Joe Roberts, a Bowling Green native who played guitar for more than a decade as a part of Orchestra Kentucky shows, died Monday of an apparent heart attack. He was 56 years old.
Roberts was a member of the group The Rewinders. He was a self-taught guitar player who received acclaim for his solos.
“Well he really loves music and you could see that in his playing,” said Orchestra Kentucky music director Jeff Reed. “When he played solos, it was definitely from the heart and it exhibited his love for the music he was playing.”
Roberts’ death came just days before Orchestra Kentucky’s scheduled “Beatlemadness” concert in Bowling Green. Reed says the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” won’t be the same without Roberts’ guitar solo.
“That song has become associated with Joe as he would play the Eric Clapton solo. You know, Eric Clapton played the original guitar solo,” said Reed. “He never failed to get a standing ovation whenever we played it in the many places we played around the United States.”
No theme has dominated country radio playlists and charts more in the past couple of years than celebration of the sort of small-town good life that features trucks, beer and scantily clad women as the must-have accessories. The young country duo Maddie & Tae aren't fans of the third element in the "bro-country" trinity.
Counting Crows, a band which had several hits in the 1990s, is set to perform this weekend at the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset. The schedule of artists also includes St. Paul and the Broken Bones, a band featured in March on Morning Edition.
Festival president Tiffany Bourne says organizers aren’t restricted to any particular kind of music when they finalize the lineup.
“We just look at any and all genres for musical excellence,” said Bourne. “We try to bring musical excellence to rural Kentucky. We don’t really have a criteria, we just pick what we think the crowd’s gonna like.”
Bourne says this weekend’s lineup will include some local fare. Four local singer-songwriters have been chosen to perform in the “Songwriter Social” at Noon Eastern Saturday.
“That’s another great part of our festival is that we have a lot of local bands that get to share the same stage as national artists,” said Bourne.
WKU alumnus Larnelle Harris is among the winners of the 2014 Governor’s Awards in the Arts. The honorees were announced Wednesday by the Kentucky Arts Council. Harris has won five Grammy awards and is a member of the Gospel Hall of Fame.
The City of Danville will be honored with the Government award for its contributions to the arts. Danville hosts the annual Great American Brass Band Festival each June.
The awards will be presented in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort in October.
Owensboro is shooting to become the northernmost point on the Americana Music Triangle looking to join other cities on the 1,500 mile trail that includes nine music genres.
Currently, New Orleans serves as the southern point while the northern points include the Tennessee cities of Memphis and Nashville.
Aubrey Preston and the Franklin, Tennessee based Americana Music Association created the trail and recently visited Owensboro to discuss with local officials the possibility of including it.
The city's become a hub for bluegrass music and tourism. It's home to the International Bluegrass Music Museum and holds and annual bluegrass festival, the River of Music Party or ROMP, that draws about 20,000 people.
Author Louis Hatchett discusses his book, which details the life of Duncan Hines
Louis Hatchett was a graduate student in search of a master’s thesis when he came upon a book called “Adventures in Good Eating”. The author was Duncan Hines and the book would transform the course of Hatchett’s professional life.
“Duncan Hines is probably a kindred spirit,” said Hatchett. “When I read that he would travel from Chicago to Detroit for lunch, I said ‘this man is just like me’, because I’ve traveled 200 miles to eat a steak and gone back home the same day.”
We visited recently with Hatchett at the Duncan Hines Exhibit at the Kentucky Museum on the WKU campus.
After compiling reams of research, the Henderson, Kentucky author eventually produced a 750-page manuscript. He whittled the content down to 75 pages for his thesis and 300 pages for a book called “Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the Most Trusted Name in Food”. The book was originally published under a slightly different title in 2001, but was republished this spring.
In the book, Hatchett contends that Hines created a revolution when it came to roadside dining. He says more people died from food poisoning in the 1930s along American roadways than they did in car accidents.
The Great American Brass Band Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend in Danville. Brass band music fans from around the world are expected to descend upon the town for the event.
“The best brass bands play on our stages – it’s quite an honor for them to do so. And so we bring the best of the best, and I think that’s part of why we’ve survived for 25 years and we intend to be around for many more, ” said executive director Niki Kinkade.
Kinkade says the event is expected to draw 30,000 people this weekend.
“It’s very much a community driven festival, we are basically financially supported by our community and through volunteerism and through all sorts of different activities that go on over the four-day weekend," said Kinkade. "The entire community comes together and helps to put this event on.”
The forecast for rain this weekend has led to the cancelation of the Stucky Music Festival set for Saturday near the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.
Thirteen bands had been scheduled to play throughout the day Saturday. Organizers say tickets purchased online have already been refunded, while those who purchased them in person will need to return them for a refund.
The Kentucky Derby will be run this Saturday in Louisville. The thoroughbred horse race, now 140 years old, is one of the country’s legendary sporting events, but it also played a major role in spawning a new kind writing style, created by another Louisville product, the late Hunter S. Thompson.
As Rick Howlett of Here & Now contributing station WFPL in Louisville reports, there’s a new appreciation for the founder of Gonzo journalism in his native city and state.
An organizer of an upcoming book festival in Bowling Green says it’s becoming more of a challenge to get authors at larger publishers to appear at events for free.
Kristie Lowry is literary outreach coordinator with WKU Libraries, and an organizer with the Southern Kentucky Book Festival. She says book companies have cut their budgets related to book tours and marketing campaigns.
“So getting the authors to come to an event like ours for free, which would have been a little easier back in the day, is harder to do now,” Lowry told WKU Public Radio. “And Penguin and Random House have their own speaker bureaus now, so they market their authors, but you have to pay a fee in order to have them come into town.”
Lowry says another growing trend in the literary world is the rising number of self-published authors. She says many self-published writers in the southern Kentucky region, like Allison Jewell and Jennie Brown, have loyal followings and are well-received when they appear on panels at local book festivals.