The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Everybody loves a hometown hero. UofL basketball star Peyton Siva could barely do interviews for all the fans cheering SIVA! SIVA! as he entered the Barnstable Gala. He said he was enjoying the love and looks forward to coming back, even after he’s moved on to the NBA. Seems the party did save the best for last this year. We’re out. 11:05 p.m.
I was about to go, but Joey Fatone is here. 10:32 p.m.
Perennial Barnstable Brown Gala guest Travis Tritt pointed out that he sang the national anthem at the NCAA men’s basketball championship, which Louisville won. Therefore, he said he is definitely putting money on coach Rick Pitono’s Goldencents because, “he’s on a roll.” 10:27 p.m.
Valerie Harper, who is battling lung cancer, said she was doing well and, “I’m not going to waste my life worrying about when I’m going to die, so I came to the Derby.” Former UK football star and current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb said he always enjoys coming to his “second home.” 10:17 pm.
When the stars come, they come fast at Barnstable brown. Among things we picked up in the last 45 minutes or so: Emilio Estevez is working on a movie about harness racing at several locations, including the Red Mile. “Thoroughbred racing is the sport of kings,” he said. “But harness racing is the working man’s sport.” He said he was dressed in jeans and a blazer because he lost everything at the Oaks. Josh Henderson acknowledged he drinks plenty of bourbon on Dallas. Stephen Amell acknowledged throwing back a lot of Guinness at Fourth Street Live. Larry Birkhead said he would like to get back on the other side of the red carpet, as a working journalists again. Revenge’s Christa Allen said she knew nothing about the Derby but, “I love horses.”
Accounted for so far: Morris Day, Freddie Jackson, Clay Walker and David Denman. Freddie stopped to talk to us and said he’s happy to have a “return engagement. You don’t always get invited back.” He sang a few Bars of “You Are My Lady” to Christa from the C-J And said he was going to rely on the ladies to pick Derby winner for him. 9:07 p.m.
Just talked to Christopher Brown, Tricia Barnstable Brown’s son, about his memories of the party, which include dancing with Brooke Shields when he was a little boy and getting his picture taken with Mark Harmon when they were both wearing white tuxedoes. Brown, who is now an attorney in New York, says his favorite guests are the ones that come back every year and, “have become family friends.” 8:10 pm.
Generally they don’t put reporters and photographers on the red carpet, but that’s where we are, waiting out a windy, pre-party shower. Some of the journalists are playing around getting shots in front of the branded backdrop, while fans huddle under coats and umbrellas. Not the place you want to have several thousand dollars with of AV or photo gear. 7:20 p.m.
It is hurry up and wait time here at the Barnstable Brown Gala. Media usually start to arrive late afternoon, and then we get to hang around until around 9, when the stars start streaming in. But the red carpet is freshly vacuumed, the tripods are set up, and it looks like we have national press from E! and other outlets. Fans are starting to line the fence lines. C’mon Miranda.
Louisville’s Barnstable Brown Gala will celebrate its 25th edition with plenty of old friends and some new faces Derby Eve.
Among the familiar faces at the home of The ‘Ville’s hostess with the mostess, Patricia Barnstable Brown, will be reigning country superstar Miranda Lambert, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, pop chart-topper Kid Rock, former ‘N Sync member and TV star Joey Fatone, and UK coach John Calipari, according to Louisville’s Courier-Journal.
New stars coming out this year include Josh Henderson, who plays J.R. Ewing’s son on TNT’s Dallas, Krysten Ritter, who plays the title role in ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, Stephen Amell of the CW’s Arrow, model Coco Rocha, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of The Social Network fame, Peyton Siva of the national champion University of Louisville men’s basketball team, and UK’s Nerlens Noel.
According to the C-J, Larry Birkhead, whose famously met the late Anna Nicole Smith at the 2004 Barnstable party and had a daughter with her, will arrive with a camera crew in tow documenting his Derby experience.
The Barnstable party always boasts the longest celebrity guest list of the Derby parties, and this year is no different. The celebs can generally be broken down into several categories.
Country music will be well represented by Clay Walker; Kix Brooks, formerly of Brooks & Dunn; Travis Tritt; Lee Ann Womack; and Eddie Montgomery, of Kentucky’s Montgomery Gentry.
R&B and hip hop will be represented by Freddie Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Morris Day of Morris Day and the Time fame, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC, Taylor Dayne, and Johnny Gill of New Edition. The presence of Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday means both actresses who won awards for playing Effie in Dreamgirls will be at Derby this year. Jennifer Hudson, who won her Oscar for playing the role in the film is appearing at the revived Grand Gala, Friday night. And Southern rock will be represented by Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Mark “Sparky” Matejka.
