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.”
Larnelle Harris chats with WKU Public Radio about his career and upcoming performance with Orchestra Kentucky
It will be a homecoming of sorts Monday night at SKyPAC in Bowling Green as WKU alumnus Larnelle Harris performs at a Christmas concert with Orchestra Kentucky.
“It’s going to be fun to get back and do this Christmas concert. It will kind of jump start our Christmas this year so we’re looking forward to it,” said Harris. “And SKyPAC, this is a new auditorium and I think it’s going to be quite a living room and I think it’s a testament to how Bowling Green keeps moving ahead”
Throughout his four-decade career, Harris has performed at Carnegie Hall, The White House and even the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union.
“All of those places have been great and to do the first concert at the Palace of Congresses at the Kremlin was indeed an exciting thing. But I’ve gotta tell you, I enjoy being right here in Louisville and having the opportunity to go to my own church and sharing there has been a joy.”
Harris is a member of three Halls of Fame, and has won five Grammy awards. Tonight’s Christmas concert is the first of two scheduled for Orchestra Kentucky this month. The group will also present A Rockin’ Christmas on December 14.
Neil Sedaka talks his songs, his career and his upcoming trip to Bowling Green
To say Neil Sedaka’s musical career got off to a fast start would be an understatement.
“I started writing at 13 years old and had hit records by LaVern Baker, Clyde McPhatter and Connie Francis,” said Sedaka. “And then when I was 19, I decided, rather than give away the songs to other singers, I auditioned for RCA Victor as a singer-songwriter and they signed me to a contract.”
But as quickly as his star rose, it fizzled in the 1960s, a decade of upheaval and cultural shifts.
“I was out of work for 12 years. You know, the music business is very trendy and fickle. I had the opportunity to meet Elton John when I was living in England and he was starting a record company and signed me. The first single, after 12 years, was ‘Laughter in the Rain’ and it went to No. 1 on the charts here in America,” he said.
An iconic musician is coming to Bowling Green for a night of firsts with Orchestra Kentucky.
In the 1970s, Keith Emerson was part of the band Emerson Lake and Palmer, a group that often combined classical music and progressive rock , catching the ear of a young Jeff Reed.
“I was a teenager and because I loved classical music and rock music, I thought it was great to hear the combination of the two styles. I think they did a lot for classical music,” said Reed. “They took it out of the concert hall and put it through vinyl and onto young people’s turntables. They made it a little cooler and a little bit more accessible and I’m all for that.”
Flash forward to 2013 and Reed is now musical director of Orchestra Kentucky. On Monday at SKyPAC in Bowling Green, Reed's orchestra will take the stage with Emerson.