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The Northern Kentucky Music Legends Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Concert will return to Tower Park Amphitheater for 2021 on Thursday, June 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Those musicians who were to be inducted last year (2020) will instead be installed this year, although one of the honorees has sadly since passed away during the delay caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.
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MICKEY DENTON, who played guitar and sang harmonies in the very popular Cincinnati group from the 1960’s, The Casinos, died from cancer in February, 2021. He lived in Ft. Thomas for 40 years. The Casinos recorded and released in 1967 what may have been the most popular 45 RPM single every released by a Cincinnati area rock group, “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye”. The record rose to #1 nationally, and got Mick and the boys a Gold Record. The band recorded the song at the famous King Records recording studio in Cincinnati, where James Brown (R&B), Bootsy Collins (Funk) and dozens of Country-Western and Bluegrass stars recorded their hit records in the 1940s through the 60s. The studio is renowned for integrating Black R & B artists with White “hillbilly” musicians, and is on the National Historic Registry and is in the process of being renovated into a museum of American music. The Casinos also toured as the opening act for the Beach Boys after their song climbed the charts and they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as “One Hit Wonders”. Mickey had several Cincinnati groups through the 1980’s, including Carefree Day and The Michael Denton Group, that recorded and placed several songs on WEBN Album Projects, and later Sorry Charlie and Brothers First, who were voted Best Pop/Country Band in the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEA) in 2003, and Mickey finished his music career as an acoustic duo with his wife, Jill Denton.
Also being inducted into the NKML HOF and on the bill to perform Live that night is MELISSA-SINGER REED, who is being inducted along with her husband, CHUCK REED, who grew up in Ft. Thomas and died of cancer in 2017, and played with their band, DV8, until his very last months. Chuck Reed also founded River City Productions, a sound production company that provided sound and lighting for national and regional acts on tour. Melissa will perform as a soloist, accompanied by piano, and will then return to perform with DV8, the band founded by she and Chuck in 2008. DV8 has played the big stage and were the opening act locally for Eddie Money, Loverboy, Jefferson Starship, Little River Band, Styx, Lou Gramm, John Waite, and the Doobie Brothers. Melissa-Singer Reed also sings with a Heart tribute band called Dreamboat Annie, and can be heard occasionally singing the National Anthem at Bengals, FC Cincinnati or Florence Freedom (Y’Alls) ballgames.
There will be two Rock & Roll bands on stage that night, as also being inducted in 2021 will be the 70’s Rock band, SWAN, from Kenton County. Joe Matracia from Lakeside Park plays guitar and sings vocals and Keith Elsbernd from Covington plays drums and sings, and they started playing together in 1975 at places like the Round Up, the Latin Quarter (now Bobby Mackey’s), Rio Rita and the Underground. They had Butch DeMoss on bass and Tim McCord on keyboards, sax and flute back then, but since they’ve reunited, they now have Dave Geiger on bass and Al Leffler on keyboards and guitars. Butch Demoss has sadly passed away as well. Swan recorded several original songs back in the 70’s, and placed two of them on WEBN Album Projects and then toured the thriving Southeast and East Coast club circuits back in the early 80’s. Swan recently released a long overdue CD in 2016 titled “The Storm”, and they are still performing today at places like The Dixie Station in Erlanger.
After the HOF Awards presentation at 6:00pm, the concert will begin with the Brotherhood Singers, the a capella Gospel group from Covington, who were inducted in 2017, but graciously return to open the show in 2021. Then, the next inductee, RAY CUMMINS, will do his Chet Atkins-style guitar pickin’ performance with a quartet backing him up. Ray was born in Newport and raised in Florence, where he took up trumpet and played in the Boone County HS band while in the 7th grade. After an illness, he took up guitar and absorbed the style of Chet Atkins and has played for the CAAS (Chet Atkins Appreciation Society) every year for the last 20 years. Ray started out right after high school as the opening act for Kenny Price, and Kenny took him on the road with him, and he’s played on TV shows like Bob Braun, Hee-Haw, and Nashville Now, as well as on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
Ray will then invite up Mickey Denton’s wife, Jill, also a vocalist for many years, to sing along with him and they will perform Mickey and the Casinos’ huge hit from 1967, “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye”.
Also being inducted into the NKMLHOF is Ray Lehmkuhl, who was an original member of the NKML Committee, and also died over the last year. Ray was an enthusiastic supporter of local live music, and was an active promoter of concerts and teen dances in the 60’s and 70’s. He worked for years with the Ajaye Talent Agency, Cincinnati’s largest booking agency for Rock bands, and he assisted many Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Rock & Roll bands find gigs, and managed many of them.
BAND: Strange Brew
BAND: The New Lime
BAND: The Denems
Mary Ellen Tanner
Tim and Larry Goshorn
BAND: The Fabulous Shantels
The Bad Seeds
East Orange Express
Chuck and Melissa Reed