Saturday, March 04, 2000

Cammys to praise Pure Prairie League

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Pure Prairie League, the seminal country-rock group that came out of Mount Adams 30 years ago to produce such radio staples as “Amie” and “Two Lane Highway,” is the first rock band to win a Michael W. Bany Lifetime Achievement Award.

        The group, including members Craig Fuller, Larry and Tim Goshorn, Michael Reilly, Billy Hinds and others, will be honored March 12 at the fourth annual Enquirer Cincinnati Area Pop Music Awards at Electra in Over-the-Rhine. A reunited band made up of past and present PPL members will perform at the ceremonies.

        The group first developed a following here in about 1970, with gigs at the now-defunct New Dilly's in Mount Adams. Signed to RCA, PPL released its self-titled debut in 1972. The cover featured the band's cowpoke mascot Luke, who went on to grace PPL album covers for the next couple of decades. With its sweet country harmonies and red-hot picking, the band led the way for the national country-rock trend of the '70s.

        When Mr. Fuller left the band because of problems with the Vietnam-era draft, he was replaced by Larry Goshorn. Alumni of the band include Vince Gill, who sang the group's last major hit, 1980's “Let Me Love You Tonight.” (No word yet whether Mr. Gill will accept his invitation.)

        Singer/bassist Mr. Reilly, who kept PPL going through the '70s and '80s, reunited last year with Mr. Fuller in a new version of the band.

        One PPL offshoot, the Goshorn Brothers Band, remains one of the most popular groups on the local scene. Larry Goshorn co-produced the two successful Shades of Blue album projects.

        In addition to the PPL reunion, the 2000 Cammys will feature performances by the other Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Big Joe Duskin; Keith Little with an all-star “Shades of Blue” band; the Fairmount Girls; Leap Skyward; Ass Ponys; a bluegrass jam, featuring Kentucky 31 and the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars; Scotty Anderson and the Steve Schmidt Organ Trio; and a special set by 15-year-old guitar whiz Ricky Veeneman, winner of the 1999 Voodoo Chile guitar competition sponsored by the Jimi Hendrix Family Foundation.

        Comedian/singer Blair Shannon will host the event, being held 4-8 p.m. Awards will be given in 30 categories. Finalists will be announced March 10.

        The Cammys are open to the public, but seating is limited. Tickets are $12.50 at Ticketmaster outlets (562-4949) and Electra, 1133 Sycamore St., 621-1100. Proceeds benefit the Michael W. Bany Memorial Scholarship Fund, which aids local music students.

        Interview with Blair Shannon

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