Arts & Culture

Danielle Atkins /Courtesy of Spring House Press

Nashville Hot Chicken is showing up everywhere lately, from fast-food marquees to trendy restaurant menus. But to find the real thing, you might start in a nondescript strip mall on the northeast side of Nashville, Tenn.

Here at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, people line up long before the doors open to get their fix.

"Need my hot chicken," says construction worker Jose Rodriquez as he approaches the kitchen window to place his order. "I'm going to get two hot of the breast quarters."

Old-fashioned wooden booths line the walls of the small dining room. When a clerk calls out your order number, you pick up your paper plate of chicken, served on a red cafeteria tray. Drinks come from a vending machine on the back wall.

"Prince's is the ground zero for hot chicken," says Timothy Davis, author of The Hot Chicken Cookbook – the Fiery History and Red Hot Recipes of Nashville's Beloved Bird.

Lost River Sessions

Episode 2 of Lost River Sessions on WKU Public Radio features the Vickie Vaughn Band in a performance recorded at the Historic Railpark and Train Museum in Bowling Green.  In the second half of the show, we enjoy the songs and stories of Nashville singer-songwriter Will Kimbrough. His Lost River Session was recorded at Brickyard Cafe in Franklin, Kentucky. 

Lost River Sessions is produced in association with WKU PBS.

Speed Art Museum Reopens to Massive Crowds

Mar 14, 2016
Jacob Ryan

After a three-year closure for renovation and expansion, the Speed Art Museum is open once again.

The museum closed in May 2013 for the $60 million project that doubled the square footage of the original building, adding a bright, contemporary three-story space that functions as part-gallery, part-concert hall.

The grand reopening took place over 30 consecutive hours this weekend and attracted thousands of people.

Crowds cycled through all-day Saturday as a vast array of artists, musicians and arts organizations performed. Congressman John Yarmuth and Gov. Matt Bevin joined Speed Museum CEO Ghislain d’Humieres to officially welcome the crowds at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Lost River Sessions

Two bands from our area, The Carmonas and The Dead Broke Barons have been among the groups who have performed on the WKU PBS series Lost River Sessions.  

The show made its WKU Public Radio debut this week. You can hear the show by clicking on the headline of this story. 

The concerts are recorded at various locations around South Central Kentucky. The Dead Broke Barons set was recorded at the Gallery on the Square in Franklin, Ky.  The Carmonas were recorded at Gallery 916 in Bowling Green. 
 

Joe Corcoran, WKU Public Radio

Owensboro is stepping up its mission to become the nation’s bluegrass music capital. Construction of a new downtown performance center and museum is set to start this spring to go along with the city’s thriving local music scene.

Also, a program in local schools is looking to create new fans for bluegrass long into the future.

At Sutton Elementary in Owensboro, 400 students recently sat cross-legged on the cafeteria floor. They clapped along to a bluegrass band called the Rigs. The band performed as a part of a program created by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro.

It’s called Bluegrass in the Schools, and it’s been bringing the music to students since 2003.

Tom Stites, the fine arts coordinator for Owensboro Public Schools, said the goal of Bluegrass in the Schools is to encourage a new generation of bluegrass fans and musicians and performances like this make the most of a unique Kentucky heritage. “It’s a chance for our children to connect with their culture, because the bluegrass roots run so very deep here," he said.  "And it’s not part of what our children experience every single day in their lives. I think it’s important that they continue to be connected with their background and where bluegrass came from.”

International Bluegrass Music Museum

Organizers of the International Bluegrass Music Museum's annual concert fundraiser say Old Crow Medicine Show, Lee Ann Womack and Marty Stuart have been added to the show's lineup.

The annual ROMP Festival will be held at Owensboro's Yellow Creek Park in June. It's the festival's 13th year.

Other additions to the lineup include Billy Strings, a reunion of Louisville-based group, 23 String Band, and Nashville bluegrass band, Sheriff Scott & the Deputies.

The Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush Band and Steep Canyon Rangers are already signed up to play at the event.

NPR

Two bands from our listening area are among the 6,000 NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest entries.  

Josh Merritt, a singer-songwriter from Owensboro entered with his song “Best of Me” and Bowling Green’s Buffalo Rodeo submitted their song “Daydream”.

The winner of the NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest, to be announced in March, will perform at NPR headquarters in Washington. Click on the headline to watch the music videos. 

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

WFPL News

When Gov. Matt Bevin offers his first state budget proposal on Tuesday, it’s unclear how much money — if any — will be set aside for the Kentucky Arts Council, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Rumors have swirled on social media and in arts social circles during the past couple days concerning the future of the state agency.

Arts Council board member Wilma Brown of Frankfort sent an email to friends and supporters on Thursday, saying Bevin would seek to eliminate funding for the agency and asking recipients to contact their state representatives in protest.

“It is not clear whether an alternative agency will be formed or whether the arts will be folded into another agency,” Brown wrote. “In either case, oversight of the arts will become political with changes in personnel and programs with each election.”

Requests for information from Bevin’s office went unanswered. Lori Meadows, the Arts Council’s executive director, directed inquiries to the governor’s office.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Piano! Piano!

David Bowie is being remembered by a Kentucky guitarist as one of the most influential and innovative rock stars ever.

Bowie died at the age of 69 Sunday after a bout with cancer.

Kentucky Headhunters guitarist Greg Martin told WKU Public Radio he’s been in awe of Bowie’s music for decades. But Martin admitted he didn’t immediately understand everything Bowie was doing musically.

"There were some things that just went over my head early on,” Martin said. “But there's been some times in the past ten years, when my mind was a little more open like it should be, and I'd catch some things on the radio, and I’d think this guy is right up there with the Beatles."

