Walter Tunis: Cincinnati's Ohio River Throwdown is one last music blast of summer

Contributing Music WriterSeptember 12, 2013 


Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, center, are the musical power couple at the core of Tedeschi Trucks Band.

MARK SELIGER — Courtesy of the artist

Ohio River Throwdown

12:45 p.m. Sept. 14 at Riverbend Music Center and PNC Pavilion, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati. $49.50-$69.50. (513) 232-6220 or Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or

Depending on your viewpoint, the Ohio River Throwdown is either the last major music festival to play the region this summer or your final chance for a concert road trip before fall arrives in full loud-and-proud splendor at our doorsteps next weekend.

The Throwdown isn't a festival in the sense of blowouts like Louisville's Forecastle or Cincinnati's Bunbury in July. The Throwdown limits itself to a single day, boasts a music roster than leans heavy on Americana and jam-oriented acts, and uses two sizeable, sit-down amphitheaters — the spacious Riverbend Music Center and the adjacent, more intimate PNC Pavilion.

The lineup is stunning. Tedeschi Trucks Band, a true blues, rock and soul revue in the tradition of Delaney, Bonnie and Friends, will headline with the new guitar-dominant supergroup The Rides, Florida swamp-rock groove merchants JJ Grey & Mofro, and, for my money, the best roots-rock band in the land, Los Lobos, as featured acts.

Want more? Want a lot more? Then arrive early for afternoon sets by Alejandro Escovedo, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Beth Hart, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Pokey LaFarge, The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, Mucca Pazza, and J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound. So much fine music is planned that Riverbend will assemble a third performance stage to accommodate it all.

Several of the Throwdown acts will be headed to Lexington next week. The Rides (see Page 10) and Hart headline their own show at the Lexington Opera House on Monday (7:30 p.m.; $65.50, $75.50; Ticketmaster). LaFarge takes over Cosmic Charlie's on Tuesday with The Tillers opening (8 p.m.; $12, $15;

O come, Emmanuel

Aussie finger-style guitar titan Tommy Emmanuel is back in Kentucky this week for two very different performances.

On Monday, he returns to the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center. But note the time change for this outing. With The Rides and Beth Hart set to kick off a performance at 7:30 p.m. at the Opera House, WoodSongs is moving up the start time for its Monday taping to 6:30, and it is asking patrons to be seated by 6:15. Doors will open at the Lyric at 5:50. ($20. (859) 280-2218.,

Yearning for more of Emmanuel's remarkably orchestrated guitar than can be offered through a WoodSongs taping? Then head to Louisville on Tuesday, where he will perform a full two-hour concert at one of the finest-sounding rooms in the state: the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts' Bomhard Theater. (7:30 p.m. $39.50. 1-800-775-7777.

Emmanuel is touring behind a new, jazz-flavored album with British guitarist Martin Taylor titled The Colonel and the Governor. The recording has the two fingerpickers taking on classics by Benny Goodman, Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael, plus four Taylor originals.

Free Sollee

Well, it will be free for most folks. We're talking about Thursday's homecoming concert at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street, by Lexington cellist/song stylist Ben Sollee. The concert, a presentation of the University of Kentucky's Student Activities Board, will be free for UK students with a valid ID. It's a bargain for everyone else. General public tickets are only $10. Showtime is 8 p.m., with an opening by Louisville-bred songwriter Justin Paul Lewis, who teamed with Sollee on the EP disc Rinse, Repeat, Rewind.

Sollee fans definitely need to check out his website,, for a free download of the cellist's newest and wildest collaboration yet: a cover of Daft Punk's Lose Yourself to Dance, with the 18-member Austin, Texas, baroque orchestra Mother Falcon.

For more on Thursday's show, including info on bus service to and from the Kentucky for students, go to

The Student Activities Board hit the ground running this semester. It also has booked the first Lexington performance by the hit alternative folk-pop troupe The Lumineers on Oct. 11 at Memorial Coliseum.

Chicago bound

Who would have guessed that the quickest route to Chicago would be through Richmond?

We're talking about the veteran brass-fortified pop band, of course, which presents its first Central Kentucky concert in 25 years on Wednesday at the EKU Center for the Arts, 521 Lancaster Avenue in Richmond. (7:30 p.m. $57-$87. (859) 622-7469.

Chicago co-founder Robert Lamm checks in with us in this weekend on to discuss Chicago's remarkable 46-year career.

Walter Tunis is a Lexington-based writer and critic.

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