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Down On The Corner
Last year (2014) proved to be quite a year of Louisville music, with a furthur increase in touring acts coming through town, driven in large measure by the opening of Live Nation's Mercury Ballroom on Fourth Street. The Yum! Center management declared that they would book forty shows during the year, to help offset their losses of the year before. Other venues also took up the challenge and ramped up their bookings, each in its own preferred style.
The result has been entirely predictable: while music fans have had choices like they never have had before, audiences in smaller venues (and some medium sizer ones, too) have dwindled. Live music in small bars that have occasionally booked local bands has decreased noticeably, which has had a negative impact on the ability of Louisville musicians – particularly those playing covers – to make any money. Original bands, of course, don't make any, either, but then they seldom did in the past, so it's not much of a change.
Taken together, it's still a mixed bag.
Your humble editor has recently taken on the task of recovering, formatting and uploading all of the content from the print editions of Louisville Music News that are not currently online. That's something like 141 issues, from 1989-2000. Some of those issues are stored digitally, although the media is old (3.5 floppies); some are not. Some of those floppy discs have failed, of course. Whatever is not still available digitally will have to be recovered from the actual print editions, which is likely to prove a more difficult and time-consuming task than simply formatting existing content.
The upshot of all that is that I am not going to be posting as much in the Editor's Blog as I had previously, particularly not the upcoming music posts. Fortunately, there are a number of other sites around who are willing to advise you as to what's available, so I don't think I'm leaving anybody in the lurch. I will post noteworthy Louisville music news as it becomes available.
In other music news from last month, we note that A Lion Named Roar has signed a non-recoupable, $20k, one-year publishing agreement with Secret Road Music, following their win in the "The Pub Deal" contest, staged by American Songwriter and Martin Guitars. Secret Road is a music publishing, distribution and management firm whose clientele includes Brett Dennen, Civil Twilight, Josh Ritter and Ingrid Michaelson. A Lion Named Roar expects to release a full-length album in 2015.
Black Kaspar (a.k.a. Wm. Zink plus friends) falls into that category. He's releasing a new record, The Tower, available at Astro Black Records and other stores as he can get there. His Facebook page is here.
According to Business First, Marvin Maxwell wants to sell the Mom's Music location on Mellwood Ave. The sale would not affect the Mom's Music store in Jeffersonville, which is run by Mark Maxwell, Marvin's son. Mom's has apparentlyh suffered the most from the opening of the Guitar Center store on Shelbyville Road. Read the whole story here.
James Kottack is back with the Scorpions, following treatment for alcohol abuse. The Louisville native spent a month in a Dubai prison after drinking five glasses of wine on an inbound flight, then allegedly engaging in rowdy and insulting behavior at the Dubai airport.
My Morning Jacket has released their August 15, 2008 show at the Riverfront Park in Nashville, Tennessee as a part of their MMJ Archival Series. The show is now available to download via LiveDownloads.
The sudden and unexpected death of violinist Rachel Blanton, 40, who was found by her sister on Christmas morning, has stunned the Louisville music community. Her involvement in the scene spanned all manner of styles, from classical and baroque music to acoustic and Celtic to rock. She was, in every accounting, exceptionally friendly, upbeat and willing to assist other musicians, including her many students. She was also heavily involved in the production of the Abbey Road On The River Festival. An extended obituary, detailing many of her musical activities, is here.
Visitation will be Thursday, January 1, 2015, from 2-8 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, 10304 Dixie Highway. A Celebration of Rachel's life will be Friday, January 2, 2015, beginning at 2 p.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home.
As we are going to deadline, word comes that percussionist Sam Harris of Harris Entertainment had died on December 28, following surgery to repair a broken hip.
Also in December, Michael Tunnell , Professor of Music at the Univeristy of Louisville and frequent trumpeter around town died on December 19, following a lengthy illness.
On the pop music side, longtime bassist Jim Baugher passed away on December 9.