Music News & Reviews

Never underestimate Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band

8 p.m. July 9 at PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati. $38-$142. Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or

There was a Saturday Night Live skit ages ago about an auction of Beatles memorabilia. It dealt with a packed room of geeky fanatics shelling out exorbitant sums for assorted bits of junk supposedly connected with the Fab Four. Then the auctioneer brought out the pièce de résistance: Ringo Starr, as in the real Ringo Starr, who was hosting the show that evening. The skit's payoff: no one bid on him.

That kind of sums up the often hapless view many casual Beatles fans share of Starr, who turned 70 on Wednesday. But his positioning as the schooled drumbeat for the group's groundbreaking music as well as its primary internal diplomat are well-known to more ardent Beatles admirers.

Since the early '70s, Starr also has been an active solo artist whose hits have included It Don't Come Easy and 1973's regally despondent Photograph. Starr recently released a new, self- produced album called Y Not.

Though it sports assistance by Beatles mate Paul McCartney, that's probably not what fans will be hoping to hear when Starr performs Friday at Cincinnati's PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center. Nor will it be the roster of celeb pals making up his newest All Starr Band, including Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Gary Wright and Mr. Mister frontman Richard Page.

No, what still makes Starr a star attraction is his link to a pop dynasty — specifically a stash of Beatles songs he sang lead on. Among them; Octopus' Garden, With a Little Help from My Friends and, of course, Yellow Submarine.

The geeky nostalgists from SNL might not have been willing to pay for Starr. But it's a good bet a substantial number of serious Beatles fans will be this weekend in Cincinnati.

Carpenter's return

Mary Chapin Carpenter must not have realized how much she missed playing Central Kentucky. Last October, the celebrated Americana singer-songwriter performed against a gorgeous sunset at Equus Run Vineyards. It was her first concert anywhere near Lexington in 17 years. Now here it is, just nine months later, and Carpenter is back again to play Equus Run, 1280 Moores Mills Road in Midway.

For her return Thursday, she will have to contend with balmy July summer, though. But there are other, more welcome differences between next week's performance and the one she gave last fall. The October concert was a trio affair featuring Carpenter, longtime bassist John Jennings and guitarist Kevin Barry. Her show Thursday will feature her full band. In October, she also offered two new songs — including the Parisian love remembrance Mrs. Hemingway — that were being prepared for a new recording. That album was cut and completed over the winter and released in April as The Age of Miracles. So expect a handful of new tunes to go along with crowd favorites like Shut Up and Kiss Me, I Feel Lucky and He Thinks He'll Keep Her.

Gates at Equus Run will open at 4 p.m. Thursday. Wine tasting begins at 4 with dinner at 5:30. The opening act, Nashville singer Ruth Collins, starts at 6, and show time for Carpenter is 7. Tickets are $60. Call (859) 846-9463.

Petty 'Mojo'

Let's try this one again. Originally, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was to have used a May date in Louisville as one of the initial stops on its summer tour. It would have marked the band's first Kentucky stop in nearly seven years. But, alas, the release of the new Petty album Mojo was pushed back.

So rather than tour for almost a month with new material no one had heard, the first few dates were rescheduled — save for the Louisville show, which was scrapped.

With Mojo now selling briskly, Petty and company are swinging through the area to play Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati on Thursday. (7:30 p.m. $44.75-$150.35. Ticketmaster.)

Here's the thing, though. There isn't all that much music from Mojo in the band's current shows. Three or four songs at most are pulled from the album. But Petty is wisely going for the cream of the new tunes. The album's finest tracks — the jam band-savvy First Flight of Freedom, the more streamlined Running Man's Bible and the boogie-flavored I Should Have Known It — have been popping up at most shows this summer along with staples like Free Fallin', Mary Jane's Last Dance and a cover of the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac nugget Oh Well.

Thursday's show also will sport Drive-By Truckers as an opening act. The band sold out a Saturday show at Buster's this spring. More recently it contributed a rocking version of Daddy's Little Pumpkin to a new John Prine tribute album titled Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows.


■ Kansas City by way of California blues/funk pianist Josh Charles and clawhammer-style banjoist Leroy Troy will be guests at Monday's taping of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street. (6:45 p.m. $10. (859) 252-8888 for reservations.

Band of Horses on Tuesday will give the first regional performance since the release of its sublime album Infinite Arms, playing at Inner Circle, 4343 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati. (8 p.m. $25. TicketMaster.)

Nine Pound Hammer, still with singer Scott Luallen and guitarist Blaine Cartwright out front, celebrates 25 years of screaming cowpunk music Thursday at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Avenue. The band is working on a covers record as a follow-up to 2008's album Sex, Drugs and Bill Monroe. The Hookers and Haywood's Holler Rats will open. (8 p.m. $10. (859) 309-9499.