By the time you read this, it will be mere days until Ladies Sing the Blues comes around again. This year's event is set for November 6 at the Ursuline Arts Center, located at 3113 Lexington Road.
With music starting at 5 p.m., the evening promises to be an excellent one. As in the inaugural concert held last November at Lettersong Gallery, this will be a showcase of top local female vocal talent, with a focus on the voice.
Gracing the spacious UAC stage on Sunday will be (not necessarily in order of appearance) Amy Johnson, Artie Wells, Sarah Breit, Sylvia Walters, Carly Johnson, Colette Delaney, Marjorie Marshall, Tuesday Daniels and Kendra Villiger. Each will perform three songs.
While the title of the event is catchy, the genres represented will not be totally limited to blues, or at least what I like to call "blues-in-a-box." Styles presented will include jazz, standards, soul, rhythm and blues, blues-rock, perhaps some funk and maybe gospel – and of course, blues. In other words, opportunities are open for the singers to show what they can do and what they have to offer. And, it's all related to the blues in one way or another.
While the mission is to celebrate the female voice and focus on vocals, there will be several bands of five, one sextet, some quartets – and, as of now, three duos. The previously noted spacious stage area will pose no problem for the duets. Each singer was chosen for her "big" voice and soulful, powerful delivery. In other words, each could command the stage solo if necessary.
Going back to the singers for a moment. While perhaps at least half of the lineup may be somewhat familiar to folks who attend, others of these names might not seem as familiar. I must admit that I only recently met Kendra, Sarah and Tuesday. The former two were trying out tunes at Lettersong, and Tuesday Daniels was performing at Stevie Ray's during a weeknight jam. Marjorie was not in last year's lineup, although she was in attendance, and invited to the stage to participate in the all-sing finale. Colette comes from the world of musical theater.
Always on the lookout for a great female singer, it was a given that I would want to do another LSB, and the talent just simply appeared in front of me organically. They say what you focus on, you attract. Well, it must be true. They keep appearing, and the list grows.
I would be remiss if I did not name some of the key players in this production. Once again, my very able, enthusiastic and creative co-producer is Jen Grove, owner of the aforementioned Lettersong (our headquarters, so to speak). Sara Breit, who is in the lineup (and who recently appeared on WHAS-11's "Great Day Live") has worked tirelessly in several areas, focusing on fundraising. Mike Logsdon has volunteered as stage manager. A huge shout-out to him in advance, as that is often a thankless – yet extremely important – function. Our emcee will be Karen Edwards-Hunter, who has impressed me already with her willingness to prepare. Audio technician Gerry Kean will preside over the proceedings from his perch high above the large auditorium. He seems quite capable and ready for the job.
There are others; however, I choose to focus on the main folks here. There will be volunteers, without whom events like this would not be possible. And a thank-you must be sent to Julie McWilliams, the venue events coordinator and Sacred Heart School for the Arts dance department chair, for working so closely with us and communicating in a timely manner whenever any issues have arisen.
While the event is receiving lots of support, LSB is supporting a cause, as well: Proceeds will go to the Kentucky Music Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organized earlier this year to celebrate Kentucky entertainers in various genres. The goal is to establish a museum that will house memorabilia and perhaps a performance space for live tributes and other events.
For anyone who has not been inside the Ursuline Arts Center, it is perfect for an event such as this. The seating is theater/auditorium style, the stage is very large, and the lobby/entrance area sleek, spacious and modern. Even parking seems adequate.
A quick word on logistics is in order here: The entry into campus will be marked. Doors open at 4:30 (perhaps a bit before). As daylight-savings time will have ended during the wee hours of Sunday morning, some sort of visual aid might be helpful. One quick route example: Drive east away from downtown on Lexington, pass Stiltz, go left into campus between the stone pillars, turn right at first stop sign, and look for building 5. You should see some activity and find it easily.
Tickets will be available at the door for $25. There could still be tickets available for advance purchase at $20 apiece. Call Jen Grove at 502-819-1439, or Les Reynolds at 502-523-1981.
There was quite a "buzz" after the 2016 LSB. Those who attended know what a great show it was. We look forward to seeing all of you again, and new faces, at LSB2. See you there!