By Rick Forest

I don't know about you, but it's been pretty hard for me to think about music interviews the past couple of weeks. Ever since the attacks on New York and Washington DC, I've been kind of numb. Food doesn't taste the same; the ordinary pleasures of life are diminished. Somehow the little details of the business don't seem to hold much interest for me. Who cares about when or where a particular piece of music was recorded, or whether or not it was raining that day, or what the bass player had for lunch. The world as we know it has been rocked and it will take some time for the dust in our hearts to settle. While the minutiae of the music seem unimportant, the music itself remains vital.

The oft-misquoted poet William Congreve noted that "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." The music we love - Jazz, Bluegrass, Opera, Rock, Punk, Polka, whatever - has the ability to calm us, comfort us, stir us, revive us and help us to piece our lives back together. I, for one, have been listening to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue to help calm myself, occasionally dipping into some Coltrane, Phil Keaggy and even a bit of Brahms. Whatever helps you, listen to it. Allow it to work its magic on you. Life will be different, to be sure, but it will go on. Those who attacked us have misinterpreted our tolerance for racial, religious and social diversity as weakness.

That is not the case. As we have seen lately, rocker and rapper, bopper and balladeer can and will unite to rebuild and restore hope. Working together, we can see this through. One way to restore normalcy and deal with our grief is to carry on with the business of life. And so we do.

Vikki True returns home this month to perform as part of the Berkshire Artists Group from Massachusetts at the Kentucky Theatre on Theater Square. Vikki began singing in church at the age of 6 and has been drawn to the spotlight ever since. At 15, she began singing in local Coffee Houses and clubs. At 16, she began studying voice at U of L and apprenticed with Shakespeare in Central Park. Vikki later studied at IU and UK, eventually performing with the likes of Eddie Harris, Groove Holmes, and Johnny Lytle. She has opened shows for Spyro Gyra, Joanne Brackeen, Taj Mahal, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. For the past 15 years, she has lived and worked in the northeast, but she comes back October 3 through 7 for a series of performances around our fair city.

At 10 p.m on Wednesday, October 3, Vikki will appear at the Rudyard Kipling with the JazzKatz, featuring Ray Johnson at the piano, Gary Falk on sax, Max Falk behind the drums, and her musical director, Richard Downs, on bass. From the 4th to the 6th, she'll perform as part of "Play On! Music is the Food of Life," a cooperative effort between The Kentucky Theater Project and Berkshire Artists Group to benefit the Kentucky Theater Project Community Outreach Programming. On Thursday, Vikki performs at 10 p.m. in "True Blue," a cabaret of blues and baud. You can get $2 off of the $10 ticket price if you bring along a non-perishable food item to be donated to various local food pantries.

On Friday, you'll find her performing an autobiographical cabaret called "Mama, Mamaw, and Me" at 10:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the 6th, Vikki is rejoined by the JazzKatz for a two-hour concert that will include selections from her new CD, Broke Down Girl/Louisville Session. Finally, Vikki performs at First Unitarian Church at the corner of 4th and York on Sunday the 7th. The time for that gig was not available, but I'm sure if you call the church they'd be glad to let you know.

Rumor has it that after a summer's hiatus, Jazz jams resume with Sandy Neuman at the Comedy Caravan on October 7. From what I hear, the jams will be on Sunday afternoons from 4-7, just before the Comedy acts begin. Sandy will be joined by Renato Vasconsalas on piano, Sonny Stephens on bass, Greg Walker playing guitar, and Colby Inzer at the drums. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, unless the Bengals make it to the playoffs (I can dream, can't I?).

Java Men fans, fear not, I really do want to get with them and see what this quartet thing is all about. Hopefully next month.