NPR: Bowie Wrote Anthems for the Alienated

Martin says he and his band mates were honored to meet Bowie at a record convention in the early 1990s.

“I'm happy to say we did have a brush with him early on in our career, and that's something we will always cherish, getting to talk to him."

Bowie passed away just two days after releasing a new album called Darkstar.

International Bluegrass Music Center

The goal of making Owensboro the capital city of bluegrass is getting closer to reality.  Architectural plans for a new International Bluegrass Music Center are nearly ready to go out to bid.  

The new 50,000-square-foot music center will double the space the current bluegrass museum occupies.

Executive Director Chris Joslin says the new music center will position Owensboro as the home for bluegrass music that will attract visitors from around the globe.

“We’re the only organization and museum dedicated solely to gathering, preserving and exhibiting the artifacts having to do with bluegrass music. So I think that makes what we do unique," said Joslin. "I mean, what we have to offer, and what we will offer when we move into the new center, can only be experienced here.”

The music center will house the bluegrass museum and hall of fame, as well as indoor and outdoor performance areas and a restaurant.

Joslin says the center will be a dynamic venue intended to reach out to a broad audience.

“We will probably not limit the live music to bluegrass. I can envision other roots music, Americana, gospel. So we’re going to paint with a fairly wide brush, but certainly the focus will be on bluegrass and certainly on Saturday night, people know they come to Owensboro on Saturday night, they’re going to get a world-class bluegrass show.”  

Construction on the $15.4 million dollar project is expected to begin in April and be complete in about 18 months.

Lisa Autry

Ohio County is home to Bill Monroe, the man known as Father of Bluegrass music. 

His hometown is preparing to kick off a campaign to raise a half-million dollars to build a museum in his honor.  That’s despite the fact that a much larger International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro is only 40 miles away.

For more than a decade, a collection of Bill Monroe’s personal items has been sitting in a dusty storage facility.  The location is secret for security reasons.  Locked away are his old gray Cadillac, a plow, furniture, suits, and awards.  Monroe’s last mandolin is stored in a separate, climate-controlled facility. 

Sixteen years ago, Ohio County bought the collection from Monroe’s family.  Jody Flener heads the county’s Tourism Commission and says part of the deal was that the items had to stay in Ohio County.

”The connection is to Ohio County for Bill Monroe," Flener told WKU Public Radio.  "What’s exciting about living in Ohio County is that you still have people who grew up with Bill Monroe and we even have relatives still here."

In December, the county hopes to start fundraising for a 15,000-square-foot museum to house the memorabilia.  It’s planed for the tiny town of Rosine, just a few miles from where the Bluegrass icon was born and buried.  That’s only a half-hour drive from the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro – but Flener says it wouldn’t be redundant.

Hardin County Playhouse

The Hardin County Playhouse has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for a new home. The crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe has a goal of $100,000.

The playhouse has been in Hardin County for 47 years. It’s been at its current location at the Historic State Theater in downtown Elizabethtown for 10 years.

Artistic Director Bo Cecil says the playhouse got notice in July that its rent was going to double. 

“That, of course, was a big shock right there. And so we responded with, ‘Could we negotiate something else?’  But they did not want to do so. And so, they then they told us they were still going to double the rent, but they were also now not going to renew our lease," said Cecil.  "So it was a bit of a predicament.”

The playhouse is researching options for buying or renovating a property. The lease for the current location expires in August. Cecil says the theater isn’t sure yet whether it will buy or renovate a building.                        

“We’re trying to work with the city of Elizabethtown to figure out a way the playhouse can stay in the downtown area," said Cecil. "Elizabethtown, in the last several years, has been experiencing a revitalization of the downtown area. So we believe that an entertainment organization, such as the playhouse, would bring in a lot of business for the other local businesses.”

The playhouse launched its GoFundMe campaign on Oct. 19.  As of Oct. 23, the GoFundMe campaign has raised $775 from five donations, ranging from $25to $500.  

Bowling Green native and bluegrass musician Sam Bush's mandolin will be displayed at the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University.

The university said Bush has allowed the museum to display the mandolin as part of the Instruments of American Excellence exhibition. The mandolin was given to Bush from the Americana Music Association as a gift for receiving the lifetime achievement for instrumentalist honor in 2009.

Kentucky Museum Director Brent Bjorkman says having the mandolin will allow the museum to share Bush's story with visitors for many years.

Bush is co-founder of the Newgrass Revival, co-winner of three Grammys, a member of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and four-time International Bluegrass Museum Association mandolin player of the year. He will be recognized this month with a Kentucky Governor's Award in the Arts.

Orchestra Kentucky

Orchestra Kentucky Music Director Jeffrey Reed has been named one of this year’s 12 University of Louisville Alumni Fellows.  

Reed co-founded Orchestra Kentucky in Bowling Green in 2000. He was recognized by the University of Louisville especially for growing audiences by combining classical and popular music unified by a theme.  

“We started with a traditional all classical program and found that although the public supported it, the numbers were very modest," said Reed. "And I kind of morphed into the present approach.”

That present approach has included concerts featuring the music of  Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers and Paul Williams.

“We’ve presented an Elvis concert. Of course, Elvis used orchestra in his recording, so it was a perfect concert for that," Reed said. "We just had Kenny Rogers here and Paul Williams, the Oscar winning songwriter. We have Michael W. Smith coming, the Christian artist. So we present many headliners with the orchestra, as well.” 

In honor of being chosen a University of Louisville Alumni Fellow, Reed will present a lecture to music students and receive his award at a banquet at the university.

The orchestra’s Oct. 16 concert is a Sci Fi Spectacular, with music from 2001: A Space Odyssey,  Star Wars, E.T. and Star Trek.

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