Lineup complete for Red, White & Boom 2015

Chris Young is one of the headliners this year at Red, White and Boom. Photo from chrisyoungcountry.com.

Chris Young is one of the headliners this year at Red, White and Boom. Photo from chrisyoungcountry.com.

With an announcement Monday morning on WBUL-FM 98.1, the lineup is now set for this year’s edition of the Red, White & Boom country music romp at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

Like last year, it will be a two-day festival, but this year it will be on Friday and Saturday, and it will be the weekend before the the Fourth of July, where the festival started years ago as a downtown Independence Day extravaganza.

 

Like the lineup, headliners Chris Young and Phil Vassar represent country music both new and traditional.

That’s not to say Young is any sort of newcomer. Since winning the competition show Nashville Star in 2006, he has released four full-length albums and had five No. 1 country singles including Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song). His latest is I’m Comin’ Over, and he is currently working on his fifth studio album.

Vassar’s career just predated big singer-competition shows as his first No. 1, Just Another Day in Paradise, dropped in 1999. That same year, he was named ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year, having penned hits for Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina and Colin Raye. Michael Jordan, operations manager for Clear Channel Lexington, said, “Phil’s set is nothing but huge hits.”

Performance days for the artists will be announced Monday afternoon. A limited number of tickets are still available. Here’s a look at the rest of the lineup:

Eric Paslay returns to the fest after a rousing set last year. Like Vassar, he has penned No. 1 hits for several other artists including Jake Owen’s Barefoot Blue Jean Night, and he is continuing to tour off his 2014 debut album.

Kelsea Ballerini. Photo from Sweet Talk PR.

Kelsea Ballerini. Photo from Sweet Talk PR.

Kelsea Ballerini just released her debut album, The First Time, in May, which includes the hit single Love Me Like You Mean It.

The Cadillac Three were just dubbed by Rolling Stone as, “the workingman’s country-rock band,” in a review of their CMA Fest performance. Their big hit is The South, but their latest, White Lightning, is quickly gaining traction.

Michael Ray hails from Eustis, Fla., and after making a big splash in the Sunshine State, he came to Nashville to record his debut album, Livin’ it Up, which includes the single Kiss You This Morning. 

Casey James jumps off the lineup as another musician who first came to our attention through a reality-competition, as a contestant on American Idol in 2010. His latest single is Fall Apart.

LoCash. Photo by Jake Harsh.

LoCash’s Chris Lucas and Preston Brust. Photo by Jake Harsh.

LoCash are the guys who gave Tim McGraw Truck Yeah, and a number of other artists hits. In their own rights, the duo of Chris Lucas and Preston Brust performed for several years as the LoCash Cowboys and have recently renamed themselves LoCash. Their latest single is I Love This Life. It seems to be a safe bet they are also the only artists in the Boom lineup with a signature wine line: Shipwrecked from Stonum Vineyards of Lodi, Calif.

Drake White is probably the only Boom artist with a degree in building engineering, and he worked as a general contractor in Nashville before quitting that job to pursue a music career. (Don’t all Nashville contractors really want to be country stars?) His latest single is It Feels Good.

Mo Pitney presents the options. From mopitney.com.

Mo Pitney presents the options. From mopitney.com.

Mo Pitney‘s debut single Country is a big ol’  embrace of the music and professed lifestyle, and then it makes a much bigger statement. It has more that 1.5 million listens on Spotify. Cleanup on Aisle Five is a much bigger weeper than the kinda fun title suggests.

Haley Georgia might sound like a traditional country artist name — who is actually from Texas — but as her debut single Ridiculous shows, her sound and profile are very modern. Billboard referred to her as “Country in the key of Ke$ha.”

John King (not the CNN anchor) is actually from Georgia, and toured heavily throughout the country before landing a Nashville recording contract. His first EP, On Your Lips, dropped in March with the single Tonight Tonight (Best Night of Our Lives) (we presume the parenthetical is to reduce confusion with the Genesis song of the same name).

And Boom is throwing in DJ Tank, known for some Louisville gigs, to keep the party rolling.

Share
Posted in Country music, Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Lineup complete for Red, White & Boom 2015

Montgomery Gentry and Laura Bell Bundy drop new music on the same day

Laura Bell Bundy's 'Another Piece of Me' was released on June 9, 2015. Photo from laurabellbundy.com.

Laura Bell Bundy’s ‘Another Piece of Me’ was released on June 9, 2015. Photo from laurabellbundy.com.