The acting attendees include David Denman of The Office and Drop Dead Diva, Terry O’Quinn of Lost, Mercedes Masohn of Chuck, Breakfast Club star Emilio Estevez, and American Pie star Jason Biggs.
And there are always plenty of human athletes in Louisville to watch the horses race: the NBA’s Anthony Davis and Darius Miller of UK’s 2012 national champion men’s basketball team, former UK and current Green Bay Packers star Randall Cobb, his Green Bay teammate linebacker Clay Matthews III, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel, Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and Olympian Bode Miller.
His name is Brad Paisley, and he will be your cowboy-hatted global tour guide.
This is a role the guitar slinger has played before, like on his 2009 song Welcome to the Future, in which he sang about video chatting with companies in Tokyo. Paisley may play music most deeply appreciated in the rural and Southern United States, but he has seen the world and wants to let his fans know there is more to it than mom, baseball and apple pie.
That’s sort of the unifying message of Wheelhouse, Paisley’s 10th studio album, which leads off with Southern Comfort Zone, a song advising listeners, “Not everybody drives a truck … drinks sweet tea … owns a gun, wears a ball cap, boots and jeans … goes to church or watches every NASCAR race.” Globalism is just one of several serious themes Paisley touches on with this new album, which also includes domestic abuse, religion and the Internet sensation du jour, racism and reconciliation.
Almost as quickly as it was released, Accidental Racist, an earnest duet with LL Cool J, was buried under criticism from all sides of the political and cultural spectrum. Paisley brings it in with an intriguing scenario: a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan puts on one of the band’s T-shirts, which includes the Confederate Battle Flag, goes to Starbucks and inadvertently offends his black server with the garment. He laments he was, “lookin’ like I got a lot to learn.”
If Paisley had cut the song off at the customary three-and-a-half minute mark, it would have been a nice, bluesy offering from a guy whose history says he is honestly trying to bridge some divides. It’s when LL comes in that the song becomes overwrought six-minute slog and makes missteps like trying to equate Confederate flags and do-rags. Surely Paisley could have found a better and more current collaborator than the NCIS: Los Angeles star. It’s unfortunate that walking into controversy, Paisley doesn’t have a better song to stand behind.
And for the most part, Wheelhouse is full of good songs, like the domestic abuse revenge anthem, Karate, the divorce ballad Tin Can on a String and Those Crazy Christians, which deftly defends and tweaks both the faithful and their detractors. The latter shows Paisley as a well-rounded ambassador, not only trying to open his core audience to a bigger world but trying to cultivate greater appreciation of his roots.
With such serious topics, there are a few goofy tunes that feel out of place here, such as Death of a Single Man, a fun song that may have worked better on a party-hearty album like American Saturday Night (2009). The album could also benefit from more guitar indulgences, one of the primary reasons to listen to a Paisley album, like the end of Beat This Summer and the instrumental Onryo.
Wheelhouse may not be Paisley’s masterpiece, but it may be the clearest articulation of his voice.
After two swings through Rupp Arena as a supporting act, The Band Perry seems destined to take over headlining duties. The group’s second album, Pioneer, is a prime vehicle to take it there with a dozen numbers that will play to big rooms just fine without betraying the trio’s string-band roots.
Folks who tuned into the Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday night saw that with the band’s performance of DONE, one of two fierce numbers that lead off the follow-up to the group’s self-titled debut.
The first thing most people heard of The Band Perry was the wistful 2010 crossover hit If I Die Young, and we certainly get that sweet feeling on several new tracks, particularly Mother Like Mine, a lovely tribute from a sibling group. But The Band Perry has always wanted to rock and frontwoman Kimberly Perry has always had edge, which is what is really exploited on Pioneer.
Better Dig Two, the opening track and lead-off single, is a fierce declaration of possibly ill-advised loyalty ’til death — “If divorce or death ever do us part, the coroner will call it a broken heart.” Other barn-burners include Chainsaw and Night Gone Wasted, and while the wah-wah guitar opening of I’m a Keeper might seem to indicate brothers Reid and Neil want to indulge the rock-star fantasies their haircuts betray, there are anchors like the steady plucking below the surface of DONE that anchor the band. There’s also Kimberly’s exasperated grunt at the end of the song that indicate this is not as tidy as the country pop we are used to.
Indeed, it did seem that The Band Perry may use a second album to veer off into a rootsier pose, at one point courting one-time Johnny Cash producer Rick Rubin. But they ended up engaging Dann Huff, architect of several of Rascal Flatts’ successes, as well as arena stars Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, and Michael Jackson.
