Danny Flanigan Brightens Up the Louisville Music Scene

By Patrick Fitzgerald

The Louisville music scene has recently acquired a much-needed boost in the area of original music and experience for novice players.

On Tuesday evenings Dutch's Tavern in St. Matthews has been the site for some of the newest and most innovative acts in the area. "Monkey Hour" is the name of the spot that features everything from single acoustic guitar originals to eight-piece percussion improvs.

Host Danny Flanigan has played at Dutch's most Monday and Tuesday nights this past spring. His all-acoustic music is some of the freshest original material to hit Louisville in a long time. His finger-picked style is impeccable, and his songs are both musically and lyrically inspiring.

He has sold his cassette at Monkey Hour, and it has done quite well. With 18 original songs for only five bucks, it is one of the best music deals around.

Flanigan has attracted a crowd of regulars to Monkey Hour (which usually lasts about two hours "because monkey's can't tell time"), including members of some of the top bands on the college or alternative (god, I hate that word!) scene. On any given week one might find acoustic acts that include members of Domani, Love Jones, Big Wheel, Of Two Minds, Insufficient Fund$, Hopscotch Army, or even Grandbrother, as well as solo artists who have not yet had much opportunity to share their music with the world.

Monkey Hour has provided a great opportunity for aspiring performers to interact with and participate in the rush to help Louisville be the site of something other than just cover bands. It has done so by appealing to a crowd already familiar with today's new music and has asked them to get involved. Performers who have had little chance to play in front of their peers can do so in a very relaxed environment and get the feedback they need to continue writing original tunes. Also in the game of erasing the lines between "The Stage" and "The Audience" is Domani, as they have on occasion invited musicians from the audience to join then onstage.

Sam Anderson of Domani has played solo nights at Dutch's Tavern that have included sax man Willie Little and anyone else with the desire to play. It is this kind of participation that helps original music hit the public and inspire artists to perform more original music than cover tunes.

So far the response has been great, as most Tuesday nights at Dutch's are standing room only at the stroke of midnight. Hats off to Danny Flanigan and "Spank, the Monkey," (mascot for Monkey Hour) for adding a new bright spot to the continuously growing original music scene in Louisville.