Nobody declared June 9, 2015, new music day in Kentucky, but that’s what we have with new releases from two Central Kentucky artists.

Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry's 'Folks Like Us' is their first new album in three years. Photo from montgomerygentry.com.

Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry’s ‘Folks Like Us’ is their first new album in three years. Photo from montgomerygentry.com.

Newly inducted Kentucky Music Hall of Fame members Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, known to country music fans as Montgomery Gentry, dropped Folks Like Us, their first new album in three years and Blaster Records debut.

Laura Bell Bundy, who may have one of the most multi-faceted careers of anyone is show business today, is out with her latest country release, Another Piece of Me, fresh off turning heads on the Tony Awards red carpet.

Bundy is best known for her film and stage work, including regular roles on FX’s Anger Management and The CW’s Hart of Dixie and Broadway turns in Wicked, Hairspray and her Tony Award-nominated performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde — The Musical.

But from her work with childhood friend Amber Rhodes to her solo albums both on independent and major labels, country music has always been a passion project for Bundy, and in interviews, she has said the new album is her most personal project yet.

Another Piece of Me boasts a trademark Bundy dance song, and Two Step is the one here, with Bundy talking us through it like a Broadway choreographer. Regardless of where you put her, there will always be a storyteller in Bundy, and songs like She Only Wants to Dance and China and Wine have moments where that stage interpreter comes out.

And Montgomery Gentry will always be guys from rural Kentucky, as Folks Like Us attests. In the title tune, they sing in the chorus, “Raise ’em up, if you’re thinkin’, This ole’ world ain’t got enough, Boot wearin’, God fearin’, Folks like us.” It is well worn territory for the guys, and frankly they do the small town reminiscing song a lot better than a lot of acts; it seems to come from a more honest place. The clarity is reminiscent of John Mellencamp’s Cherry Bomb. And as Montgomery and Gentry showed at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame ceremony in April, it’s a role they play very well and the audience loves it.

Hillbilly Hippies seems to want to be a summer anthem, and who knows. These next three months always seem bigger than their actual spot on the calendar, and Bundy and the boys are getting them started off right.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Montgomery Gentry and Laura Bell Bundy drop new music on the same day

Summer Classic: The quotable ‘Casablanca’

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in their final scene from 'Casablanca.'

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in their final scene from ‘Casablanca.’

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Casablanca  (1942) is the star-crossed lovers Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), whose passion couldn’t overcome the war that tore them apart.

The thing most people say are the quotes. You would think Casablanca, this week’s Summer Classic at the Kentucky Theatre, was a 1980s teen comedy for all it’s great lines that get repeated on an almost daily basis from media to private conversations.

“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”

“We’ll always have Paris.”

“… it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

“Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.”

“I stick my neck out for nobody!”

“Mostly I remember the last one. The wow finish. A guy standing on a station platform in the rain with a comical look in his face because his insides have been kicked out.”

“Round up the usual suspects.”

“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

And, of course, there’s “Play it again, Sam,” a line that was never actually spoken in the movie, though it is often attributed to it, thanks in part to Woody Allen’s 1969 Broadway play and 1972 movie of that name, in which he is a recently divorced man who gets advice about how to treat women from Rick.

The line, “Play it, Sam,” comes from Ilsa, when she arrives at Rick’s Café Américain, sees Rick’s friend and pianist Sam (Dooley Wilson) and asks him to play her and Rick’s song, As Time Goes By, which has the memorable opening line, “You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh … ”

The other memorable exchange over As Time Goes By is between Sam and Rick, who asks the pianist to play it after longstanding orders not to.

“You played it for her, you can play it for me!”

“…Well, I don’t think I can remember…”

“If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”

Woody Allen was far from the only man looking to Rick for guidance in cool and romance, and Bogie owes a lot to the screenwriters for that status with lines like, “Go ahead and shoot. You’ll be doing me a favor,” and arguably Casablanca‘s most enduring classic, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Saturday Night Live had a bit of fun with Rick’s cool this season in a skit with guest host J.K. Simmons and cast member Kate McKinnon playing the airport scene where Rick talks Ilsa into getting on the plane with Victor Laslo. In one line, he tells her that if she stayed, “Nine chances out of ten, we’d both wind up in a concentration camp.” On  SNL, Ilsa recoils, “Concentration camp? Ewwwww,” and starts trying to wriggle away and high-tail out of there while Rick continues his noble speech.

