• The conversion of the Galleria into Louisville Live! (gag) is underway, with large parts of the old structure now in pieces on the ground. No new tenants have been announced since the groundbreaking in early July. At that time, announced tenants included Hard Rock Café, a Borders Books & Music and McFadden's, an Irish pub.
• Recently, while tearing my hair out (what's left of it) over the loss of the IBMA Trade Show and Fan Fest to Nashville, I was at the receiving end of an enlightening thought about how to communicate to the City of Louisville administration and to those in the business of attracting businesses to Louisville, an effort at which I had failed miserably a couple of years back when I was in a somewhat better position to get through to those folks.
The reason for even being concerned is that I have long held the position that hizzoner the Mayor and others in the Business Development end of things have a very single-minded view of the music business: shows. As in "Let's get more concerts and festivals and shows and festivals." The reason for this seems to be that they are busy thinking about how to attract more and larger conventions to town and view live musical events as one of the little bennies that they can offer. End of story.
The analogy that came to mind was this: Suppose that the City/County/State decided that they wanted to attract the automotive industry to town and their idea for doing that was this: "Let's get more new car dealers and used car lots to open up and set up training for car salesmen and mechanics. That'll bring a lot of money to town."
Naturally, they're not that dumb: they know that cars have to be built: they can see them. What amazes me is that it doesn't seem to occur to anyone that music has to be created and CDs recorded and duplicated and distributed and sold and the publishing administered and royalties collected, all before any live music shows happen at all. Jazz composer, performer and U of L instructor John La Barbera says that as far as he understands it (and he understands it very well), the further removed in the industry you are from the actual production of the music, the more money you make.
Of course, there have been some efforts to improve the chops of the existing musicians vis-à-vis the existing music industry (note the next couple of items) and that's a small step in the right direction. It's also unfortunate that in the last few years, it has become very clear that the old methods of operating in the industry is changing drastically and a new one hasn't clearly come to the fore, so turnkey operations aren't available, if they ever were.
• Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys has gotten together with an old friend, Keith McGuffey, to open The Music Workshop at 624 W. Main St. St. 600 in downtown Louisville. The business will offer workshops in dealing with the recording industry, songwriting and publishing and an introductory course in Pro Tools®. They also have a recording studio for making demos but will not be available for rent on an hourly basis. Call 502-587-9898 for more information.
• Wayne Young has taken actions to create the Musicians' Entertainment & Resource Foundation (MERF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the music industry in Louisville. Young spent several years in the late `80s and early `90s as the President of the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund, an organization created to assist musicians who were down on their luck. An initial Board of Directors as been formed and officers have been elected. Young is the President, Ryan Murphy, Vice President; Donna Reddick, Secretary and Margo Maxwell, Treasurer. Other Board members include Mark and Max Maxwell and Mark Craycraft.
A City Nightclub Show, modeled after the successful MERF shows of the early `90s, has been scheduled for November 16. Musicians interested in performing can contact Young at firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Louisville Youth Orchestra will hold auditions on September 6 and 7 for any young musician (through age 21) who plays an orchestral instrument. For information or to apply, contact Melody Welsh-Buchholz at 584-0135 or log onto www.lyo.org.
• The Motet Singers will hold auditions on September 2 and 4 at Bethany Baptist Church, 2319 Taylorsville Rd., beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Sandy Beard at 502-896-6908
• Out at Rubbie's Barbeque on Southside Dr., the Sunday night jam session has been going on successfully for five years. A CD, Rubbies, of material from the various groups that have played there has been released and is available for sale for $8.
• Robert W. Netherton, 68, died in Louisville on August 9, 2003. He was a tenor with the barbershop groups the Thoroughbred and Southern Gateway Choruses and with the Citation Quartet/
• Darlene I. Stewart, died in Louisville on July 26. She was a country singer who performed with her sister as the Collins Sisters and with her husband Redd Stewart.
• Henry Redd Stewart, 80, died in Louisville on August 3. Along with fiddler Pee Wee King, Stewart co-wrote 'The Tennessee Waltz,' 'Slow Poke,' 'Bonaparte's Retreat' and "You Belong to Me,." among others. He played in King's band, The Golden West Cowboys for many years, including a long stint on the Grand Ol' Opry. He earned up two Gold Records and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
• Donald D. Stilts, 73, died in Palmetto, FL on August 7. He was the band director at Butler High School in Louisville from the late `50s until he retired in 1982. He was the director of the Shively Civic Band and Louisville Youth Band and a director of the Kosair Brass Band.