Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
3:40 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Kentucky Derby Weekend Means It's Mint Julep Time

The apotheosis of Kentucky's bourbon culture: the mint julep

Kevin speaks with Cole Phelps about the history and proper preparation of the mint julep.

The mint julep stands proud as the beverage known as Kentucky's signature drink. Unless you're new to the area or haven't been paying attention, you know the julep is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby.

What you might not know, however, is that the mint julep's history traces back to a rose water drink in the Middle East.

WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis in 2010 visited the famous Seelbach Hotel in Louisville to learn the history and proper preparation of the famous drink. Cole Phelps, who at the time served as the head bartender at Max's Bar on the hotel's second floor shared his favorite recipe for drink:

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Arts & Culture
9:40 am
Fri April 26, 2013

George Jones, Country Superstar, has Died at 81

George Jones, the peerless, hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaking classic He Stopped Loving Her Today, has died. He was 81.

Publicist Kirt Webster says Jones died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville after being hospitalized with fever and irregular blood pressure.

Known for his clenched, precise baritone, Jones had No. 1 songs in five separate decades, 1950s to 1990s, and was idolized not just by fellow country singers, but by Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, James Taylor and countless others.

In a career that lasted more than 50 years, Possum recorded more than 150 albums and became the champion and symbol of traditional country music, a well-lined link to his hero, Hank Williams.

Arts & Culture
3:37 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Kentucky Native Bob Edwards to Appear at Southern Kentucky Book Fest

Former NPR anchor Bob Edwards

Joe Corcoran's interview with Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards has a voice familiar to many public radio fans. The Louisville native was for many years NPR's Morning Edition anchor. Edwards is also an author, and he'll appear Saturday, April 20, in Bowling Green to sign copies of his new book A Voice In The Box: My Life in Radio at the 2013 Southern Kentucky Book Festival.

Joe Corcoran recently spoke to Edwards about his new book.

Arts & Culture
4:36 pm
Sat April 13, 2013

Extreme Drama: The Life And Music Of Richard Wagner

Rudolph Cronau's drawing of Wagner's opera house, Bayreuth, flanked by his birthplace (left) and place of death.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 9:11 am

Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Web Extra: Kentucky Bourbon Book Author Talks Prohibition, Maker's Mark Episode

Bourbon barrels at rest in a warehouse at the Woodford Reserve distillery
Credit Kevin Willis

Michael Veach is a man who knows his bourbon. Not just because he enjoys Kentucky's signature spirit, but because he's also one of the nation's foremost bourbon historians.

Veach is associate curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, and the author of the new book Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Tradition. In his recent interview with WKU Public Radio, Veach told us about the many tall tales he had to debunk surrounding the history of bourbon.

Here are a few web audio extras featuring Veach that we didn't have time to include in the interview we aired this week:

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Arts & Culture
2:54 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

One of the World's Great Vocal Ensembles Coming to WKU

The San Francisco-based vocal group Chanticleer is performing at WKU April 11.
Credit www.chanticleer.org

Lee Stott's interview with Jace Wittig, Chanticleer's music director

The world-renowned choral ensemble Chanticleer is coming to Western Kentucky University Thursday evening as part of the school's Cultural Enhancement Series. The performance is at 7:30pm C.T. at Van Meter Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

The group will perform a program called The Siren's Call. This program celebrates the sea with music from New Zealand, Hawaii and China complemented by Chanticleer's signature treatments of Gregorian Chant and Renaissance music.

WKU Public Radio's Lee Stott spoke with Jace Wittig, Chanticleer's Music Director, about the group and its April 11 performance in Bowling Green.

Arts & Culture
1:05 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Annette Funicello, 'America's Sweet Heart', Has Died

Headshot portrait of American actor and singer Annette Funicello.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 5:23 pm

Annette Funicello, who was one of the first child stars to emerge out of The Mickey Mouse Club, has died, the official Disney Fan Club reports.

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Kentucky Author Debunks Popular Legends Surrounding Bourbon in New Book

Author Michael Veach, at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville
Credit Kevin Willis

Kevin's interview with Michael Veach, author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

It's a golden era for Kentucky's signature spirit. Bourbon has never been more popular in the U.S. or throughout the world. Bourbon's colorful history is shrouded in mystery, with a lot of tall tales and legends popping up throughout the years.

Michael Veach put bourbon under the microscope and put his skills as an historian to work in his new book, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage. Veach is the associate curator of special collections at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville.

He spoke to WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis about how the term "bourbon" first became applied to Kentucky whiskey, where the idea of charring barrels came from, and who we should thank for the current popularity of bourbon:

There are a lot of legends surrounding bourbon that you have to debunk as an historian looking into the origins of Kentucky’s famous whiskey. One of those legends is that bourbon is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. What did you find out?

“You know, I would love to have been able to prove that bourbon was named after Bourbon County, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized I just couldn’t do that.”

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Arts & Culture
9:49 am
Tue April 2, 2013

WKU Professor has Ph.D in Kentucky Barbeque, Shares Passion in New Book

A man doing what he loves: author and barbeque aficionado Wes Berry at the Smokey Pig in Bowling Green
Credit Kevin Willis

Kevin's audio story with Wes Berry, Kentucky barbeque aficionado

When it’s lunch time at the Smokey Pig barbeque restaurant in Bowling Green, be prepared to wait in line. This place opens at 10:30 a.m., and within an hour on a recent Tuesday, almost every table was taken and every seat claimed. I came to the Smokey Pig today to meet with a man who claims to be afflicted with something he calls H.E.B.D--Hyper Enthusiastic Barbeque Disorder.

Wes Berry, the self-diagnosed victim of H.E.B.D is also a Ph.D-holding Professor of English at WKU. And he has just authored a book—not about fine literature or poetry—but about his true passion: barbeque. And more specifically, the kinds of barbeque one can find in the Bluegrass State.

The Kentucky Barbeque Book is Berry’s love letter to his favorite food and state. The Barren County native says he’s eaten at 168 barbeque restaurants, joints, shacks, festivals, and Catholic church picnics in the commonwealth.

All in the name of good research, of course.

Barbeque: Monroe County Style

The Smokey Pig is the place Wes and I have chosen to talk about Bluegrass State barbeque. I follow Wes’s lead regarding what I order. They say “when in Rome”, and when it comes to barbeque, Wes Berry is Caesar.

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Arts & Culture
12:16 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Owensboro Symphony Special Sunday Night On WKU Public Radio

Conductor Nicholas Palmer
Credit Owensboro Symphony

Note: Technical problems prevented the originally planned broadcast of this program last week.

Join us Sunday, March 24th at 8pm C.T., as conductor Nicholas Palmer joins Lee Stott to look back at some recent concerts, and to preview what's ahead for the Owensboro Symphony during its "Magical Season."

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