Such is the enduring appeal of this 73-year-old classic, that a show focused on the pop culture of today considers it relevant. And in part, it has to do with all those quotes that keep popping up.

At one point is the Belmont Stakes telecast Saturday, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas invoked Captain Renault’s classic exclamation, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

It will be no shock if Casablanca once again draws a full house for Summer Classics.

  • Casablanca shows at 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. June 10 at the Kentucky Theatre.
Share
Posted in Film, Kentucky Theatre | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Summer Classic: The quotable ‘Casablanca’

2015 Tony Awards live blog

Alan Cumming, left, and Kristin Chenoweth arrive at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Alan Cumming, left, and Kristin Chenoweth arrive at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Well the Tony Awards seem like a good excuse to finally break le blog’s unplanned hiatus (May was a busy month professionally and personally, including one child graduating from high school and another turning 16).

The Tonys are an interesting award show for those of us in Flyover country, because few of us outside the New York metropolitan area have seen many or even any of the contenders. Frequently, we here in Kentucky have rooting interests, like last year when Lexingtonian Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch was a big winner (with fellow Lexingtonians Justin Craig and Matt Duncan on stage with Neil Patrick Harris for the show-stopping Sugar Daddy), or years when Bluegrass State natives such as Steve Kazee and Laura Bell Bundy were nominees.

This year, there aren’t any Kentuckians among the contenders I am aware of (correct me if I am wrong), but the Tonys are still great for us for two big reasons:

1. It gives us a preview of what we can see if we travel to NYC and will see on local and regional stages in a few years.

2. It is usually one of the best if not the best major award show of the year. These people know how to do it live, and I have full faith in Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming for a great show.

Once they sign on, I’ll be checking in with thoughts and comments; maybe some photos if I can grab them (check out Alan’s formal wear, above).

The show blog is below. If you want to read it in chronological order, start from the bottom and scroll up.

Post-script

Kristin Caskey, center, along with cast and crew accepts the award for best musical for “Fun Home”at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kristin Caskey, center, along with cast and crew accepts the award for best musical for “Fun Home”at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Neil Patrick Harris made a little joke about his consensus disappointing gig hosting the Oscars this year, a gig earned from several successful turns hosting the Tonys. What worked for him at the Tonys also worked for Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming: their own winning personalities combined with fellow live performers, all having a good time. They can come back, shorts formal wear and all.

The performances seemed to affirm a number of the verdicts: Fun Home clearly came across as the most inventive and affecting show. While Something Rotten looked like a scream, Fun Home felt like the strongest offering. In contrast, The King and I is classic 20th century Broadway, but its Tony presentation had a fresh spark.

Plays are always harder to tell, because we never get to see much of them on the Tonys. The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time looked intriguing, but those of us who had not seen the nominees had little to go on. Yes, this putting on a show, but it seems the TV and stage producers could find a more respectful way to present the play nominees.*

Al-in-all, on Broadway’s big night of prime time, it acquitted itself well.

* This is an annual complaint.

10:59 pm

Playing the best musical speech off seemed to indicate CBS was not going to let the Tonys shoot 45 minutes over like, oh, the interminable Grammys, earlier this year.

This may paint me as old school but, with all due respect to the Jersey Boys (who were just at the Belmont on Saturday), whatever happened to just giving out the big award at the end of the show and saying good night? Trying to come up with a grand finale rarely seems to work. The show did what it was supposed to do. Say goodnight, Gracie — or Kristin and Alan.

10:55 pm

Jason Alexader, left, and Larry David present an award at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Jason Alexader, left, and Larry David present an award at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Best musical nominees had to wait ’til the of the Larry and Jason show to find out Fun Home won.

10:48 pm

Kelli O’Hara accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical for “The King and I” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kelli O’Hara accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical for “The King and I” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

“I don’t need this, but now that I have it, I have some things to say,” six-time nominee, first-time winner Kelli O’Hara accepting best actress in a musical for The King and I. Lovely moment with her and Ken Watanabe, and nice shout out to fellow Oklahoman Kristin Chenoweth, who was acting sore back stage. Acting.

Did she just say, “I’m going to do the worm”?

10:44 pm

“The home I have found with some grace … is to talk into the darkness.” — Michael Cerveris from his lovely speech accepting the award for best actor in a musical for Fun Home. Off track, but on target.

