• Jes' My 'Pinion Dept. As a longtime follower and chronicler of the Louisville music scene, I have seen some very good and very bad times in the music business here. The Main Street and Washington Street days. for example, were pretty good, especially for the bluegrass and straight-up rock bands.
The current state of the scene isn't too bad, at least with regard to the number and quality of performers, both local and from out of town. The real bummer is the scarcity of audience members. I have almost decided that we should declare them an endangered species and apply for a Federal grant. (Just a joke! Please don't send tirades about excessive Gummint. Read Huckleberry Finn instead and quote his Pap.)
Anyway. since Federal money is out, I'm thinking about starting a movement to encourage attendance by audiences at musical events. Pretty rad, eh? Actual audiences. Zowie.
To that end, I'm asking those of you who might have been an audience member in an earlier life to send me suggestions, proposals, et cetera, on ways to improve audience attendance at musical events. For that matter, those of you who are current audience members can and should send me suggestions as well.
To help you out. I pass along what I have already heard from one music fan. He thought that if the night clubs hired waitresses who would actually come around to your table and take your order, it would help. He also suggested hiring a person to clean up the tables, not to mention the bathrooms! Wow!
I have also heard from several fans who suggested that they had stopped going to live music events because all the bands PLAY TOO DAMN LOUD ALL THE TIME. Excuse me, but I can't hear you in here, the band is too loud.
Anyway. suggestions and comments are requested and I will print the best of them and/or pass them along to the appropriate folks. Write Down on the Corner at LMN, 7505 Cambridge Dr., Crestwood, KY 40014, or email me at LouMusNews@aol.com or fax your comments to 241-2291. Meanwhile. go out and hear some live music tonight.
• Even Award Winners Gotta Shop. Ran into Larnelle Harris at an Office Depot last month. He said that he was happy that the Young Messiah Tour finally made it to Louisville, even if it was the last tour. His record label. Benson. notified us that Larnelle has been nominated for a Grammy Award for the seventh time. This year's nomination is for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for Unbelievable Love.
Larnelle has won five Grammy Awards in the past.
• The Palace Theatre Makes it Cheaper. The folks at the Palace have announced that they are offering lower-priced tickets for nearly all shows at less than S20. lt's darn tough to sell those high-end tickets in a town used to cheap music.
• 4th Annual BartendersBeach Ball. The Kentucky Easter Seal Society's 4th Annual Bartenders Beach Ball is set for Feb. l8 at the Commonwealth Convention Center. Scheduled to play are The Fabulous Thunderbirds, who will be promoting their new album, Roll of the Dice, and Joe Ely, one of those Texas rockers with a huge cult following. Tickets are $60, which buys you a full bar, lavish buffet, the show and "a safe ride home." Get ten friends together and get a table for only $550. Needless to say, it's a charity benefit. Call 584-9781 for more information.
• Big Band Music Availability Expands. All you fans of Big Band music now have another night to check it out. Jerry Tolson's Big Band will now play from 8-10 p. m. Sundays. at the Alley Theater, beginning Feb. 4.
• More Jazz. Jeff Sherman, from Bellarmine's Jazz Department, will be bringing his best "students" to the Bluegrass Brewing Company in St. Matthews every Thursday from 8 p. m. to 11 p. m. The group is called Jazz Because. Check it out.
• Better Late Than No Mention At All. Ben Andrews of Ramcat Studio called the LMN offices the other day to talk about his studio, which has been open since last February in the building that formerly housed Artist Recording Services, 980 Barret Ave. Engineer Sam Gray has been busy since, recording folks as diverse as Hedge, Karen Dean and Scott Henderson. They are equipped with l6 digital tracks and 8 analog, which can be linked for a total of 23 tracks. Rates are $25 an hour, and a 12-hour block is $235. Interested folks can call 568-6474 for more information.
• New MERF Board Members.
I hear from Londa Crenshaw that MERF has rounded up a board of directors for another year. Here are the results of their meeting: Londa Crenshaw, President; Mark Langley of Clifton's Pizza, Vice-President; Gary Loeser of Otter Creek Park, Treasurer. No one would volunteer to be Secretary. On the Board are: Dave King, Dave Maraseo, Jim Rosen, Riley White, Gary Deusner and Jim Snyder. Marvin Maxwell will remain as the Chairman of the Board.
Monthly meetings of MERF will be held on the first and third Mondays of every month in Clifton's back room.
• Audition Night at the Hill. The Phoenix Hill Tavern is auditioning bands on Thursday nights in the Roof Garden. Go there and you can help decide which band(s) will get a real gig. Needless to say, if you are a friend of one of the bands, bring a HUGE crowd and stuff the ballot box. Hey, gigs are hard to get.
• Schmoozing at the Train Station. Chaz Rough and his management people, Wild Justice Management, put on a soiree at the Train Station in Anchorage. The event was entitled the Wild Justice for All Ball and it was a lot of fun. The food was outstanding, the music was good and the conversations musical. Or at least, about music.
