon Iver. Tickets for Purity Ring are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the show. Mayday hosts some interesting shows that come and go very quietly, so I encourage you to keep checking their website, Continue reading “Purity Ring at Mayday This Saturday”

Another Part of the Forest, A Record Store in Cincinnati

Another Part of the Forest is a record store located at 1333 Main Street in Over the Rhine. It’s hard to tell, with all the artwork in the windows – and with the very un-record store like name – that it is what it is, but upon entering the front door you will realize that you have entered a room where massive quantities of vinyl are for sale.

There are other stores in Cincinnati that sell vinyl, and lots of it sometimes, but I doubt that the ratio of vinyl vs. everything else in the store is anything like it is here. The owner, Michael Markiewicz – you may remember him from Kaldi’s – estimates that there are about 20,000 LPs between the first floor and the basement; there’e also a few thousand 45s.  So while there are DVDs for sale and rental, and books and magazines and CDs, the reason  people’s jaws drop when they enter the store is the staggering amount of vinyl. It’s a little out of control – and some days more than a little – but vinyl lovers like things a little messy. Continue reading “Another Part of the Forest, A Record Store in Cincinnati”

Did You Know About This Recording Studio?

I dropped by to see my friend Lou Lausche the other day. Along with being a bass player who’s been involved in countless jazz sessions in Cincinnati and elsewhere, Lou also, it turns out, has a recording studio names Lausche Recording Studios on Winton Road. It’s interesting just how much much memorable music has been recorded there, yet none of the Cincinnati musicians I’ve talked to so far even know it exists.

Partly that’s because the recording studio is a labor of love that’s more an offshoot of his musical interests than a full-blown commercial enterprise. That said, Lou is open for business, so here’s a couple facts: the address is 9326 Winton Road, and his phone number is 513.521.0015. Continue reading “Did You Know About This Recording Studio?”

On The Road: The World’s Longest Yard Sale

It used to be that I would hit the occasional yard sale and buy the occasional record,  which is why a couple of my walls consist of nothing buy vinyl. Recently, though, this new thing came along called the mp3 that’s invisible yet still makes sound, and I kind of see myself transitioning over to that side of things here in the near future. And the thing is, you can’t buy an mp3 at a yard sale. So when the biggest yard sale in the whole wide world came to my attention this year, I figured, why bother? I have one of those ipod thingies (actually I don’t, but I could borrow one, probably), and rather than listen to Electric Ladyland on a real stereo I could check it out on like some two-inch speakers, so as to get with the times and find out just how bad great music can sound if you allow it to. Continue reading “On The Road: The World’s Longest Yard Sale”

Ralph Peterson Fo’Tet at the Thompson House Friday Night

This Friday, August 10 a jazz heavyweight is bringing a quartet–excuse, me Fo’Tet–excuse me again, Fo’Tet with a special guest artist–to the Thompson House (i.e., what used to be called the Southgate House). The show’s from 8 pm to 11 pm, and the heavyweight of whom I speak is Ralph Peterson, a drummer who by the time he put out his first record as a leader had already collaborated with some of the baddest dudes around, Walter Davis, David Murray and Branford Marsalis among them. Tickets are twenty bucks at the door. Continue reading “Ralph Peterson Fo’Tet at the Thompson House Friday Night”

Cincy Blues Fest Returns This Week

Cincy Blues Fest returns this week with music Friday, August 10 from 5 pm to midnight and Saturday and Saturday 4 pm to midnight. The Blues Fest takes place at Sawyer Point Park, near Yeatman’s Cove and the I-471 bridge, with parking in nearby lots. The stages will include a Local Stage, the Main Stage, a Showcase Stage for up-and-coming talent, and the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame Piano Stage; that’s the place where, at 11:50 pm, the grand finale jam will take place. It you get there about fifty minutes before that you will have an extremely rare opportunity to see a French pianist by the name of Fabrice Eulry, who is one of the few artists out there who has collaborated with saxophonist Big Jay MacNeely and this dude from an old Detroit band named the Stooges: Continue reading “Cincy Blues Fest Returns This Week”

Cello Prog Pop at Sitwell’s Tonight

At 9 pm tonight (Monday, August 6) cellist, vocalist and songwriter Ian Cooke will be performing what has been billed as cello prog pop at Sitwell’s Coffeehouse on Ludlow Avenue. Based in Denver, Ian is gigging around the country, and here we have yet another itinerant musician who somehow discovered that because it’s centrally located and supports interesting music Sitwell’s is a great venue to approach for a gig while you’re roaming the country. Ian has a few full-length releases under his belt, and here’s hoping he brings the vinyl for his most recent effort, Fortitude, which is both a nice-looking and nice-sounding  new release. Continue reading “Cello Prog Pop at Sitwell’s Tonight”