10:36 pm

Josh Groban, center, performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Josh Groban, center, performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

I am on the record as not being a Josh Groban fan, but that You’ll Never Walk Alone for the In Memoriam segment was lovely, especially the chorus of performers from nominated musicals in costume.

10:31 pm

Alex Sharp accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Alex Sharp accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Alex Sharp is 25, and he just went out and beat Bradley Cooper, Bill Nighy and others for the Tony for best actor in a play for his performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Pretty sweet, and cool reaffirmation that stage is its own playing field.

10:15 pm

What we learned tonight from Alan: Harry Connick Jr. is America’s Sweetheart.

10:11 pm

The bumpers are a scream. I gained respect for Josh Groban for how he played along in that last one. Kristin: “Alan, are you dead?”

10:06 pm

Matthew Morrison, left, and Kelsey Grammer of “Finding Neverland” perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Matthew Morrison, left, and Kelsey Grammer of “Finding Neverland” perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

There was a time when you had to be a Tony nominated musical to get a number on the awards. Guess it helps to have Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison in your cast. Downside: If that’s the big number, we understand why Finding Neverland wasn’t nominated. Upside: That few minutes was better than the entire NBC Peter Pan … thing.

9:49 pm

Jennifer Nettles? For a second, I thought I fell asleep and woke up in the CMA Awards.

9:40 pm

There are definitely more informed opinions out there, but every Roundabout Theatre revival I have seen has been outstanding, and On the 20th Century certainly appeared to be cut from that cloth.

9:32 pm

Ruthie Ann Miles came close to being demoted to the chorus line with that speech (see 8:20 pm).

9:24 pm

The cast of “On the Town” performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

The cast of “On the Town” performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Another pic from earlier: Airborne with On the Town.

9:21 pm

Kristin Chenoweth, left, and Alan Cumming perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kristin Chenoweth, left, and Alan Cumming perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Photo from earlier (above). Alan Cumming appears to be doing a Mother Ginger thing.

9:11 pm

Sydney Lucas from the cast of "Fun Home" performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Sydney Lucas from the cast of “Fun Home” performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Wow, arresting performance from Fun Home. It felt very fresh next to the revival performances we have seen so far.

9:05 pm

Fun Home appears to be on a roll.

9 pm

Vaness Hudgens, left, Victoria Clark and the cast of “Gigi” perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Vaness Hudgens, left, Victoria Clark and the cast of “Gigi” perform at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Ashley Tisdale introducing Vanessa Hudgens in the Gigi performance … now we know where the High School Musical cast ended up.

8:55 pm

We have an excellent story on Fun Home, for which Sam Gold just won best director, up at LexGo.com.

8:50 pm

Kristin and Alan are funny. But that Tommy Tune tribute was a great reminder that they are best when they are singing and dancing.

Christian Borle accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for “Something Rotten!” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Christian Borle accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for “Something Rotten!” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

8:37 pm

Some Lexington notes on Christian Borle’s win for Something Rotten: Christian was Laura Bell Bundy’s leading man in Legally Blonde — The Musical, for which they were both nominated for Tonys. Also, his last win was for Peter and the Star Catcher, which Lexington Opera House general manager Luanne Franklin LOVED and brought to Lexington on this just past Broadway Live season. She just came back from NYC RAVING about Something Rotten. So, as soon as she can get it in Lexington …

8:30 pm

My impression of Ken Watanabe was rearranged in about a minute there. OK, Kristin and Alan are definitely having a good time.

8:23 pm

If the Brits keep winning at this rate, it will start to feel like the Oscars in the 1990s — Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe for The Audience, are the nights first two winners.

8:20 pm

Alan Cumming, center, performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Alan Cumming, center, performs at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Go too long and you’re demoted to the chorus line?

8:14 pm

Helen Mirren accepts the award for performance by an actress in a leading role in a play for “The Audience” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Helen Mirren accepts the award for performance by an actress in a leading role in a play for “The Audience” at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Helen Mirren adds a Tony to her trophy case for The Audience. So cast Dame Helen as the Queen, she wins an award.

8:01 pm

Kristin Chenoweth, left, and Alan Cumming perform a medley at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kristin Chenoweth, left, and Alan Cumming perform a medley at the 69th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

My son already wants Alan Cumming’s outfit for prom. You wanted Alan to sing Willkommen. (But he can’t seem to get her to sing Popular.)

Share
Posted in Television, Theater | Tagged , , | Comments

‘Live from Lincoln Center’ coming to Shaker Village music fest

Patrons filled the Meadow View Barn for the May 30, 2010 performance of the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass. Photos by Kirk Schlea.

