• Nancy Johnson Barker, founder and driving force of the Kentucky Music Weekend festival, has split from spouse Blake Barker. The action was final at the end of March.
The parting was amicable and the pair will continue to work together doing state park shows, according to Nancy. She says she will also be doing some solo performing in Louisville, something she hasn't done in some time.
• Speaking of Kentucky Music Weekend, it's set for the last weekend in July, as usual. Planning for the event is a bit behind due to the above-mentioned difficulty, but Nancy is confident that this year will be better than ever. Mark your calendars and watch the Louisville Music News for more details.
• I talked to Vince Emmett of Shaking Family recently. He's been out to Champaign, Ill. to visit Mom and Dad, as well as to do a little session work. He says he's been busy with a variety of projects, plus, of course, handling Shaking Family chores. Vince has been working steadily with Mark Goodman at Alpha Studio in Etown, making records, mostly country and gospel. Goodman is building Alpha into quite a little center of record-making, according to Vince.
• Age Creeps Up Dept.: As I mentioned in last month's column, Cleveland Deadhead-ish rockers Oroboros were at Snagilwet's on Friday, March 8. I had planned on catching this show, but when I stopped by early (9:30) to check on showtime, I discovered that the starting time was "eleven-thirty or so, if there is a good crowd," according to the bartender. Eeek. The spouse and I consulted for five seconds, then zipped up to St. Matthews to catch the animation festival at the Vogue. Sorry, guys, I can't start an evening of music at midnight any more. Fact is, I never could and didn't have to except for special events at Derby. Maybe next time, guys.
• Piano-playing singers with a good repertoire may have a great place to play, if the plans of a couple of partners come to pass. Don Blackburn and Ward Plauchet, who currently run Clifthanger's in Distillery Commons and Player's Sports Bar & Grill, are planning to convert the Montgomery Chevrolet property on West Liberty into an upscale piano lounge.
Scheduled to open by mid-April, the lounge will be named Hurricane O'Malley's and will have two pianists playing at a time. The projected customer base will be conventioneers. The site is close to several hotels and just off I-65.
• A item from last month that shoulda been in: Tim Herms, host of the Wednesday night Open Stage at Jockamo's, has put together another songwriter's program, this time at Nick's Place, 2315 Crittenden Dr., two blocks north of Eastern Parkway. The phone number is (502) 637-4770. The program is called Songwriter Sunday Nights, starts at 9 p.m. and costs $1 to get in (unless you're playing). Herms is booking three songwriters a night and has booked fairly far ahead. Yer humble correspondent will be picking on April 7, for instance. For more info about the Sunday night show or bookings, call Tim at (502) 458-1175.
• The Macauley Theater, which is being managed by the Kentucky Center for the Arts, has had a new general manager since January. Leta Rodway is the new person in the hot seat and she is eager to get new acts and organizations into and using the Macauley. The theater has been getting a slow, steady face-lift, with a new sound system scheduled soon. Rodway invites groups in Louisville and touring acts from around the country to call and talk to her about using the Macauley. Her number is (502) 562-0188.
• Good Luck, Larnelle — Louisville's Larnelle Harris has been nominated for a Dove Award by the Gospel Music Association for song of the year for "I Can Begin Again." Harris, who already has a number of Doves and Grammy awards, wrote the song with Dave Clark. The Awards ceremony will be held on April 9, at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Larvelle currently has two albums on the Billboard chart, Psalms Hymns & Spiritual Songs at #10 and Larnelle Live, which entered the chart at #23.
• And speaking of gospel music performers from Kentucky, Steven Curtis Chapman got a nice write-up in the "Gospel Lectern" column in the March 23, 1991 issue of Billboard. Chapman has received six Dove Award nominations. His For the Sake of the Call has topped the chart at #1. Good luck, Steven.
• Bob Totten, long-time manager of the Willis Music store in Jefferson Mall, is leaving Willis to further his education at Bellarmine College. A man with a familiar name has been named to replace him: Lex Durlauf. Lex will be more than happy to have his old friends and customers come see him at Willis.
• Au revoir to Leo Fender. Thanks for all the great guitars. Fender died March 21, 1991, at the age of 81.
• Also a fond good-bye to Dave Guard, one of the founders of the Kingston Trio. Guard died March 22, 1991, of lymphoma.