• While your humble editor is slaving away this July weekend, down on the Belvedere, the Forecastle Fest is wrapping up its run. Organizer JK McKnight got pretty nice weather as well as Robert Kennedy Jr., so he should be happily ready to set up the next event. For the record, "Forecastle" is a part of a sailing ship and is properly pronounced "Foc'sle" - not that I've heard anybody here in the middle of the continent call it that.
• The number of music tours that are scheduled to come to Louisville during August far exceeds the normal mid-summer, during-the-fair rate, which can be accounted for by the continuing slow deflation of the record business. Performers old and new are on the road, looking for ways to make some money to replace what has been lost in failing CD sales. With gas prices well higher than last year (though somewhat down from earlier this year), it's also possible that we might see a shakeout in the mid-to-lower range of talent on the road, as only the most successful performers will be able to pay the gas bill. This means, on the one hand, that there will likely be fewer new bands showing up in town from California but more Louisville bands hanging close and working harder to make a few bucks. Altogether, it's a vary tough time for the music business.
• A new, all-ages art gallery, screen-printing shop, record company HQ and music venue called Skull Alley has opened at 1017 E. Broadway, just west of the Barret Ave. intersection. The space is somewhat thought of as a replacement for the LAVA House, which was destroyed by fire earlier this year. They're booking punk shows three times a week or so.
• The Louisville Youth Orchestra will hold auditions for its 50th Anniversary season from Friday, September 5 through Tuesday, September 9, 2008. Auditions are from musicians through the age of twenty-one who play any orchestral instrument. Contact Melody Welsh-Buchholz at 502-896-1851 to schedule an audition or log onto www.lyo.org to download an audition application.
• Todd Smith's Label X is calling it quits, in spite of a string of releases that, in times past, would have pushed the label up the ladder toward success. Distributor Toucan Cove will pick up the existing acts' products. Chalk it up to the collapse of the record business.
Greg Cason, 56, died on June 8. He was a musician who performed in the house band at the old Jim Dandy's and later in a duo with his wife, billed as Greg and Ruby.
Paul Alexander Jeffrey, Sr., 82, formerly of Smithfield, Kentucky, died on July 20 in Smyrna, TN. He was a professional saxophone player and owned the South Fork Lounge in Louisville in the 1980s and 1990s.
Harry C. Lewman, 58, died in Louisville on July 9. In addition to performing in the Louisville area for many years, he wrote and published Lead Belly, no stranger to the blues, a compendium of 31 of Leadbelly's most famous songs, annotated and scored for guitar. Keith Clements has a remembrance on page 9.
Jo Stafford, 90. died in Century City, California, on July 16 at 90. Stafford had a long and notable singing career, beginning in the early Forties and lasting until her retirement in 1966. Her most famous song, "You Belong To Me," was penned by Louisvillian Chilton Price, with some credit to Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart.
Artie Traum, 65, folksinger and producer, died in Woodstock, NY, on Sunday, August 20, from liver cancer. He was a veteran of the Greenwich Village folk music scene of the Sixties and recorded with and produced many of the biggest names in the folk/rock scene, including Bela Fleck and the Band.