Patrons filled the Meadow View Barn for the May 30, 2010 performance of the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass. Photos by Kirk Schlea.

For decades, arts fans have tuned into PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center to find out what is happening at the venerable New York institution.

At the end of this month, the series will travel from New York for the first time to find out what happens at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill every Memorial Day weekend.

Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han are artistic directors of the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass. They are shown performing in the Meadow View Barn  May 30, 2010 at the Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill.  © Photo by Kirk Schlea.

Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han are artistic directors of the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass. They are shown performing in the Meadow View Barn May 30, 2010 at the Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill.

Since 2007, the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass has welcomed musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, led by artistic directors cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, for a weekend of performances in the village and at the hilltop Meadow View Barn, which was restored for the event.

This year’s fest will present a slightly expanded lineup of 14 musicians to present American works such as Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring — if you heard the Lexington Philharmonic present the chamber setting in 2011, you know how lovely that version is –for the broadcast on July 31. Click here for more on the performances that weekend and ticket information.

Live from Lincoln Center is celebrating its 40th season, but this will be the first time it has taken the show on the road.

“With this upcoming broadcast event, we reach new horizons in showcasing the excellent Chamber Music Society musicians, from a stage beyond our concert halls in New York,” Andrew C. Wilk, executive producer of the series, said in a news release. “The Chamber Music Society is a great ambassador and this is an exciting way to conclude a remarkable season of incredible events.”

Share
Posted in Classical Music, KET, Music, PBS, Television | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Live from Lincoln Center’ coming to Shaker Village music fest

Celebrity guest lists for the 2015 Kentucky Derby

Tammy McIntyre-Demuth shakes hands with Josh Henderson star of TNT’s revival of "Dallas" outside the annual Barnstable Brown Gala was held at the Barnstable Mansion, Friday, May 2, 2014 in Louisville. Herald-Leader photo by Danielle Palmer.

Tammy McIntyre-Demuth shakes hands with Josh Henderson star of TNT’s revival of “Dallas” outside the annual Barnstable Brown Gala was held at the Barnstable Mansion, Friday, May 2, 2014 in Louisville. Herald-Leader photo by Danielle Palmer.

We could work any number of cliches about stars over Louisville or just say, it’s Derby time. That means celebrities.

As with every year, the guest lists at Derby Eve parties and in the luxury seats and boxes are filled with newcomers and old friends, current marquee toppers and names from the past.

150430Sambora2

Richie Sambora, lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, leaves the red carpet before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014. Herald-Leader photo by David Stephenson.

A surefire way to get someone coming back to the Derby is to get them here the first time as recent first timers now back for more include Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, who will once again be auctioning off a guitar at the Barnstable-Brown Gala, and Dallas star Josh Henderson, returning for a third time to the Barnstables and the big race.

Making a very strong play for its place in the Derby Eve party constel … uh … among the Derby Eve events is the newly minted Hermitage Grand Gala, hosted by 21c Museum Hotels owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson at their Hermitage Farm in Goshen along with former University of Louisville basketball standout and NBA star Junior Bridgeman and his wife Doris Bridgeman. The event is a sort of marriage of the two presenters’ previous Derby Eve parties.

Their lineup is topped by entertainers Darius Rucker, who promises a 45-minute set of solo and Hootie and the Blowfish classics; R&B chart-topper Ne-Yo and DJ Cassidy, a New York spinner whose personal style is tres Derby.

Topping the guest list is movie star and comedian Chris Rock, joined by fellow actors Martin Lawrence, David Arquette, Dean Norris of Breaking Bad and Under the Dome, Chadwick Boseman of Get On Up, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, actor and director Tate Taylor, singer Nick Lachey and his wife Vanessa Minnillo Lachey, TV personalities Andy Cohen and Star Jones, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and The Help novelist Kathryn Stockett.

OK, someone at this party needs to get Bassett and Boseman to channel their Tina Turner and James Brown performances onstage, and it could melt down.

Also on the guest list, according to some sources, is University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.

Meanwhile, back in Louisville, a number of this year’s thrilling UK men’s basketball team will be at the Barnstable-Brown Gala, now in its 27th year. Cats expected in attendance include Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker, Dakari Johnson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein. They will be joined by UK’s biggest football alum now in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb and fellow Packers Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.

