Paul Moffett

Down On The Corner
By Paul Moffett

I have been in the middle of a number of conversations over the last several months about the state of the Louisville music scene, such as it is. If you're a player or player-to-be, you would not want to have heard what was said - but not about the musical abilities of Louisville acts, but rather about lack of music business competence of the players in town. The relatively low attendance at the recent NARAS event was evidence of the disinterest that musicians have for learning something about the "business" end of the business.

Tom Sobel of the Comedy Caravan calls it the "Magic Man" attitude: many players are waiting for a "Magic Man (a.k.a. agent/manager/record company)" to come along and make them rich, famous and successful; since Mr. Magic sure to be along any minute, why bother to learn anything about the business? Just play real good, that's all it takes.

Yeah, right.

I've been unhappily aware of this problem for years; it's not new or exclusively the problem of young players, either. It's been pervasive in Louisville for some time. The few acts that do get it together on the business side also - amazingly - are the ones who gig the most and, curiously, are often the target of the scorn of many of the other musicians in town.

Well, for those players smart enough to know they need to learn all they can, the Louisville Music Industry Alliance is organizing a series of workshops on the music business for working (club and touring) musicians, to be taught by a man who has made and continues to make his living making music on a national level - U of L Associate Professor John La Barbera. The Grammy-winning La Barbera makes a significant chunk of change from his copyrights on the compositions, arrangements and charts that he his created over the years. He performs, conducts - he's going to Brazil this spring for a guest conductor gig - and teaches. He was the music director of the Buddy Rich orchestra for twenty-odd years, so he understands the rigors of the road - which have not significantly changed for rock or country or any other kind of music genre.

The workshops will have two main themes - the first on Performance, the second on Intellectual Property, a.k.a, songwriting, composing and copyrights. There will be three workshops for each theme, held early on Saturday afternoons, leaving you plenty of time to get to your gigs. There will lots of opportunity for Q&A as well, so you can ask the questions you've been wanting to. The dates are May 19 & 26, June 16, and July 14, 21 & 28. Locations will be announced prior to the first event.

You can attend any or all of these sessions as you wish, but to attend any of them, you must be a member of LMIA. Memberships are $50. For more information, either call the Louisville Music News office at 502-893-9933 or LMIA President Kellie Burton days at 479-2126.

If further proof is needed the WFPK is the most innovative and involved radio station in the city, then try this: FPK has organized the "Non-Comm AAA Meeting #1," a gathering of radio programmers of non-commercial radio stations (a.k.a. AAA), to be held at the Public Radio Partnership's H.S.A. Broadband Building on May 11-12. Thus far, some twenty-five programmers are scheduled to attend. In addition to talking about matters of concern to AAA and public radio, they will catch some live music at various showcases and chat with record company executives, concert promoters and other industry leaders. Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell will perform at a special "Live Lunch" on May 11 at noon.

Dallas Moore bassist Bob Rutherford, also know as artist manager Bob Rutherford, got the "endorsing artist" treatment from Chicago-based Ashdown Engineering, makers of bass amps, among other things. Rutherford wound up with the company's RPM1 Bass Preamplifier and ABM-810 speaker cabinet, apparently lightening his road tonnage somewhat. The press release details both Rutherford's comments about the gear and the gear's technical aspects. For more info, click on the band's website at

Mike McAfee, the manager at Willis Music in Oxmoor called the other day to tell LMN about a free guitar workshop they're holding. The workshop is being taught by Matt Smith, and will cover technique, theory, alternate tunings and maintenance, with Q&A at the end. You can bring your own instrument, of course. The workshop will happen on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. Call 426-1818 for information and to make reservations.

Here's an item of some interest: Ms. Elaine Ford will once more be booking Tuesday nights at the Butchertown Pub. While the budget (she says) will be modest, it's a possible gig on a Tuesday night for acts coming through or already here. She says she's doing it for "fun" this time, instead of trying to make a living. She musta wised up over the years. You may e-mail her at

The Louisville Youth Orchestra is holding three SuperSummerStrings orchestra camps for young string players this summer. Camp I, for players with less than one year experience, is set for July 23-27 at North Oldham Middle School in Oldham County; Camp II, for players with one to three years experience, will be held the same days at North Oldham and Camp III will be held July 30-August 3 at the Louisville Central Area Community Center, 1225 W. Jefferson St. All three camps will have a culminating concert. The cost is $40. For more information or to get an application, contact Melody Welsh-Buchholtz at 502-584-0135.

Violin teacher Gloria Spurlock has arranged a special field trip for her students: Spurlock and forty of her students have been invited to perform onstage at Carnegie Hall in the Big Apple on June 16. They'll be joining The School for Strings for a Festival Graduation Concert. A local preview will be held at the Cathedral of the Assumption on Sunday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m., at which the selections to be performed at Carnegie Hall will be presented. The preview event is free and open to the public.

The a capella Pride of Kentucky Chorus is holding auditions for singers over the age of 18. The group is preparing to compete internationally in Portland, Oregon this fall and is in the process of recording a CD. For more information, call 368-7664.

Patrick Moore scored a bit of a coup when he got Jon Jang, the Asian American composer who was in town in February as part of Jazz Week 2001, to appear on "Louisville Late Night," Moore's weekly public access show. The program will include an excerpt from Jang's concert performance at U of L. The programs with Jang will be aired on May 10 and 24 at 6 p.m.

There are a couple of free clinics of note in May at Mom's Music in Jeffersonville. On May 2, Brad Dutz will offer a clinic on Hand Percussion and on May 9, Chuck Yamek will present a guitar clinic, courtesy of Gibson guitars. Call 283-3304 for more information.

Speaking of Mom's, owner Marvin Maxwell is at home in Nabb, Indiana, recovering from spinal surgery, performed to relieve pressure from a very painful cyst. Maxwell is hoping to return to work in a few weeks.

The Kentucky Center has a new Marketing Manager. Robin Hicks, a violinist who has performed with many arts groups in the area, was formerly a Production Coordinator with the New York Philharmonic. She will be developing advertising and promotional strategies for Kentucky Center Presents concerts and events.

For the players out there, a little incentive: from The Blue Moon, the publication of the Kentucky Arts Council, comes the list of "Artist in Residence" roster of Approved Artists for 2002. In the music side of the list, note the following Louisville-area players: Gregory Acker (Ut Gret, etc.); drummer Phyllis Free and Homefront founder and host John Gage. Why are these folks on the list? They went out and found out how to apply, what else they needed to do and put in the effort required to be considered. Darnedest thing, that: it's like suddenly realizing that the only people who get a hit are the ones who swing at the ball. Batting practice, anyone?


Otis E. Rexroat, 83, died in Louisville on April 18. He was a former gospel singer with a 38-year career.

Thomas "Bubba" White Jr., 75, died on April 17 in Louisville. He was a retired musician and a member of the American Federation of Musicians.