Rod Wenz, who is ramrodding the upcoming Jugband Festival and related activities, sent word that October 2 is the 120th anniversary of the birth of early Louisville jug band legend Earl McDonald (1885-1949). (Yet another unheralded Louisville musician.) Wenz also noted that the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs had performed in Louisville twice in a recent 90-day span after a twenty-year absence.
• I have long held a theory that the reason that Louisville has a notably restrictive barrier for buskers (musicians who perform in the street for tips) in the form of $15 (or more) daily licenses is because the monied folks, particularly the folks connected to the Derby activities, wanted to keep the poor black musicians who were the foundation of jugband music in the early part of the last century off the streets during Derby. (Might offend the upscale visitors, don't cha know.) Keeping them off the streets for the rest of the year was just a bennie.
The reason I note this is that there have been calls for cities around the country to ease their restrictions on busking as a means for making it possible for displaced New Orleans musicians to make a few dollars on whatever curbs they might have been washed up on. This was offered as a cultural plus for said cities, as busking has been a longtime tradition in New Orleans (Been there, did that - got $1.50 in 1972. Fed me twice at Buster's).
Needless to say, I do not expect Louisville to extend its hospitality quite that far, for the same reasons I have noted above. And for those who would rush to defend the city's actions at the time, remember that this is a place that wiped out a vibrant black business district (Walnut Street) in the Fifties and Sixties and build a block-and-a-half (or so wide) barrier between downtown and the West End, from Broadway to the River. The racism that drove that is still here, too.
• The Louisville Youth Orchestra is holding a final round of auditions on Sunday, October 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. They are looking for musicians up to age 21 who play the following: violin, viola, cello, bass, oboe, trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba and percussion. Contact Melody Welsh_Buchholz at 502-896-1851 for more information.
The folks out at First Quality Music have decided that their current "world domination" in the bluegrass mail-order business wasn't enough: They needed a teaching facility, too, so, of course, they built a brand-new practice facility inside their showroom. They rounded up a pretty good staff, too, including (but not limited to) Murrell Thixton of Storefront Congregation; Danny Jones, who played with the Bluegrass Alliance, Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, The Legendary Goins Brothers and Art Stamper and Glenn Gibson, who has worked with Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek and Michael Cleveland. And those are just the bluegrass instrument instructors.
You can find out more at www.fqma.com or by calling (502) 933-0050
• We Told You This Before: A new study released by the University of Louisville suggests that piano lessons in preschool will help your child with math.
A recent press release from U of L notes this: "According to the study conducted by Dr.Barbara M. Burns and her research team at the University of Louisville's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, preschoolers learning to play the piano showed significant gains in visuospatial intellect -- the ability to form mental images, visualize graphic representations, and recognize relationships of various objects to one another -- each the essential building blocks for subjects like calculus and physics." There you are, parents - music matters to math.
• The 2005 MERF event, titled MERF's Annual Rockin' In The Ville, is set for November 6. Participating acts will play at Jillian's, Stevie Ray's, Phoenix Hill, Jim Porter's and Coyote's from 8 to 12. $10. Performers interesting in participating should contact Janet Wolfe at Jazmina88@aol.com.
Errors and Corrections
Henry, Stanley A., 83, of Louisville, died on Monday, August 22. He was a professional musician.
Brown, Garnett D. 68, died in Louisville on September 24. He was bluegrass harmonica player who played with Jim Simpson and the Kentucky Mountain Grass and was an original member of his son's band, Tommy Brown and the County Line Grass.
Clark, Donald Glenn, 63 died Monday, September 5, 2005. He was a musician.