The guest list of twins Patricia Barnstable Brown and Priscilla Barnstable also includes Super Bowl champion (again) New England Patriots Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, visits with fans as she leaves the red carpet before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014. Herald-Leader photo by David Stephenson.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, visits with fans as she leaves the red carpet before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 3, 2014. Herald-Leader photo by David Stephenson.

As is usually the case, the Barnstables have the longest guest list, including musicians Brian McKnight, New Edition’s Johnny GillBoyz II Men, Run DMC’s Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, country star Clay Walker, Michael Jackson guitarist and solo artist Orianthi, country musician Terri ClarkRon Isley of the Isley Brothers, Salt-N-PepaMorris Day, Travis Tritt, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Mary Wilson of the Supremes, ‘N Sync’s Joey Fatone and newly inducted Kentucky Music Hall of Famers Montgomery Gentry.

Reality TV tends to make a strong showing at the Derby, with stars such as Robert Herjavec of Shark TankKym Johnson of Dancing With the Stars and multi-show star Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett. From the scripted TV world, there is Stephen Amell of Arrow, Liam McIntyre of Spartacus and Julie Benz of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dexter. This party also attracts a smashing model or two and Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellingson is on this year’s guest list.

We didn’t finish the athlete list earlier, which also includes football stars Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos, Vince Wilfork of the Houston Texans and Matt Cassel of the Buffalo Bills, NHL player Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche,  Ohio State basketball standout and NBA hopeful D’Angelo Russell and NBA players Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and former Cats Julius Randle of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Also returning this year are Olympic ice skaters and social media and TV personalities Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, who will be interviewing the stars themselves on NBC’s red carpet Saturday.

That’s where all the stars will converge, including attendees at the Unbridled Eve Derby Gala at the Galt House in Downtown Louisville. The event’s website is somewhat murky on who is coming this year, but the Courier-Journal reports the guest list includes TV stars Sarah Hyland of Modern FamilyDavid Walton of About a BoyRose McGowan of The WB’s Charmed and the movie Scream, Diego Klattenhoff of The Blacklist, Don Most of Happy Days, Paget Brewster of Criminal Minds and Friends, Maj Delfino most recently seen on Friends With Better Lives and personalities Robin Meade of  CNN and Bachelor and Bachelorette star Bob Guiney. 

There are a few film stars coming including Michelle Rodriguez of the Fast and Furious franchise, Claire Forlani of Meet Joe Black and Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame.

Musicians include American Idol winners Ruben Studdard and Kris AllenWayne Nelson of the Little River Band and country artist Ray Scott.

Sports stars include jockey Jean Cruguet, who rode Seattle Slew to the Triple Crown; football stars Chris Cantry of the Baltimore Ravens and Warren Moon of the Houston Oilers, and Louisville basketball star Luke Hancock.

Author Nora Roberts is expected along with model Bonnie Jill Laflin and pageant winners Miss America Kira Kazantsev, Ms. Kentucky United States Laura Grant, Miss Kentucky United States Katie Himes and Miss Teen Kentucky United States Adrienne Poole.

And here’s the wildcard: You never know who else might show up.

We will be out Friday and Saturday on the Derby celebrity beat. Follow us at LexGo.com and on Twitter at @LexGoKy.

Share
Posted in Derby | Tagged , , | Comments

Derby helped bridge distance between Mom and me

Monarchos, on the outside, with Jorge Chavez up charges past Congaree and Victor Espinoza in the stretch of the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky Saturday May 5, 2001.

Monarchos, on the outside, with Jorge Chavez up charges past Congaree and Victor Espinoza in the 2001 Kentucky Derby. Like many winning Derby picks, my Mom went with Monarchos for his name © Herald-Leader staff photo by Ron Garrison.

My mother’s stockbroker was explaining to my brother-in-law a frustration of dealing with Mom.

There was a stock she wanted to buy that he had advised against; it just didn’t have much of a chance of doing anything, he thought.

It ended up outperforming everything else in her portfolio. The stock in question: Dollar Tree. Leave it to my cheapska … uh … frugal mom to pick a winning stock and it be Dollar Tree.

Madge Poole Copley, 1924-2015.

Madge Poole Copley, 1924-2015.

That was Mom, my brother-in-law explained, elaborating that every year, she would send her son a list of bets for the Kentucky Derby, and she always won. And he was not wrong, I can say, being the son in question. I would annually crumple up my tickets as the horses crossed the finish line, but still have to dutifully schlep to the pari-mutuel window to cash Mom’s winning tickets.

