• The first two months of the year have been rather difficult for me as well as other Louisville music fans, with the deaths of Phil Bailey, Ronn Reed and Joe Peebles coming so close together. We shake our heads and lament their early passing, perhaps speculating on the excesses of their early years (if any!) that might have accelerated their passing, without really knowing. Like humans before us, we search for cause and meaning that might yield understanding but, like those who've been here on the planet before us, we can only gaze blankly at what is, finally, unknowable. Then we go on about our lives, knowing that one day others will think the same thoughts about us. Let's just hope that we can contribute something before we go, give back as we have received and not be thought ill of at our passing.
And so back to the froth flying from the wave . . .
• In the area of giving back, Volunteer Records, c/o The Center for Hospice Care in Millburn, NJ, is putting together a project of Christmas songs for the 2002 Holiday Season, currently titled "Ho, Ho, Hospice." They're looking for songs for this project. For more information, call 973-322-0166 or email VolRecords@aol.com or log onto http://hometown.aol.com/volrecords.html
• Steilberg String Instruments will present a free workshop called "Frontiers of Acoustic Rock Guitar with Mike Keneally featuring Bryan Beller on Taylor Acoustic Bass" on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. Keneally will explore unusual playing styles, improv, composition and ways an electric guitarist can mix acoustic guitar knowledge into his work. Steilberg String Instruments is at 4029 "Old" Bardstown Rd. For more information, call 502-491-2337.
• Looking ahead a bit, there will be a Musicians' Wellness Workshop held in Louisville on May 24-26 and presented by Dr. Louise Montello, a professional musician, music therapist and psychoanalyst. The workshop will focus on dealing with performance stress and the psychophysiology of the stage fright reaction. For more about this fairly complex issue, log onto www.musicianswellness.org . For local Louisville information, contact Miriam Klein at 502-493-4687 or email her at email@example.com.
• The Kentucky Center for the Arts will have a grand reopening bash, following a long period of renovation. The Rockin', Stompin' Jazzin', Munchin' KCA Grand Reopening Bash will be held on Friday, March 22 with free parties and a concert, plus a paid event or two. The Smithereens will present a free concert at midnight, poetry will be read, STOMP will be present in Whitney Hall and there will be a Sports Bar with NCAA coverage and a bookie in the corner. (Just joking about the bookie.) However, you'll have to check with them about other times, as that was not part of their press release.
• The UJAMMA 2002 series of performances, "Dancing Through the Decades," will be held at the Memorial Auditorium March 4-8. UJAMMA is an ensemble project by children ages 6-18 from all over Jefferson County who take an eight-week course in African American Musical Theatre, then present a weeklong performance. For reservations, call 636-2672.
• Jim Beam Music has announced their 2002 programs. The B.E.A.M. grant program, sponsored by Jim Beam, is a grant program for unsigned artists. The program will adward $100,000 in grants in 2002, which can be used for any music-related financial need, including recording costs, rehearsal space fees and equipment purchaces. Applications are available at www.jimbeam.com, with deadlines for each round of March 29, June 14 and August 30.
In the country category, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry are the spokesperson for the 2002 Jim Beam Country Band Search, which stages showcases and allows country acts to compete for a national title. Troy Gentry won in 1994, which jump-started his career. For the 2002 Jim Beam Rock Band Search, Beam is partnering with Rolling Stone magazine and RollingStone.com to stage an online rock band search. For info, logon to www.jimbeammusic.net.
Beam is also present its first national concert tour, called "Road to the Rackhouse," starting in April Two national acts will showcase the 20-market club tour, with unsigned B.E.A.M. Network bands getting a shot at an opening slot. The tour will conclude in Louisville.
• In case you missed the news, Garageband.com has gone belly up and site down. The problem was the same old same old: they ran out of money. Read more about the sad story at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-839312.html?legacy=cnet
• Jane Peabody Durham, 81, died on February 9 in Louisville. A graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she sang at the old Iroquois Amphitheater in light opera with leads in such productions as Madam Butterfly.
• Stewart ``Joe'' Peebles, 54, died Wednesday, February 6, 2002 in Louisville. Peebles was the former band leader of The Experts and currently played with The Epics and Soul Impalers. He was a former officer of Musicians Emergency Relief Fund.