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Rumpke Mountain Boys, David Gans to play V Club

Sep. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Today, Sept. 12, Cincinnati's Rumpke Mountain Boys will play the V Club with opening act and collaborator David Gans.

The Rumpke Mountain Boys, one of the region's favorite jamgrass bands, are named after the local hometown garbage dump, which marks the highest elevation in their native Hamilton County, Ohio. The group has a new album out called "Moon," filled with their music known as 'Infamous Trashgrass."

Many know opening act David Gans as the host of the nationally-syndicated Grateful Dead Hour radio show, which can be heard in the Tri-State on 104.1-FM, WNKU at 11 p.m. Saturday nights. But, before he was a radio host, Gans was a musician and songwriter. Recently, he has been doing a tour with the Rumpke Mountain Boys, opening for the band and then jamming with them onstage.

Gans co-wrote the song "Drop The Bone" with music legend Peter Rowan, which appears on Rowan's latest recording called "The Old School." The project is up for an Album of the Year nod at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards show to be in Raleigh, N.C., later this month.

"I've been a musician since I was 15 years old," said Gans. "I started writing songs and playing the guitar at the same instant because I had an older brother who took a couple of my teenage poems and set them to music and he taught me the chords. So, I've been writing original music since I was a teenager, and then I got into all of that Grateful Dead music. Eventually, I got into journalism because it was a fun way to meet musicians and learn. Then, the radio thing happened accidentally after my first book came out. All of the things I have done have been about learning more about music and being involved in music. But, my number one interest has always been in making my own music."

With Gans' Grateful Dead Hour radio show running on the airwaves for more than two decades, and considering the fervent and loyal following that the Grateful Dead developed over the group's history, it is a challenge for the singer, songwriter and guitarist to make his own musical mark.

"Being well-known as a radio guy in the Grateful Dead world kind of makes some people limit their notion of what you might be otherwise," said Gans. "Fortunately, over the last 15 years, I've developed enough of a career on my own that there are a lot of people who know me now for my own music and do not necessarily confuse it with being the Grateful Dead radio guy. Every once in a while I get that feeling that people are saying, 'Well, he's a disc jockey with a guitar in his hand.' But, it happens less and less these days because I don't sound like the Grateful Dead.

"My guitar playing is certainly influenced by Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, but I have been writing my own songs since before I heard them, and I have my own style," continued Gans. "When you hear me, you're hearing John Prine and Steve Goodman and John Lennon and Bob Dylan as much as you're hearing Jerry Garcia. So, I don't feel too limited by the association. But, I don't play at Phil Lesh's club Terrapin Crossroads because the Grateful Dead guys themselves relate to me as a journalist who has been working with them all of these years. It's hard for them to connect with me as a musician, although I have played with every one of those guys a few times here and there. But, in general, I am my own man and being a famous Deadhead has been, on the whole, a good thing rather than a bad thing."

Gans is enjoying his time touring and playing with the Rumpke Mountain Boys.

"I love it all," said Gans, when asked if he prefers performing as a solo artist or with a group. "I have such a wonderful range of options available to me. I'm out here on the road with the Rumpke Mountain Boys, which is just incredibly huge fun. I don't know why these kids love me so much, but they seem to really dig having me onboard and we are influencing each other. I am kind of mellowing them out a little bit and they are crazy-ing me up a little bit and it's working out well for everybody."