What was her strategy? Jockeys? Previous performance? Running times? What data was she mining from the Daily Racing Form to place her wagers?

None. She picked by names. She liked cute names. She really liked cat names, which didn’t end up winning in her Derby era, but were on several occasions good for a profitable place or show, like Bluegrass Cat in 2006.

But she did not discriminate against other animals, so Mine That Bird in 2009 was her pick, along with Animal Kingdom in 2011. There was some family story that got her behind Smarty Jones in 2004, and while I had picked Monarchos, my favorite Derby winner, based on some of his connections and performance, Mom just tapped the 2001 winner because my alma mater is Old Dominion University – the Monarchs.

Eventually, I learned my lesson and started basing my bets at least in part on Mom’s choices. As we said, she was chea … uh … thrifty, so Super Saver obviously paid off in 2011.

This year, I don’t know who to choose.

Mom died on April 13, after contending with a variety of complications following a fall last year.

Picking winning Derby horses was just one of the many wonderful qualities of my beautiful, courageous and clever mother. She and her identical twin sister had all kinds of fun confusing the boys of Troy, N.C., and Duke University. Following my father’s death when I was 12, she endured the financial and emotional struggle of single parenthood, but I never knew it because she put on such a brave face. She was a wit who could lay out an entire room in laughter with one quiet comment.

Mom worked until she was 87 and lived to 90.

When we called from Athens, Ga., in the winter of 1998 and told her we were moving to Kentucky, I imagine there was some disappointment that the move wasn’t closer to her home in Virginia Beach, Va. But she was kind of excited that an annual trip to the Kentucky Derby came with the move. She seemed to enjoy it vicariously through me.

Mom had always liked horse racing. She had a little horse-riding in her past, growing up in North Carolina. I remember when I was in elementary school, there was a TV show each week called Let’s Go to the Races, and during the week, you would go to the grocery store and get a ticket that had your pick for each race on it. If your horse won, you’d go back and get some cash. Mom loved it, and I remember her following the Triple Crown campaigns of Seattle Slew and Affirmed in the 1970s. I think she would have liked to have seen another Triple Crown in the 21st century as much as anyone.

Over the years, she toured the Derby Museum, amassed a good julep glass collection — on her first visit to Kentucky, I made a pitcher of mint juleps that had to be the strongest drink that woman ever put to her lips — and, as I saw when I was looking through her stuff last weekend, she taped a lot of Derbys before her last VCR died.

Calling Mom from Churchill Downs was a Derby Day tradition for me to make sure her bets were in order. This year, I expect a melancholy moment when I want to call her and remember, I can’t anymore.

But for me, Derby will endure as an event that helped melt away the miles and mountain range between us. And that is far more valuable than picking a winner.

Share
Posted in Apropos of nothing, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments

Kentucky Theatre Summer Classics 2015

A very young Drew Barrymore plants a kiss on the title character in "E.T." (1982).

A very young Drew Barrymore plants a kiss on the title character in “E.T.” (1982).

Big names! Big titles! Big action! Sumptuous romance! Hilarious comedy!

Yes, summertime is blockbuster season, when Hollywood rolls out popcorn fare and huge crowd pleasers. This year’s Summer Classics series as the Kentucky Theatre takes a similar tact, loading the lineup with some of the biggest titles in movie history, including Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca, as well as several films Gen Xers will reluctantly acknowledge have made their ways into the classics category, including E.T. and The Princess Bride. There’s even a nod to early Millennials with the series finale.

Here’s the list, where we will attempt to not to overuse the word quintessential. As always, screenings are at 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, and admission is $6.

May 27: Blade Runner (Final Cut) (1982). Harrison Ford sci-fi thriller.
June 3: An American in Paris (1951). Gene Kelly, singing, dancing, romancing.
June 10: Casablanca (1942). Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s ill-fated World War II romance.
June 17: The Wizard of Oz (1939). Beware the flying monkeys.
June 24: A Night at the Opera (1935). The Marx Brothers movie, not the Queen album.
July 1: Gone With the Wind (1939). The quintessential classic.
July 8: The Princess Bride (1987). (Insert your favorite quote here.)
July 15: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Mid July is a perfect time to admire how Gregory Peck keeps a suit on through the entire Alabama summer.
July 22: The Sound of Music (1965). Julie Andrews!
July 29: E.T. (1982). Pretty much defined “Spielberg movie.”
Aug. 5: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) with The Black Cat (1934). Double feature with early horror master, Boris Karloff.
Aug. 12: Charade (1963). Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn thriller.
Aug. 19: Rear Window (1954). Jimmy Stewart! Grace Kelly! Alfred Hitchcock! What more do you want?!
Aug. 26: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Quintessential Clint Eastwood. Quintessential spaghetti western.
Sept. 2: The Big Lebowski (1998). the dude abides

