• Dave Ernst phoned up to tell me about Starbilly, the new band formed out of Big Wheel. The current configuration is Peter Searcy, vocals, Tom Thompkins, drums, Ernst on guitar and Casey Seitz on bass. The new group has a more pop feel than Big Wheel. Check 'em out if'n you git a chance.
• John Burgard called to report that Murphy's Law has added Ray Barrickman on bass, replacing Jim Baugher. Baugher has moved on to play with Tim Krekel. The parting was entirely amiable. Barrickman last played with Hank, Jr. and still plays with the Bama Band occasionally.
• Rick Dulin called to say that his show at the Louisville Gardens, originally set in January but snowed out, is now set for March 5 at the Gardens. Dulin is trying out the program that he's taking to Europe for the Sister Cities program.
• Beverly Howell, new publicist for the Mudcat Blues Band, sent along a fax reporting that the group has been recording tracks for an upcoming CD. Stevie Ray Vaughan/Double Trouble keyboardist Reese Wynans adding his notes to the mix. Tim Krekel is producing. The CD's title is Back to the Basics. The tentative release date is March 1.
• Fans and friends of drummer James Kottack can catch up with him on March 17 at the Toy Tiger, playing with PSB (Paul Shortino Band). Intense is the opening act . . . and they are, too, no doubt.
• David La Duke dropped a note to say that his Rock Hard Rocker got a favorable write-up in the February 14 issue of Foundations magazine.
• Soundcheck Dept. Unsigned bands, start your amplifiers. Yamaha's Eighth Annual Soundcheck The Yamaha Music – Showcase is getting cranked up. This year, the five finalist bands will get a $3,000 "development fund."
The Grand Prize is an all-expense-paid trip to Japan to represent the USA at The Third Annual MusicQuest, The International Pop and Rock S howcase, which is scheduled for October 10, 1994.
Twenty bands will be selected as Semi-Finalists and will get a Yamaha MT 120 Mulittrack Cassette Records and TDK audio cassette tape.
To be eligible, you must write original music, perform with a band with two or more members and not be currently signed to a nationally-distributed record label.
To get an entry form, call 1-800-451-7625. The deadline for entries is May 31, 1994.
• And What Effect Would Guns 'N Roses Have? Dept. On Wednesday, March 2, at 12:40 p.m., hie thee to the Cathedral of the Assumption Undercroft for "The Healing Power of Music," presented by Dr. Alice Cash. Dr. Cash will describe the powerful ways in which music effects the healing of the mind, body and spirit.
• The Annual Arts Education Showcase for the Louisville area will be staged on March 2 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. The event is designed to familiarize Kentucky educators with performing and visual artists, and cultural organizations that offer education programs. There will be additional showcases in various locations throughout the Commonwealth.
For new artists interesting in trying out for the 1995 Showcases, auditions will be held in late 1994. Call Amy Brooks Hoffmann at 562-0151 to be put on the list to be notified or for additional information about other Showcases.
• Because the Coach Can't Carry a Tune in A Bucket Dept. For those of you who have an interest in music education, the Kentucky Coalition for Music Education are asking that you write to Sen. Ed Ford and Rep. Freed Curd, urging them to support the employment of a qualified Music Consultant in the State Department of Education. Currently, no one in the Dept. of Education holds a Master's degree in Music Education. The address for the two gentlemen above is: Members of the Joint Committee on Education, Room 105, Capitol Annex, Frankfort, KY 40601.
• Derby? Derby? Did Someone Say Derby? Dept. The Derby Festival has a new theme song – "Derby Festival – It's For You," written by J. D. Miller, produced at Allen-Martin Productions and song by Larnelle Harris. Can't wait to hear it.
• Save Your Old Books Division. The Louisville Opera is accepting your old books for their 21st Annual Kentucky Opera Book Sale, scheduled for October 12 – 15. Call 584-4500 for free book pickup.
• From down in Bowling Green, Dave Harris called to relate that he and a friend have established a new independent label, Murdock's Music Company. Recordings by two acts, Sacrey & Wood and Jack Lewis, are due out soon. Stay tuned.
• Watch for several MERF events in March. Because of the recent heavy demands on MERF, the organization needs to raise more money. At the Highland Grounds, various acoustic acts will be playing on March 4, 6,11 & 13 for a $3 donation. On March 23, a more fullblown show at the Butchertown Pub features Smokehouse, the War Hippies, Breath, Tim Krekel and Kelly Richey, plus an additional act to be named. That's a $5 donation. If you can't go, send 'em some money.
• Oopsies Dept. Jim Boklage called me up to say that Dan Gediman's recent work on childhood sexual abuse had covered that subject pretty well. Mr. Boklage's opera-in-the-making is about physical and psychological abuse. Sorry, Jim.
• Jazz vocalist Jeffry V. Demling, age 26, passed away February 8, 1994 at Baptist East after an illness.
• The first winner of the Grawemeyer Award, composer Witold Lutoslawski, died on Monday, February 7, 1994, in Warsaw, Poland. His Symphony No. 3 won the 1985 Grawemeyer Award, worth $150,000. The prize is named for retired businessman H. Charles Grawemeyer.