Ricky Skaggs has headlined music festivals and sold millions of records. This Saturday, May 14, the country and bluegrass musician will be performing to about 160 people at the Ludlow Garage. The person who Chet Atkins credited with single-handedly saving country music and who, after he returned to his bluegrass roots, helped spark a revival that is still flowering today, seldom plays such small venues. Musicians enjoy these small shows as much as the audience does, as it’s a rare opportunity to get up close and personal. There are two shows on Saturday—one at 7:15, the other at 10:15—for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with special guests Hoot & Holler. If you haven’t been to Live at the Ludlow Garage yet, this would be a great excuse to check it out, and if you have been to the Garage, you know that you can count on good sound, an intimate concert experience, and food and drinks before or after the show. Throw some smoking bluegrass into the mix and you have what should be a great evening! Here’s Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder performing “Get Up John”:
Live at the Ludlow Garage is now running full steam, with concerts every week from national performers in an intimate setting. As the crowds last night (see below) made clear, the Ludlow Garage is also a great place to eat a modestly-priced meal, have a drink, and experience the ambiance of the street in a unique way now that, with the warm weather, the doors have opened. Regarding the drinking part…well, Ludlow Garage recently revealed the details of its happy hour. From 4 to 6pm it offers:
Tuesdays through Fridays – 1/2 off on appetizers
Tuesdays – $2 off any draft beer
Wednesdays – $2 off glasses of selected red & white wines
Thursdays – $5 martinis
Fridays – $2 off house cocktails
Invariably beer lovers will wonder what kind of beer Ludlow Garage on tap, and for that reason I took a photo last night. Note, on the right, that Stella Artois is now part of their arsenal, along with Guiness way on the left and various craft beers in between.
And don’t overlook the cocktail specials on Thursdays and Fridays. Although I’ve sipped a couple cocktails at the Ludlow Garage, this warrants some in-depth investigative journalism; I’ll take careful notes in case I forget something.
The next time you’re playing the music edition of Trivial Pursuit, prepare yourself for this question: What member of Blood, Sweat & Tears collaborated with musicians from the Velvet Underground?
The answer is Steve Katz, who will be performing at Live at the Ludlow Garage on Saturday, April 9. If you sift through his discography you’ll find a sweet spot where it seemed like all he could do was contribute to classic albums.
After leaving the Blues Project, Katz was the guitarist (and sometimes vocalist and songwriter) for the early jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears. Their first album, Child is Father to the Man, impressed the critics while their eponymous second album was a commercial success and then some.
About the time BS&T was losing steam Katz collaborated with Lou Reed, producing Reed’s great live album Rock ’N’ Roll Animal and the studio follow-up Sally Can’t Dance. Suddenly Lou Reed was a commercial success instead of a genius who deserved a larger audience.
In the 70s Katz also formed the band American Flyer with Doug Yule from a later incarnation of the Velvet Underground.
More evidence that Katz had a habit of being in the right place at the right time: he also performed at the two most famous music festivals from the 1960s, Monterey Pop (as part of the Blues Project) and Woodstock (with BS&T).
On April 9 Katz will be performing in a venue that’s much more intimate but that also has a rich history, the Ludlow Garage. It’s a good bet that you know some of the songs Katz has either played on or produced, and if you’re familiar with the second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears—the really famous one, that sold millions of copies and won three Grammy Awards—then you’ve heard this song that Katz wrote and sang, complete with a haunting melody, melancholy lyrics, and luscious harmonies:
In spite of the fact that when I walk in there Motr Pub is often packed, I still run into people who have no idea that it exists, so let’s start at the beginning: Motr Pub is a new bar (it opened in September 2010) located at 1345 Main Street in Over the Rhine, and it’s a great place to hear local, regional and national bands. The cover is zero dollars, but I suspect they make a buck or two with their great (and changing) selection of draft and bottle beers, other liquids as well as a menu that includes their much-loved Motr Burgers. The artists I’ve seen perform there include Akron/Family and Richard Buckner, and I feel fortunate to be able to drive just a couple miles to see artists of that stature. Continue reading “Jim Tarbell at Motr Pub”