The Band Perry may be a trio of kids, but they know exactly where they want to go, and that’s playing second fiddle to no one in arenas.
Central Kentucky has more of a rooting interest in the Hollywood round of American Idol as Winchester’s Lauren Mink, a Georgetown College alum, is getting a second chance at the competition. Mink advanced to Hollywood last year but did not make it to the live competition.
She will be joined in Hollywood by Kelly Casey of Nicholasville, who advanced out of the Baton Rouge auditions.
Mink auditioned in Charlotte, which was shown Wednesday night, and impressed a mostly new slate of judges including Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.
“The judges were so different this year,” Mink says in a video on the Idol website. “I was really excited there was Keith Urban, who is a country person, which is awesome. They never had a country judge before. But I was shocked that Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey liked me so much. They’re probably the ones that were most complimentary to me.”
According to her Facebook page, Mink started singing at age 9 and has performed around Central Kentucky and recorded two albums, an inspirational/contemporary Christian album and a collection of country originals.
Like Casey, Mink counts fellow country singer Carrie Underwood among her favorite Idol winners, though she’s also a fan of original winner Kelly Clarkson.
And like pretty much everyone else in the competition, Mink thinks she would be an ideal Season 12 winner.
“I think I’m a good singer,” Mink says on her video. “It’s taken me a long time to say that I’m a good singer. It’s taken a lot of people telling me I’m a good singer. I don’t feel like I’m cocky about it. I feel like I’m just very confident in who I am as an artist, and I think that I’m also a good role model.”
Also like Casey, Mink was not seen in the episode covering the audition from which she advanced. But Hollywood is coming.
Note: The original posting of this story misidentified Mink as a Georgetown College student. She is an alum.
Nicholasville farm girl Kelly Casey says she auditioned for American Idol so friends and family would stop bugging her to audition. It seems like they had the right idea, because she’s going to Hollywood.
“I’ve always kind of been told that I should audition, and I never have in the past,” Casey says in a video on the Idol website. “This is my first time, so I was just kind of trying to get people off of my back about doing it and, wow, I got a golden ticket. It’s incredible.”
Casey advanced out of the Baton Rouge auditions, which were broadcast Thursday night on Fox. She was not seen on the episode, and there are several more audition cities to be shown before Hollywood episodes next month, which will be the next chance to see Casey compete.
As a two-time Miss Kentucky contestant, Casey is no stranger to competition, and she has maintained an active singing career in Central Kentucky. In the Idol video, she says her rural upbringing will be a key to her success on the show.
She says, “I think I’m the next American Idol because growing up in a rural area and living on a farm in Kentucky has taught me a great work ethic, which I can convert into music, because no matter how cold it is outside or what’s going on, if it’s Christmas, the animals still have to be taken care of.”
Casey’s Facebook fan page lists her as a country and Christian musician with favorites and influences including Shania Twain and Martina McBride. Her favorite Idol contestant is fairly easy to guess: Carrie Underwood.
““She’s extremely successful, and it’s the same genre of music that I have grown up listening to,” Casey says. “I love country music.”
Carrie Underwood‘s new album is called Blown Away and it includes a song named Cupid’s Got a Shotgun.
But it is in the album’s quieter moments that Underwood shows her true gift as an artist: she kills you.
Blown Away includes several selections akin to her instant classic rockers such as Cowboy Casanova and Before He Cheats that Underwood delivers with sass and authority. But the magic on her fourth album since her victorious turn on season four of American Idol is when she lays aside the theatrics and the pretensions of the “is this country?” chatter and just sings some honest, relateable songs from a woman who sounds like she still tools around her native Oklahoma in a Ford Escape.
Chief among these is Forever Changed by Tom Douglas, James T. Slater and Hillary Lindsey, a heartbreaking ballad about a lovely life slipping away to Alzheimer’s. Underwood has been saying she can’t sing the song live because it’s too emotional, and wiping away a few tears listening to it, you can understand. The emotions aren’t quite as intense, but no less real on other tracks such as Thank God for Hometowns, Good in Goodbye and See You Again. The main quality that made Underwood an Idol winner and its most successful graduate was people feel like they know her, like she is a girl next door. That feeling endures.
It has helped that she can have some fun, and that comes here in the leadoff single and track, Good Girl, as well as the standout storytelling song Two Black Cadillacs, the tale of a mistress and a wife and the late scoundrel they unwittingly shared. It paints the revenge fantasy of Before He Cheats a few shades darker.
