Music News & Reviews

Rocking on the river with the spirit of the Beatles

Colin Blunstone, left, and Rod Argent of The Zombies.
Colin Blunstone, left, and Rod Argent of The Zombies. Photo provided


May 27-30 at Belvedere Festival Park and the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. $15-$209.95.

A staple event in Louisville during Memorial Day weekend, Abbey Road on the River isn’t just for Beatles fans anymore.

Of course the event, which runs through Monday, remains perhaps the most extravagant and extensive Fab Four pageant anywhere. Bands from all over the globe will converge at the Belvedere Festival Park and the nearby Muhammad Ali Center to perform tributes to almost every aspect of the Beatles’ towering career and the members’ post-breakup solo journeys. This weekend, the list boasts Banda De Corazones Solitarios from Columbia, classical guitarist Mario DaSilva from Brazil, and the Nor-Beatles from, you guessed it, Norway.

For Beatles loyalists, the guess list will include Steve Holley, the drummer in Paul McCartney’s final lineup of Wings (he is featured on the under-appreciated 1979 album Back to the Egg).

But, as in past years, the festival will again make pronounced turns away from Beatlemania. Among the top picks this year will be performances by The Zombies (scheduled for 8:50 May 28) and Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals (8:45 p.m. May 29). Representing views of ’60s pop from various continental shores, both acts have played in the area relatively recently. The Zombies, led by founding members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, played the Kentucky Theatre in 2013, and Cavaliere, the voice behind most of the Rascals’ career-defining hits, played at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort in 2012. In each case, the performances revealed pop catalogs still performed with considerable vigor by the key architects who constructed them.

Ticket prices vary each day, but admission to either the Zombies or Cavaliere concerts require a day admission of $79.95.

For a full schedule of Abbey Road on the River performances and events, go to


1:30 p.m. May 29 at Proud Mary BBQ, 9079 Richmond Rd. $20. 859-913-5611.

One of the region’s more modest Memorial Day weekend traditions is back Sunday for its seventh go-round.

It began as a gathering of local, regional and national acts at the Red Mile’s Paddock Park (under the banner of the Red Mile Blues Festival), but the event moved outdoors in 2010 under the guidance of promoter and organizer Greg Thomerson — also known as local blues impresario G. Busy — and became known as Blues Between the Bridges.

The daylong festival’s current home is Proud Mary BBQ, a self-described “honky tonk barbeque” on the banks of the Kentucky River (Exit 99 from Interstate 75) at the old Riptide restaurant.

This year’s Blues Between the Bridges lineup goes heavy on local and regional talent, with Lexington’s own Tee Dee Young as headliner. Here’s the full schedule:

Jack Smith (1:30 p.m.), Johnny Roy and The Rub Tones (2:30 p.m.), 3:45 p.m. Mojo Theory (3:45 p.m.), The Robbie Bartlett Blues Band, (5 p.m.), Da Mudcats, (6:15 p.m.), G. Busy Soul Blues Revue (7:30 p.m.), Ray Fuller & The Blues Rockers (9 p.m.) and Tee Dee Young (10:30 p.m.).

The event will be held rain or shine.


8 p.m. May 27 at the Taft Theatre, 317 East 5th St. in Cincinnati. $32.50, $42.50. 800-745-3000

We can’t let a holiday weekend slip by without a quick road-trip tip. Well worth the drive Friday night is a fine pairing of Americana, pop, and jazz/jam-inspired mischief at Cincinnati’s Taft Theatre.

Headlining will be the always reliable Bruce Hornsby, a pianist and composer of considerable pop expertise, whether it is through his own scholarly pop recordings of the past three decades (amazingly, his acclaimed debut record The Way It Is was released 30 years ago this spring) or his artful piano work, which has colored film scores, jazz and bluegrass recordings, and even a celebrated stint with the Grateful Dead.

Hornsby is set to release a new studio album, Rehab Reunion, with his long-running band Noisemakers on June 17. Fans can get a preview listen to one of the album’s songs, the dulcimer-rich Over the Rise, at

Fortifying the bill will be an opening set by Americana stylist Aoife O’Donovan, who continues to tour heavily behind her fine sophomore album In the Magic Hour. Cincinnati has obviously taken a liking to the whispery mystique of O’Donovan’s music. She headlined a concert at the 20th Century Theatre as recently as April 3.


Alas, the blues also extend to a show that won’t be happening. Friday’s scheduled performance by Texas songwriting champion Billy Joe Shaver has been postponed. A longtime Lexington favorite, Shaver has had to reschedule several weeks of concerts this month because of what his Facebook page calls “a serious medical condition.” The good news is that said condition won’t keep Shaver down for long. The Willie’s show has been rescheduled for Aug. 6.

Read Walter Tunis’ blog, featuring the musings on music in Central Kentucky and beyond, at