By Roxie Conquistador
If you’re looking for a straight shooter, the honorable Beth Harris (“Delia P. Hider”) is your girl. Hailing from a lineage of cowboys and chorus lines, she embodies the epitome of both, lending pitch perfect vocals and shivering shakin’ to two impressive Cincinnati, Ohio bands: The Hiders and The Perfect Children.
When I first saw The Hiders, I had to drive about 80 miles into the country, following a hand-scrawled invitation that instructed me to “drive until the road no longer exists and turn right at the broken fence with the ‘Keep Out’ sign”. Beyond that, woods. Into them I dove along with one of my oldest friends, and we emerged at a log cabin that was watched over by a giant canyon with a newly erected outdoor spectacle of a stage that featured a lookout tower, all blonde and smelling of sawdust. As I settled into a chair by a firepit and the sun settled into the horizon, the Hiders emerged from within the stone walls of the canyon and I got my first sampling of Ms. Delia P.’s maple syrup breath, poured into the finely woven Young-ian melodies of singer-guitarist Bill Alletzhauser.
The music shook the audience as Delia P. shook a rhythm guitar and chain of bells. Soon only the light on the band remained, exposing them pinning down the emptiness of everything and the beauty of infinity in burning moon noon fire pit embers, between bending strings and pockets of train song rhythms. The band was so good that I threw my garage sale hammer mountain dulcimer into a fire (which the band risked their hands to retrieve), laid down in the middle of that newborn stage and passed out. I awoke to a sunrise the next day, thanked the canyon for the rock -and the rock for the formation- and departed.
Since then, Ms. Harris has also become an instrumental band member in The Perfect Children, fronted by the inimitable Kristen “Mama K” Kreft. The band single-handedly sways, stomps, and soul-sings the era of 1960’s King Records into the present. Let’s just say I’ve seen Mama K transmogrify herself into a Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Elvis combination, with the fiercely belting and wiggling accompaniment of Ms. Harris at her side. —More on this to come in future posts.
So, while they were individually accomplished as performers by the time they entered a large portion of the public’s consciousness (in addition to her numerous musical projects, Beth Harris is involved in local theater), Miss Kreft and Miss Harris established themselves together as a musical force by providing psychedelia-laced dual backing harmonies to local blues rock and roll legend, Pearlene. (Rotating members of that band boast resumes these days that include performances with such acts as -in no particular order-The Heartless Bastards, Soledad Brothers, Cincinnati Suds, Ben Folds, and Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.) The singers helped elevate the band from empty bars full of bottleheads into brimming ballrooms, spilling over with a sludge of soul ground between bodies and under feet. Pearlene filled locations and created moments that flared bright and teeming, then faded when temporal tolls -as they do- caused visions to blur blind.
But the passage of time is not bad, or sad, or even regrettable. In addition to her stellar current musical projects, Beth, along with partner Dave Mikkelsen, recently opened a craft beer and wine store called Listing Loon, which supports visitors of Cincinnati’s entertainment district of Northside in their desire to always be drunk in the finest way possible. The goal of the Loon though, is not just to get or keep its customers intoxicated on alcohol, but to keep them always drunk on life, art, and love. Music is always playing.
Like The Hiders and The Perfect Children, Listing Loon is an extension of Beth herself, welcoming meetings of the mind and heart. In addition to its swiftly rotating stock, local artists alternate displays in the Loon and the store includes a grand piano (with a sign threatening the safety of anyone who dares lay a drink on its finish), its keys tickled intermittenty by hired performers and improvisational acts. Guitar, provided by visitors or even Beth and Dave themselves, can be heard in between choice tracks piped from their personal collections. There are plans for song-writing workshops. Flyers for local organizations and events decorate pieces of locally crafted and re-sourced items utilized and available for puchase within the store. Bookers court bands and make plans on its plush vintage furnishings. Couples have been spotted in the throes of passionate wedding photoshoots that display the location’s tasteful warmth. In Listing Loon friends meet and visitors find a place of solace and insight. Considering Beth Harris though, that isn’t suprising.
Listing Loon is located at 4124 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45223. For hours, call (513) 542-5666.
That said, it is a beer and wine store, so as far as selection goes, the Listing Loon is open for sampling and to-go purchases by hop-heads, malty dogs and vin-o-philes alike. You can smell the ocean sweat in the Listing Loon’s stock of Baltic porters, oyster stouts and tawny port dessert wines. Tangs hit home in their vast selection of IPAs and sours so sharp the tongue begs for an ice water accompaniment. And, for those afraid of becoming salty or sour themselves about the glutinous state of their dietary tract, the store offers the option to dive into lambics, ciders, ginger beers and of course, a hand-selected wardrobe cabinet of champagnes and red and white wines.
Lising Loon, located at 4124 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45223 is open Mon-Thurs: 12-10, Fri-Sat: 12-12 and Sun 12-6 . For questions about selection and housts, please contact (513) 542-5666.