In title, Blown Away promises a bit more than it delivers. But we already knew she could do those big rockers and ballads. The discovery here is more subtle and intimate.
Country stars Montgomery Gentry and Laura Bell Bundy may spend a lot of their time in Nashville these days, but they are coming home next week to help victims of the tornadoes that swept through Eastern Kentucky March 2.
The Central Kentucky artists are teaming for the Kentucky Cares concert at 8 p.m. March 9 at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday (May 1) for the show. All proceeds will go to the Kentucky Red Cross, which is heading up relief efforts in Kentucky communities such as West Liberty that were devastated by the storms.
Danville native Eddie Montgomery and Nicholasville’s Troy Gentry are well into their second hitmaking decade. Their latest album, Rebels on the Run, features the single Where I Come From.
Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy became a Tony Award nominee for her performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde – The Musical, before she turned her attention to country music. Her next album, Another Piece of Me, is expected later this year.
It’s been an active week for Kentucky duo Montgomery Gentry.
Monday, it was announced that the group received a CMT Music Awards nomination for duo video of the year for Where I Come From, an emotional clip that portrays a soldier injured in battle reflecting on the small town he comes from. Carrie Underwood was the big nominee with five nods in the awards, which are voted on by viewers, so you can go click now. The show is at 8 p.m. June 6.
But you can see Montgomery Gentry on your TV this week on ABC’s The Revolution at 2 p.m. April 26 on WTVQ (Digital 36-1|Insight 10) here in the Bluegrass. The duo will be showing fashion expert Tim Gunn around some of their favorite Nashville style haunts. According to a news release from the duo’s publicists, Troy Gentry will take Gunn to hip outfitter Aimee Johns’ Flavour for Men while Eddie Montgomery will introduce Gunn to Morelia Ceuvas, daughter of Manuel, the legendary designer who made Johnny Cash the man in black and gave Elvis Presley his gold lamé suit. The Revolution is ABC’s new daytime lifestyle talk show which premiered in January with hosts including Project Runway’s Gunn and Extreme Makeover host Ty Pennington.
For years, the theater in the Lexington Public Library downtown has been a venue for plays, films, talks, music and candidate debates.
This month, the renamed Will Stamps Farish Fund Theater at Central Library is reintroducing itself with numerous upgrades, from the dressing rooms backstage to the technology in the control room. The $537,288 renovation to the theater and its lobby, including a $100,000 endowment for maintenance of the 12-year-old Foucault Pendulum and Ceiling Clock, was funded primarily with grants from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation Inc. and the William Stamps Farish Fund, and several other donors.
“In the 12 years I’ve been here, this is the biggest donation to the library that I have heard of,” said media relations coordinator Doug Tattershall. “This was a huge undertaking to do this not with public funds but with private donations.”
Folks will have ample opportunity to check out the facilities thanks to an April calendar full of presentations, from concerts to theater to film screenings and discussions. The list of performers includes local favorites such as self-proclaimed “honky-tonk soul” artists Coralee and the Townies and comedian Etta May, movies such as Coal Miner’s Daughter and several foreign films, and groups such as Accents Publishing.
Library director Ann Hammond says the renovation was done purposefully, with extensive consultations with the arts community about what their needs would be in a new performance venue.
“They wanted the equipment to be more comprehensive, more up-to-date,” Hammond says. “They had, basically, VHS technology. So now we’ve got Blu-ray, we’ve got all kinds of ability to project and to record.”
Jim Chandler, director of support services, points out that all the systems may be operated from iPads, so a technical director could sit in the theater and make adjustments rather than hoping what he or she is seeing or hearing in the booth is the same as what the audience is experiencing.
Hammond said groups also wanted the theater’s heating and air-conditioning systems addressed, both in terms of climate control and noise, and they wanted better backstage accommodations and more stage access from backstage. All of those things have been dealt with, Hammond says.
For the audience, seats have been staggered to allow better stage views, and there are cup holders. Food and drink will be allowed in the theater because a rubberized compound has replaced carpeting on the floor.
“We’re going to be a little friendlier to people who come in and use the theater,” Hammond says.
And in the changing world of libraries, an asset like a theater is very important, she says.
“A library’s greatest place in society is to be that leveling force, that place where you can come and you know you’re going to be welcome and you don’t have to pay an entry fee, and you get help with your information needs, you can attend a program, you can take class, you can come hang out and have a sense of community,” she says. “That’s what we’re hoping to create here. We want to be a welcoming space for the entire community, and with the theater, with the art gallery, with all the other provisions that the library offers, I think we’re doing that.”
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