By Todd Smith

I would like to talk for a moment about how great Tim Krekel is, and how lucky Louisville is to claim him.

Yes, he is one s- - tkicker guitar player who has played for Jimmy Buffett; and yes, many top recording artists have covered his songs, and yes, some of those have gone to number one on the Billboard charts; but lawd 'a mercy, can this man write.

Here is a selection from one of Tim's songs, "Here's Looking At You":

Here's a torn ticket stub

From the last movie we saw

And a 1987 quarter

Your line was busy every time I called

Here's looking at you.

Here's a photograph

From the Grand Cooley Dam

It's been torn in half

And taped back together again

Here's looking at you.

The subtlety slays me. He's remembering, going through all these artifacts. The guy tore the picture up one night, then he taped it back together because he just didn't want to believe it was really over. In two lines, he captures the whole range of emotions that you go through with a break up.

Then there's "Here Ever After," a song that will tell the world what being from Louisville is really all about:

Well, they fell in love in the holding tank

The first Friday in May

It was their first offense, so they got out in time

To whoop it up on Derby day

Tim Krekel is a world class artist, as songwriter, as guitarist, as performer. He has received awards and high honors from the music industry for his work as a songwriter. Country music fans across America know his work through the artists who cover his material, though they may not know him.

At present, Krekel is one of Louisville's best-kept secrets, and perfect support for the "mecca" monicker. He is loyal to Louisville, and he and the Groovebillies give us frequent opportunities to share the experience of a Krekel show, which is always a great time. And thanks to Bobbie Watson for the pep rally that never ends.

Though he is a top-drawer musician, there is no elitism in his art. He makes music for people, not for critcs, which is very endearing (see also, "Redneck Van With A Cadillac Grill"). Anybody who can carry a tune or bang on a guitar is welcome to join him onstage, and there is a real charm to that.

Let me close with a message from another one of Tim's classics, "Everything's Gonna Be Allright," the feel-good smash of a summer coming up in the very near future:

Everything's gonna be all right

I worked a deal out with the stars

They're gonna leave on all their lights

And no matter where you are

I'm gonna make it through the night.

Krekel is a Louisville institution, but I believe the time is nigh when the rest of the world will catch on. Too bad for us if there's any justice in this lifetime, because he'll be a superstar and we'll have to share him with the rest of the world.