Bluegrass! Louisville American MusicFest

By Dallas Embry

From September 1 to September 4, Homefront volunteers once again participated in what was originally the Louisville Bluegrass Festival but is now the Louisville American MusicFest, with a broader musical scope that includes a greater variety of music.

Since there were no workshops this year, our duties were a bit different from past festivals. We manned a desk in the lobby of the Galt House, where the performers could check in and receive their festival passes and any additional infomration that we could provide to smooth the way for them. We made sure that the limousines were in place and on time and engaged in some minor crisis management.

John Gage and David Self shared emcee duties with WFPL personalities Joe Vincenza, Phil Bailey, and Gerry Weston, as well as with Mike Flynn, host of "The Folk Sampler," a National Public Radio program broadcast locally by WFPL FM. Bruce Krohmer and Sarah Pratt picked up and delivered performers to and from the airport, and well into the wee hours of morning.

My most important duty was taking Zachary Richard's drummer out to Mom's Musician's General Store to get some replacement sticks shortly before they went on stage.

Since thirty-nine different acts were featured, complete coverage is impossible, but the real stand-outs for me were: Mary chapin Carpenter, the Austin Lounge Lizards, Blue Rose, Rank Strangers, Johnathan Edwards, Townes Van Zandt, Wayne Toups and Zydecajun, Michael Brecker, Johnny Lytle, Fattburger, Elvin Bishop, and, of course, Riders In The Sky.

Some quick shots: Townes Van Zandt's microphone almost blew off the Main Street Stage; smoke came rolling from the second floor of the Galt House just after Johnathan Edwards sang "...gonna lay around the shanty, momma, and put a good buzz on;" there were some really nice harmonies from the Australian bluegrass band Rank Strangers; Elvin Bishop celebrated his road manager's birthday by stuffing the remains of Mayor Jerry Abramson's birthday cake into the face of said road manager, during the set; Riders In The Sky did the "Armadillo Dance" and the "Three Toed Sloth Dance;" Blue Rose and the lyrics of Laurie Lewis were outstanding; the Austin Lounge Lizards whole set was fantastic but the tune "Cryin' Hot Tubs Of Tears (Over You)" was the one that stood out in particular; and last, but certainly not least, the hottest act there was Elvin Bishop, who delivered a butt-kicking set of his best.

There were over sixty hours of FREE live music on the Belvedere and Main Street all told. I'm already looking forward with consliderable anticipation to next year.

On the Homefront side, I heard many compliments on the jobs the volunteers were doing, from festival organizers to the performers and stage hands. The following people deserve special commendation: Sara Pratt, Joe Vincenza, Theresa Bohr, Gary Lowen, Bruce Krohmer, Emily Gage, Vernon Blair, Bonnie Cecil, Jack Twombly, Jim Griley, Amy Turner, Wayne Underwood, Carole Kolb, David Self, John Gage, Mike Schroeder, Ron Harris, Sandy and Tom Kimmel and Falk Recording -David Blythe reports that things have been busy in spite of a "little" glitch -while workers were digging a trench between the new front office and the studio, the cable handling all the phones, intercom, 220, etc., was severed. Oops. Nevertheless, during the last month, several songwriters cut demos for contests: Jude Kupper was in for several; Byron Himmelheber also laid down a couple, as did Carol Rushton. Rapper Howard Gilbert did a two-song demo; Christian writers Kelly Cunnigan and Cheryl Lef?er recorded some tunes for the WXLN contest. In the album department, Carolyn Flake is cutting a country project; Blythels Big Ole Records has started a project with Jennifer Lauletta, a contemporary Christian artist; the Walnut Street Baptist Church is working on a Christmas album with the Singing Christmas Tree; and finally, Mickey Clark is doing an album of the Cardinal Cannonball's Greatest Hits, with Turley Richards producing. I can hardly wait.

Artists' Recording Service Lamont Gillespie wrote to say that he and his band, the Homewreckers cut a demo at ARS. Sam Meyers arranged and blew harp. Thanks for the tip.

If you or your group has been in o studio recently and you wanta mention in this column, send the info to The Reel News, c/0 Louisville Music News, P1).

Box 148, Pewee Valley, KY 40056..