The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Since the departure of Brad Becker, the host slot at Red Barn Radio has become something of a musical chair, and not in the way the show intends.
But as of last week, well-known Lexington actor Adam Luckey has taken over hosting duties for Red Barn, which is broadcast nationally.
“It’s an incredible commitment he’s made,” Red Barn producer Ed Commons says. “We feel incredibly lucky, because whenever I tell people who we got, they say, ‘How did you get him?’”
Hosting Red Barn will make nightlife quite active for Luckey, who is curently in rehearsals for Balagula Theatre‘s production of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? Luckey has a musical background as a singer and multi-instrumentalist, including playing in Lexington area bands and writing music for SummerFest’s July production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which he also directed. But hosting a radio show wasn’t something Luckey had contemplated.
“I love having this opportunity to be part of the audience for these incredible musicians,” Luckey says. “I’m not so much the voice, as the one bringing the seats closer to the stage.”
Red Barn, which is recorded most Wednesday nights at ArtsPlace in Downtown Lexington, features performances by national and regional Bluegrass and roots music artists. This week’s program features Lexington quartet Small Batch.
Commons said shows Luckey hosts should start being played on the air in approximately three weeks. Red Barn is heard locally at 8 p.m. Saturdays on WUKY-FM 91.3 and 9 p.m. Saturdays and 3 a.m. Sundays on WEKU-FM 88.9.
The University of Kentucky’s Niles Center for American Music is once again presenting a fall lineup of free concerts at noon Fridays in the Niles Gallery of the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library. The Appalachia in the Bluegrass series in the past has featured artists from musicians straight off their front porches in Eastern Kentucky to artists who have achieved national and international acclaim. As always, the concerts are free and open to the public.
Sept. 7, Appalatin: Louisville-based band combining Appalachian and Caribbean sounds.
Sept. 14, Lee Sexton with John Sexton: Letcher County banjo legend with his son.
Sept. 21, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker: Husband and wife folk duo from Tennessee.
Sept. 28, Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers: Informal group of shape-note singers.
Oct. 5, Jarflies: Lexington-based banjo and fiddle duo.
Oct. 12, Roger Cooper: Lewis County fiddler.
Oct. 19, Morehead State University KCTM String Band: Group of Morehead students studying old-time music.
Oct. 26, Si Kahn: Artist and activist who will be in residence at UK.
Nov. 2, Don Pedi: North Carolina-based dulcimer artist.
Nov. 9, Ruth McLain Smith: Berea-based member of the McLain Family Band.
Nov. 16, Rich and the Po’ Folk: Letcher County old-time string band.
Nov. 30, Red State Ramblers: Annual appearance by the Lexington group.
Dec. 7, Crankies — Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle: Banjo and fiddle music accompanied by moving scroll illustrations.
The Southland Jamboree is returning for the seventh season this summer at 7 p.m. Tuesday nights, May 29 through Sept. 4, on the lawn adjacent to Collins Bowling Lanes at 205 Southland Drive.
Here is the lineup of acts:
May 29: Howard’s Creek
June 5: Driving Rain
June 12: Newtown
June 19: Stoney Creek
June 26: Mountain Connection
July 3: The Velvet Blue
July 10: Stringtown
July 17: Jeff Clair
July 24: Dean Osborne
July 31: Laurel River Line
Aug. 7: Custom Made Bluegrass
Aug. 14: Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley
Aug. 21: Second Time Around
Aug. 28: No Tools Loaned
Sept. 4: to be announced
The concerts are free, and patrons are invited to join in jam sessions after the performances. Picnics and lawn chairs are welcome, and concessions will be available.
Tuesday night, the Punch Brothers were live on the stage of the Kentucky Theatre. Starting Friday, the genre-busting, bluegrass-based artists will be on the theater’s big screen in the documentary, How to Grow a Band.
The film by director Mark Meatto chronicles the start of the band, born after mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile’s original act Nickle Creek went on indefinite hiatus, in 2008 and ‘09. It follows the group, formed around a four-movement 45-minute elegy to Thile’s failed marriage, through performances in Scotland, England and New York.
The film opened April 13 in New York, and New York Times critic Nicolas Rapold wrote, “Ego struggles and innovator’s laments (nobody gets us!) are a refrain in many band documentaries. How to Grow a Band adds a modest but effective entry to the genre’s back catalog.”
Tuesday’s concert got high marks from Herald-Leader critic Walter Tunis who called the show, “easily the most exciting and inventive of (Punch Brothers)’ many Lexington area performances,” so How to Grow a Band could be a good opportunity to see how far the group has come.
To most of us, fall arts means getting out in the crisp weather to attend shows and visit galleries at the time of year when creativity seems to be bursting forth like the colors on autumn leaves.
And live is generally the best way to experience the arts.
But PBS is making a decent case for staying in, or at least DVRing its Fall Arts Festival, which continues tonight, Oct. 28, with Great Performances’ presentation of the Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp showing nationally at 9 p.m. and here in Central Kentucky at 10 p.m. on KET and 8 p.m. Weds., Nov. 2, on KET2 (there are also DVR-friendly showings at 2 a.m. Oct. 29 and 4 a.m. Oct. 31). The season as a whole is diverse with operetta, rock ‘n’ roll, theater, even bluegrass next week with Steve Martin’s Give Me the Banjo.
Two things I really like about this are it shows PBS getting on a more consistent schedule with arts programming and the programs are moving around the nation. I cannot quantify this, but in the past, public television arts programs have often seemed a bit more haphazard in their timing, and if you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss things. Even if it is on a night a lot of us are out at arts events, at least we have a time we know we can look for these shows. And though we have seen more in recent years from cities such as Los Angeles and Washington in recent years, it is nice to see this televised festival so self-consciously not New York-centric.
Of course, it is also great to have network-quality production values focused on the arts, as tonight’s ballet program shows. I have only had time to preview a bit of the Miami City program, but it looks and sounds spectacular, with a program of diverse icons with George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp.
At its best, this series can inspire us to go out and see what’s happening in our own cities.
If you were planning to head out to Red Barn Radio tonight (Oct. 26) to catch Lester Ray Sears & the Tennessee Border Band, there’s been a change of plans.
Red Barn producer Ed Commons says a health issue in the band forced it to cancel and Sears and band will be rescheduled for a later date.
Stepping in will be local favorites Howard’s Creek featuring singer and guitarist Russ Farmer, mandolin player and vocalist Ron Mobley, bassist and vocalist Terri Powell, dobro player Ted Critchfield, fiddler and vocalist Joanna Binford, and banjo player and vocalist John Mattingly.
The University of Kentucky’s John Jacob Niles Center for American Music has announced the lineup for its Appalachia in the Bluegrass series of Friday lunchtime concerts this fall at the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library.
The concerts were designed to bring Appalachian artists in for students studying Appalachian music to see and hear, but they are also open to the public and usually pack out the library’s theater. All concerts are free and begin at noon.
The lineup is:
Sept. 2, Phil, Sarah, and Alice Jamison
Sept. 9, Lee Sexton and John Haywood
Sept. 16, Don Pedi
Sept. 23, Rich and the Po’ Folks
Sept. 30, Karly Dawn and Little Sarie
Oct. 7, Dan Dutton
Oct. 14, Jimmy and Ada McCown
Oct. 21, Carl Jones and James Bryan
Oct. 28, Cari Norris
Nov. 4, Sara Grey and Kieron Means
Nov. 7 (Monday show), Aubrey Atwater and Ellwood Donnelly
Nov. 18, Randy Wilson and Gabe Dansereau
Dec. 2, Red State Ramblers
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich