Arts & Culture

Lost River Sessions

Singer/songwriter Tim Easton plays the Crocker Farm Winery on this month's Lost River Sessions radio broadcast. Originally from Akron, Ohio, Easton traveled around Europe for seven years honing his craft. He now lives in Nashville. 

In the second half of the show, Harpeth Rising performs.  The group is made up of Maria Di Meglio on cello, Michelle Younger on banjo and Jordana Greenberg on violin. Their performance was recorded at the Kentucky Museum on the campus of WKU. 

Institute of Southern Jewish Life

A synagogue in Owensboro, Kentucky is preparing to hold services for the High Holy Days that begin at sundown on Oct. 2. 

The synagogue was built in 1877 by 13 founding families. There are currently seven member families, as well as a few non-members who participate.

The effort to keep the synagogue functioning is led by two Jewish members who open the doors for a Friday evening study session. Through those open doors have come several non-Jews drawn to the Jewish teachings.

“Come let us welcome the Sabbath. May its radiance illumine our hearts as we kindle these tapers,” said synagogue President Sandy Bugay, as she recently lit the candles that mark that start of the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown Friday and ends at sundown Saturday.

Bugay led the Hebrew blessing for the half-dozen people gathered around a table in a meeting room at the synagogue:

Naomi McCulloch

J.D. Vance's memoir of growing up poor in Appalachia, both in Kentucky and Ohio, Hillbilly Elegy, has been on the New York Times best-seller list since it came out early this summer.

It's the story of his life, but also the story of white, working-class "hillbillies"--people he describes as having a very deep affiliation with Appalachia and the communities that make up the region.

Vance says the "elegy" in the book's title doesn't imply the death of the culture but it shows a "sad reflection" of parts of the area. "It's important to note it's not what's going on in every part of hillbilly country," he says. "There are some good things along with the bad. But there are some very significant problems."

Vance admittedly had a lot of things work out for him. He joined the Marines right out of high school, graduated from Ohio State University right after that and then onto Yale Law School. "This isn't a 'boot-strap' story about how one kid through grit and determination and brain power made it," he says. "It's more a story of how one kid got really lucky. People feel pretty kicked and down in this part of the world, the world has been tough in this area."

Bowling Green International Festival

Downtown Bowling Green will be a showcase for more than 50 international cultures this weekend.

The 27th annual Bowling Green International Festival is being held Saturday at Circus Square Park.

The event will feature information booths, musical performances, and food from more than 50 cultures. Festival board member Hannah Barahona says it’s a showcase for the many refugee and immigrant communities in Bowling Green.

“It’s a good opportunity for people to come learn about other cultures, and experience new things and new foods, and new music. But at the same time, we’re really unique in that we offer the international community here in Bowling Green an opportunity to showcase and share the things that are most special from their cultures.”

Barahona says the event has seen major growth since she started volunteering eight years ago.

Cheryl Beckley

The Carmonas, Misty Mountain String Band and Dead Broke Barons performed at the first Lost River Sessions Live! concert Thursday night at the Capitol Arts Center in Bowling Green. LRS Live! is a new monthly concert series presented by WKU Public Broadcasting. 

Between sets, emcee Barbara Deeb was joined on stage for Q&As with some of the musicians and Lost River Sessions TV producer Darius Barati. 

The next show is set for Oct. 27 and artists will be announced soon. 


Bellarmine University

This week, Bellarmine University posted a short clip on Facebook in which a man in a dark charcoal suit leads Mother Teresa to a table covered in a tangle of wires and microphones. She sits facing a room full of people, cameras flashing.

It’s 1982. At the invitation of the university’s president, Eugene Petrik, Mother Teresa had agreed to visit the campus and speak. The video captures a short news conference for local journalists. When asked if she had any statements, Mother Teresa said this:

“God has given you a very beautiful gift, having a chance to proclaim the good news. Make a strong resolution in your life that you will always write something beautiful, something that will always lift the hearts of the people, something that will help them to love one another as God loves them.”

On Sept. 4, Mother Teresa will be canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. She led a life of service — and along the way it turns out that she had an unlikely Kentucky pen pal with whom she practiced what she preached to that group of Louisville journalists.

This month's Lost River Sessions features The Howlin' Brothers, a Nashville trio featuring a mix of bluegrass and blues.  The Howlin Brothers are made up of Ian Craft, JT Huskey and Jared Green.  Their performance was recorded at The Arling in Franklin, Ky. 

In the second half of our show, singer-songwriter Mark Whitley.  His full-time gig is making furniture, but he also sings, plays the guitar and the harmonica.  His concert was recorded at the Brickyard Cafe in Franklin. 

Orchestra Kentucky

Orchestra Kentucky is beginning a national search for its next executive director. 

Darrell Edwards left the post with the Bowling Green-based group earlier this month after 12 years on the job.

Orchestra Kentucky Music Director Jeffrey Reed credits Edwards with helping transform the group, which began as a chamber orchestra doing about six concerts a year.