John Timmons explained that he had somehow wound up with a record company when he offered to put out the most recent Cherub Scourge record (reviewed in the December '95 issue). The Cherubim slapped the name of his store on the record and ear x-tacy records was born. Timmons is also working on a Dan Trisko record and has agreed in principal to release the next Mudcats album..
Marvin Maxwell stood around telling toilet (lid) jokes, of course. He insisted that the "joint" he was smoking onstage at the RRote Awards the night before was just a cigarette twisted up to look fat. He was introducing the best "Homegrown" video.
Chaz was happy because he had won a RRote Award after three tries. "I'm no longer a virgin," he said.
Peter Rhee was on hand to play with Chaz. Not exactly ADI, eh, Peter? Todd Smith, engineer at Allen-Martin Productions was on hand as a player as well. Yer honorable correspondent failed to recognize him at first, since it had been some mumbly-mumble years since I had laid eyes on him. He graciously allowed as how it was probably because he was not wearing his glasses. Todd said that the new album that Union Tree was working on was killer.
Then there were the representatives from the Odd One's paper and a radio station or two and the like.
A fine event, all the way around. Thanks to Wild Justice.
• GetEarthWise. Check out John Gage's latest project, the Earthwise Faire, on Sunday, Feb. 25, from l-7 p.m. Lots of music all during that time, imagination stations and environmentally conscious businesses serving up their wares. It happens at Jefferson County Traditional Middle School at 1418 Morton and it'll cost you $5 for adults, S2 for students and children.
• So Why Aren't You Singing ln a Chorus Already? The Ursuline Voices, an adult community choir, is looking for new members. They're singing rock, pop, and spiritual music. I suspect they would like you to be able to carry a tune. Call Anna Jo Paul at 897-1816 for more information or to sign up
• The Kentucky Opera is looking for book donations for their annual Kentucky Opera Guild Book Fair. Skip the textbooks and magazines, however. They also would like record albums, CDs and video tapes.
You can write them off your taxes (for now) as charitable contributions. Call 584-4500 for free book pickup.
• Like Nashville Really Needs the Publicity. They have their own television network, for cryin' out loud. The Nashville Entertainment Association doesn't; so I'll mention their Extravaganza96. It's set for Feb. 14-17, in Nashville, naturally. They've got a lot of stuff going on. Call them at 615-327-4308 if you want to know more.
• Lotus Dickey Fans, Listen Up. Indiana University has published The Lotus Dickey Songbook. The songbook was edited by Nancy C. McEntire, Grey Larsen and Janne Henshaw, with an introduction by Dillon Bustin. Call Richard Gilber at 812-855-5129 for more information.
• For Stevie Ray Vaughan Fans. From Kelly Richey and the Blues Diva Beverly Howell, we hear that a scholarship fund has been set up by Mrs. Martha Vaughan, Stevie Ray's mom, to assist music students at Greiner Middle School in south Dallas, which Stevie Ray attended. For information, write: Communities Foundation of Texas, Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Scholarship Fund, 46055 Live Oak, Dallas, Texas 75204. (l know, I know, this isn't about Louisville music, but, heck, I spent lots of time in Dallas in my early years, and I know any elementary school in South Dallas needs help. It's my way of getting back at the Gospel Lighthouse for tearing down my grandparents' house. So there.)
• Writers of English Prose Wanted. Here at Louisville Music News, we rely on mostly volunteer writers for our coverage and, as it often happens, we are in a low spot with regard to our roster of writers. This has happened because one or two of them have moved on to other writing jobs, some have just moved away and a couple have started their own publications. Anyway, if you are a music fan and can write coherent English sentences and have something to say about the music you love (or hate), we can offer you an outlet for your deathless prose. We need reviewers for live performances as well as recordings reviewers. There are some benefits — usually we get you into a show for free and we supply you with CDs and tapes and, very occasionally, for good writers, we have actual paying assignments. Plus, you get tearsheets and bylines for your vitae.
We need writers in all styles but particularly tor the hardcore/all-ages scene and the rock scene.
lt also helps (alot) if you have a computer with a modem. Type it once, that's our motto.
If you are interested, please call Jean Metcalfe at 241-2699 or send us a sample of your work, along with your telephone number or address or email address to: LMN, 7505 Cambridge Dr., Crestwood, KY 40014.
• Sydney's. Whenever I write about clubs opening or closing, shortly thereafter I hear about one that I missed. This time, it was Sydney's, a new club located in the Camelot Shopping Center on Herr Lane. Open for 2l/2 months, Sydney's is a restaurant and bar, with a full menu, a large screen TV and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Hours of business are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. ;Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.; and Sundays, Noon - 10 p.m. = The club is booking solos, duos and trios, so the sound is likely to be Adult Album Alternative (AAA). They also have a karaoke machine, but we won't mention that.
(Tall them at 423-0020 for more information and/or check the LMN calendar for who's playing.
• James Edward "Dock" Eastwood, 79, died on Dec. 26. Eastwood was a former member oi the American Federation of Musicians Local 11-637 and was a guitarist and banjo player.
• Kimberly J. Murrah, 32, died on Jan. l7. Ms. Murrah was a lead vocalist with the Louisville a capella vocal group Straight Company.