Music News & Reviews

Oktoberfest steps back in time with sounds from Sister Hazel, Georgia Satellites

Sister Hazel from left: Ryan Newell, Mark Trojanowski, Ken Block, Andrew Copeland and Jett Beres.
Sister Hazel from left: Ryan Newell, Mark Trojanowski, Ken Block, Andrew Copeland and Jett Beres.

Christ the King Oktoberfest

4 p.m. September 7, 1 p.m. September 8 at Cathedral of Christ the King, 299 Colony Blvd. Free.

You know the fall is upon us when the year’s first Oktoberfest celebration arrives the weekend after Labor Day.

Don’t let the waning weekends of summer confuse you, though. The early entrance of the Christ the King Oktoberfest means autumn is unofficially here. The event has grown over the past three decades from a cordial fundraiser to one of the season’s prime outdoor events. But since it takes place in the parking lot surrounding the Cathedral of Christ the King, this Oktoberfest has proudly retained its strong neighborhood feel.

Granted, beer booths and bingo tents might seem foreign fixtures at Christ the King. But so has the remarkable parade of concert performances that have radically increased the event’s visibility over the past 15 years.

Among the artists who have played Oktoberfest: Ralph Stanley, Alejandro Escovedo, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Sam Bush, Justin Townes Earle, Gary Louris and Mark Olson of the Jayhawks, The Fixx, Jay Farrar, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice, John Waite, Fastball, Todd Snider, The Minus 5, Riders in the Sky, Gin Blossoms, Jim Lauderdale, The Smithereens and The BoDeans.

This year, the lineup includes a returnee in the form of the Georgia Satellites, the Atlanta band that was a staple of rock radio during the latter half of the 1980s thanks to the hits “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” and “Battleship Chains.” The Saturday headliner at Oktoberfest, the Satellites also played Oktoberfest in 2013.

It should be noted that guitarist Rick Richards is the only holdover from the Satellites’ original lineup. Dan Baird, the band’s original lead singer and principal songwriter, left for a solo career in 1990. Curiously, Baird will be in town with his current band Homemade Sin for an Oct. 5 for a performance at Willie’s Locally Known. That show was originally scheduled for July 20, but was canceled when the venue — along with many Lexington businesses and residences — lost power following a severe thunderstorm.

Sister Hazel, the Florida pop-rock troupe that made waves on the airwaves in 1997 with “All For You” and a platinum selling sophomore album (“…Somewhere More Familiar”) and has been touring and recording ever since with its initial lineup intact, will headline Friday.

Also on the bill is an encore performance by Second Hand News, the all-star Lexington ensemble featuring members of The Binders that devotes itself exclusively to the popular late ‘70s music of Fleetwood Mac.

Here is the full live music lineup for Christ the King Oktobertfest

Friday (Sept. 7): The Wienerschnitzels (6 p.m.), Dave Ernst and the Early Favorites (7 p.m.), Second Hand News: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute (8 p.m.), Sister Hazel (9:30 p.m.)

Saturday (Sept. 8): The Wienerschnitzels (5 p.m.), Leo Brown (6 p.m.), The Rough Customers (7 p.m.), Radio 80 (8 p.m.), Georgia Satellites (9:30 p.m.)

Three Dog Night

7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the EKU Center for the Arts, 1 Hall Drive in Richmond. $55-$95. 859-622-7469.

While it may constitute a fairly modest chapter in the rock ‘n’ roll history books, there is no denying the commercial appeal Three Dog Night enjoyed during a wildly prolific run between 1969 and 1974 and the number of esteemed songwriters whose careers the band furthered as the band turned their tunes into worldwide hits.

During its heyday, the band was built around singer Danny Hutton, Cory Wells and Chuck Negron. Each were featured equally as lead singers as the band topped the charts with “One” (composed by Harry Nilsson), “Eli’s Coming” (Laura Nyro), “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (Randy Newman) and their biggest hit “Joy to the World” (Hoyt Axton).

Three Dog Night began to fade from the airwaves in 1975 and disbanded a year later following the release of “American Pastime,” which remains the band’s final full studio album. It returned to duty in 1981 and remains an active touring act today. Hutton is the only co-founding vocalist still on board (Negron left in 1985, Wells died in 2015), although the current Three Dog Night instrumental ranks still include guitarist Michael Allsup who joined in 1968.

Saturday night marks Three Dog Night’s return to Central Kentucky for one of the initial shows of the 2017-18 performance season at the EKU Center for the Arts at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. The Brooks Young Band will open.

A Flecktone in the fall

Here’s an early fall season show that has been flying under the radar. Harmonica pioneer, pianist and composer Howard Levy — best known for his ongoing work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones — will team with resonator guitarist Chris Siebold for a duo concert on Sept.13 at the Singletary Center for the Arts at the University of Kentucky, 405 Rose St. (7:30 p.m; $15 for the public, free in advance to UK students). Call 859-257-4929 or go to