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.
The rise to prominence in the opera world continues for an Owensboro native.
Last week, Anthony Clark Evans was named a winner of the Sarah Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music foundation. Evans is one of only five young opera singers nationwide to win the $5,000 award this year. The audition for the grant was by invitation only.
“What it really means to me, is that I’m able to maybe make a few extra trips here and there and audition for more people because I’ll have a little bit of extra cash just sitting in the bank,” said Evans. “I’ll be able to maybe take a flight out to New York again to sing for somebody that’s important out there.”
The 28-year-old baritone now resides in Elizabethtown but is currently studying at the Ryan Center of Lyric Opera in Chicago. He says he comes from a long line of singers.
“It really comes from my father. He was a trained singer and his father was a trained singer. I think it goes back four or five generations,” said Evans.
He studied voice at Murray State, but left school twice to save up more money to continue his education. The second time away, he got married and the couple settled in Elizabethtown where he took a job at a car dealership.
Among the recordings – the Everly Brothers 1960 hit “Cathy’s Clown”, which was recorded at the RCA “Studio B” in Nashville.
Earlier this year, Muhlenberg County held a celebration of life for Phil Everly, who died January 3rd. Everly and his brother Don held a series of charity concerts in their family’s hometown in Western Kentucky in the 1980s and 1990s.
WKU alum Jonathan Woods on his Time magazine cover photo from atop the Freedom Tower
A recent assignment for WKU alumnus Jonathan Woods took him to the very top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Woods is a Senior Editor for Photo and Interactive for Time Magazine. He graduated from Western Kentucky’s award-winning photojournalism department in 2007.
Woods says his interest in photographing the new One World Trade Center building began when he was working for NBC News’ website during the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks in 2011. Then, he ventured on an eight-month process of negotiating with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to allow access to the 405-foot spire on top of the 1,776 foot tall building known as the Freedom Tower.
He and a staff member from the GigaPan company climbed the ladder to take a series of photos that eventually make up a sweeping panoramic look at the Manhattan skyline.
“We were putting a camera in a place that we couldn’t go scout. It was on top of a 405-foot tall spire, which had a 405-foot tall ladder that we were not allowed to climb until the day we went up there,” said Woods. “So we had to work off of blueprints to create something to put a camera in a place that didn’t exist.”
Author Gloria Nixon-John discusses her book, The Killing Jar with WKU Public Radio
A novel called "The Killing Jar", by author Gloria Nixon-John, is based on a true story from rural eastern Kentucky in which an incredibly gifted, but mentally disturbed 15-year-old named T0dd Ice is convicted of murdering his neighbor’s 7-year-old daughter and assaulting the neighbor in 1978.
The main character – named Ted Lynch in the book – spends several years as the nation’s youngest person on death row until his murder conviction was thrown out on appeal. During a re-trial he is convicted of manslaughter and winds up serving 15 years in prison before being released to a mental institution and then a halfway house.
Before his initial trial, Todd (Ted) was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. He would die in 2010 at age 47 after a dramatic weight gain, partially blamed on the medications he was prescribed.
The book is a novel, but the author says she started the project as a non-fiction presentation of events. She says 95 percent of book is based on factual documentation.
She will speak at Barnes and Noble in Bowling Green tonight at 7 p.m. as part of the Kentucky Live! Series, presented by WKU Libraries.