KENTUCKY STANDARD, "PAPA" AND FRIENDS

By Wally Stewart

A question-"How often can you spend an evening with literary giants Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and F. Scott Fitzgerald while munching on hot muffins and soaking up good acoustic music?" The answer-"Any Friday night at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers'Cafe on Hurstbourne Lane. On February 28 Bardstown's Kentucky Standard Band filled the cafe and store with its new age-tinged folk artistry while "Papa" Hemingway and friends gazed down from their own cafe in a large wall mural. They and the store's customers enjoyed the show together with the band's fans. Bandleader Nancy Johnson is well-known as the founder, host and driving force of the long-running and much loved Kentucky Music Weekend. She also plays lap dulcimer, emcees and writes songs for KY Standard. Ken Baldwin handles the guitars and Alice Burton the hammered dulcimer. Normally all three vocalize but due to sound problems this was mostly an instrumental night. Two lengthy sets showcased cuts from the group's latest release,-"Angels Of Mercy"-(Available at the store.) previous recordings and traditional favorites. Johnson's "Neptune's Daughter" is a gorgeous effort and we were treated to it in each set. Midway through the second round Nancy had fun with a "Name That Tune" song. A quick, collective sigh, then soft harmonies arose all around as The Everly Brothers' treasured "Let It Be Me" unfolded. The group joked with each other and the audience, and honored some requests. After repeated demand Burton agreed to do "Dancing Bear;" this fun, uptempo tune caused her hammers to dance on the strings, earning lots of applause and thanks. Between sets and after the concert both performers and fans enjoyed mingling in the informal setting. The band doesn't get to Louisville often and tonight's appreciation showed-"We saw you at KY Music Weekend." was often heard. The cafe is not "walled-off" and this allowed customers to stop alongside and listen for a while without searching for an empty chair. (There weren't many.) This free series has been operating regularly for a year, for information call 502-426-0255. "Papa" and his friends will have a relaxing, fun evening waiting for you.