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Happy Trails

The Cowslingers hang up the saddle.

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T-Model Ford, beaming at the Beachland March 6. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • T-Model Ford, beaming at the Beachland March 6.

Americana mainstays the Cowslingers are riding off into the sunset, capping 15 years together with a farewell show March 13 at the Grog Shop.

"Bobby [Latina], our guitar player, didn't want to tour anymore," explains frontman Greg Miller. And touring was a big part of what the Cleveland band did. Its mix of rockabilly, garage rock, country, and folk earned an international following, thanks to gigs in 38 states, Canada, Germany, Spain, and Belgium. During one four-year run, the band averaged more than 100 shows annually.

The 'Slingers performed in the "stupidest, loudest" matching cowboy shirts -- covered in skulls and flowers -- they could find. The goal wasn't to be ironic, says Miller, but to skewer the code of conduct typical of the rockabilly crowd with which they were lumped.

"I always hated that classification -- rockabilly," says Miller, a full-time employee in the WXTM-FM 92.3 sales department. "I always thought we were a rock-and-roll band. I always thought that rockabilly was a fashion scene -- the tattoos, the clothes, the hair. But it's the same with garage rock or anything: There's these little rituals that you can't go beyond. A lot of people tell us that they like our music because it's more than they thought it was."

The band plans three posthumous releases: Bullseye, a rarities compilation through the Spanish label Rock and Roll Inc.; Million Selling Hits, a 10-inch vinyl EP split of covers and new original songs through Germany's Lone Star Records; and a last new album, yet to be recorded, tentatively titled Koda, on Cincinnati's Shake It Records. Miller says the door is open for future one-off shows.

· Akron's Rubber City Rebels never quite cracked Cleveland in their first incarnation, but now they're nationwide. The pre-punk rockers' "Pierce My Brain," from their 2003 reunion LP of the same name, is featured in skateboarding icon Tony Hawk's latest commercial, airing across the country during shows such as SportsCenter, Fear Factor, and Chappelle's Show.

· Get the shred out: Can't wait for the Yngwie Malmsteen show at Peabody's? Instrumental guitarist Michael Kolar is shooting a video at No Excuses (27330 Lorain Road, North Olmsted) Saturday, March 13. The show starts at 7 p.m.

· Jim Donovan, percussionist with the tribal cult band Rusted Root, will host an interactive-drumming experience at Oberlin's Common Ground (14240 Baird Road) Saturday, March 13.

· Following the relaunch of its cabaret as a venue for national comedy acts and an occasional Michael Stanley show or four, Akron's Tangiers (532 West Market Street) has rededicated its Bistro Bar as a weekend blues venue. The candlelit bar will host free performances by regional jazz, R&B, and blues stalwarts like the Alan Greene Band featuring Mr. Stress, Frankie Starr, and Blues Deville.

· Canuck popster Avril Lavigne is launching a 21-city mall tour that will stop in Cleveland Wednesday, March 24, at a still-undetermined shopping center. Sign up at www.avrillavigne.net for e-mail and phone info giving the location. Radio and press will also announce the site 48 hours in advance. It's on a school night, but eating all your green beans could convince Mom to let you go.

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