Share
Posted in Film, Kentucky Theatre | Tagged , , | Comments

Review: Ben Sollee at the Kentucky Theatre

Cellist and singer Ben Sollee on stage at the Kentucky Theatre on April 22, 2015, with percussionist Jordan Ellis. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley (with cameraphone).

Cellist and singer Ben Sollee on stage at the Kentucky Theatre on April 22, 2015, with percussionist Jordan Ellis. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley (with cameraphone).

Musicians often give hometown shows around holidays. Thanksgiving or Christmas visits can provide the perfect excuse for a hometown gig.

But it was only fitting that the holiday Ben Sollee chose to make a Kentucky Theatre stand was Earth Day. After all, this is the guy who has a cello carrier on his bicycle — and sometimes tours that way — and has a catalog full of songs about the land and environmental responsibility (and irresponsibility). There are so many, in fact, my daughter lamented he didn’t play one of his environmental gems, Bury Me With My Carbut we all acknowledged it was a pretty darned swell show.

Ben Sollee. Photo by Magnus Lindqvist.

Ben Sollee. Photo by Magnus Lindqvist.

It was also a very personal show Sollee opened saying, “Hello, hometown,” and stopped in several places to remember how he discovered the cello when he was a student at Yates Elementary School and learned different ways of playing it through his father, a rhythm and blues musician, and his grandfather, a bluegrass banjo player. At another point, he brought out his son, Oliver, to show us how to plant a tree in Minecraft.

Maybe his most relevant pause for the evening was introducing percussionist Jordan Ellis, a Frankfort native who Sollee met when they were both in all-state band and Ellis was regarded as the wunderkind. That has not changed as Ellis proved himself to be both and accomplished and creative percussionist, collaborating with Sollee on some of the concert’s most magical moments, such as Prettiest Tree on the Mountain, which seemed to be drawing to a close, and then they engaged in an accelerating exchange that created a thrilling second half to the song.

The 16-song set covered a broad swath of Sollee’s catalog, but the sweetest moment came with the performance of Loving Memory from his new EP, Steeples, Part One. After the lights went black at the end of the previous song, Sollee lit a lantern and asked that the sound system be switched off. He then proceeded to play the pleasantly haunting song, just wood and voice, to the silent Kentucky Theatre crowd.

It was one of those moments that make live performances so thrilling.

Opener Twin Limb was at its best serving as Sollee’s backup band, particularly on the late set combo of DIY and a Springsteen-esque performance of Pursuit of Happiness, which Sollee said was the first-ever live performance of the 2012 song from his Half Made Man album.

As a trio, Twin Limb had a hard time holding interest. It essentially felt like the group played the same droning, wailing song seven or eight times, and their onstage configuration facing one another made you wonder if they were aware they had an audience. A combination of Drums, electric guitar and accordion, the Louisville band is interesting and clearly talented. But the stage presentation and songwriting (and enunciation) need work for this to be a compelling live act.

This was a night that Sollee came home and showed how a combination of powerful message and musicianship, with a lot of heart, can combine for a transcendent night of music.

Share
Posted in Ben Sollee, Classical Music, Kentucky Theatre, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments

Backstreet Boys go bluegrass

Easily the coolest thing at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday night was that Backstreet Boys Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson invited a duo of college bluegrass musicians to play with them at the ceremony. Richardson discovered Butler University senior Josh Turner and University of North Carolina senior Carson McKee when a Backstreet Boys fan tweeted him the guys’ YouTube video of their bluegrass take on Larger Than Life. The video opens with an apology to Backstreet Boys fans, but judging by the reaction of BSB fans online and at Friday’s ceremony, no apologies were in order.

In the video above, we chatted with Richardson and the guys about the performance and caught some snatches of their performances of I Want it That Way and Larger Than Life. Also, click here for the complete Larger Than Life performance, and go to Kentucky.com’s YouTube Channel for more from Friday night and all out video offerings.

Share
Posted in Bluegrass music, Music | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Backstreet Boys go bluegrass