“When we hired Darrell we had just existed for three or four seasons, so we were in our infancy. He gave us experience and vision, helping us realize we really could step out and grow the organization.” 

In the past 12 years, Orchestra Kentucky’s annual budget has increased from $50,000 to $900,000. The group now does about 15 concerts a year that include classical and popular music.

Lost River Sessions

The duo of Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer play as part of this month's Lost River Sessions episode. They are two, five-string fiddle players who make up 10 String Symphony.  Their performance was recorded at Loving Chapel Stables in Franklin, Ky. 

In the second half of the show, Mt. Victor Revue plays at South Union Shaker Village in Auburn, Ky. Mt. Victor Revue, a Bowling Green band, is made up of Ernie Small on mandolin and vocals, Chris Durbin on banjo and vocals, Eddie Mills on upright bass, Bruce Kessler on guitar and vocals, Bob Zoellner on accordion and Joel Whittinghill on fiddle. 

Kevin Willis

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is holding a town hall meeting to gather suggestions on ways to improve arts education.

SKyPAC is hosting the meeting Thursday, Aug. 4.

SKyPAC education outreach coordinator Joshua Miller says the goal is to get feedback from community members, educators, and artists about the center’s outreach efforts aimed at young people.

“What you’re investing in is potentially the citizen for the next 30 years of where you’re living. I think it’s just important that we pore into them, and create opportunities for the youth--as well as the community--to express, to collaborate, to be together in spaces, especially with everything going on in our society today.”

Miller says those attending will be asked for input on the following questions:

Stephen Jerkins/WPLN

It's an estate sale for the ages. Stuff belonging to Bill Monroe, the "Father of Bluegrass," is on sale this weekend just outside of Nashville. As the patriarch of a genre and of a passionate musical family, artifacts from his rise to prominence are in high demand.

Now, 20 years after his death, the Monroe family is cleaning out the closets. Some of the relics from Monroe's life have become almost priceless — like his Gibson mandolin, which he played almost exclusively and famously sold for a million dollars. But that's at the Country Music Hall of Fame, not here at the Monroe family studio in Gallatin, Tenn. The place is surrounded by horse pastures, and some old favorites are playing through the speakers.

As Monroe's "high lonesome" sound rings out, shoppers pick through items that are a little more garage-sale-grade. Hannah Fitzpatrick, snagging some deer antlers, says she's not even much of a bluegrass fan. But another customer, John Vaughn, is, and he's already wearing his funky leather jacket. He says it has "energy."

"I paid 200 bucks for it," he adds. "So now all I can do is pray for fall to get here so I can rock it every day."

Others throw down $10 for a mandolin pick with a certificate of authenticity. Monroe's old musician's union card went for $30. The signed portraits from Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard go quickly.

Emil Moffatt

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center has named Rick McCue has its permanent executive director.

Rick McCue was named interim executive director of SKyPac in May, after the group parted ways with Jan Zarr.

McCue is a former Vice-President and General Manager of WBKO Television in Bowling Green.

In a statement released by SKYPAC Tuesday,  McCue said the facility and its mission have been a passion of his since it opened in 2012.

SKyPAC is a 1,743 seat auditorium that is home to Orchestra Kentucky, and traveling musical and arts performances.

Lost River Sessions

Episode 5 of Lost River Sessions on radio features Nashville band Forlorn Strangers and Paducah's Red Ember. 

Forlorn Strangers has a new album due out in August.  Their performance was recorded at the Warehouse at Mt. Victor in Bowling Green.  Red Ember's set was recorded at the Phoenix Theater in downtown Bowling Green. 

flickr/creative common/Rand Snyderman

Appalachian music patriarch Ralph Stanley, who helped expand and popularize the bluegrass sound, has died. He was 89.

His publicist, Kirt Webster, says Stanley died Thursday.

Stanley was born and raised in southwest Virginia. He and brother Carter formed the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946. The brothers fused Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe's rapid rhythms with the mountain folk of groups such as the Carter Family, and added a distinctive three-part harmony. Carter Stanley died of liver disease in 1966.

Ralph Stanley's a cappella dirge "O Death" from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" movie soundtrack introduced him to a new generation of fans in 2000.

He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2000 and won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in 2002.

International Bluegrass Music Center

A new home for the International Bluegrass Music Museum and Hall of Fame in Owensboro is one step closer to reality.

A groundbreaking for the facility is being held on Thursday, June 23.

The new 50,000-square-foot building will have more space for bluegrass luminaries honored in the Hall of Fame, as well as lots of other activities. 

"It  will encompass expanded museum exhibit space, " said Museum Executive Director Chris Joslin. "It will also have a 450-sea performance venue, as well as a rooftop restaurant and an outdoor performance venue that can accommodate 1,500 to 2,000 folks."

The $15.4 milion music center is being built with a combination of city, state and private funding. Construction is scheduled to be finished by spring 2018.