If you live in or near Kentucky and have ever drawn a crowd in a club or on a sidewalk; recorded a song with a passionate degree of writing and performing talent–chances are you have played Kentucky Homefront.
If your music inspired a standing ovation or caused dancing in the aisles, you’ve been back a few times.
If you enjoy the history and preservation of the indigenous music of the mid-south and Appalachian regions of our country–from Irish folk to High Lonesome Bluegrass, honky tonk to folk-pop, dulcimers to drums–then you’ve been part of the live audience as Kentucky Homefront is recorded or tuned in on the radio and live stream via WFPK.
Fitting all those descriptions and responding to this invitation could put you in the middle of one of the best parties in the middle of one of the city’s coldest winters.
This space on LouisvilleKY.com serves as a call for all to join John Gage and the Homefront family of volunteers, artists and community activists in celebrating a decade of music, storytelling and fellowship, Sunday, January 30 at the Clifton Center.
Response and donations at the door will serve as a fundraising boost to get our 19th season off to a great start on February 12.
A lot is going on under one roof that afternoon and evening. The gorgeous 500-seat Eifter Theatre as well as the lower-level Reception Hall will be filled with songs, supper and recognition of local cultural icons.
A tribute to Ken and Sheila Pyle and their span of supporting Louisville’s music and the performing arts is one aspect of this event. An conversation with Sam Bush with Ken and Sheila as well as Harry Bickel was videotaped and will be presented, in part, on the big screen. I have yet to see that footage but I know it’s range covers the days of the Mason Jar, the Bluegrass Hotel, Great Midwestern gigs and right up to the Rudyard Kipling.
Getting a chance to be a fly-on-the-wall to those stories should be a hoot and a holler. You know who you are and where you were from the mid-70s on…and you’ll have to agree that after all these years and all that music, you can’t make this stuff up.
I have been a volunteer ever since I met with John while still living in Seattle. By the time I made it back home to Louisville in the fall of 2000, Homefront had been rekindled from its earlier 80s inception with friend and collaborator Dave Self and on fire to Fourth Street in the venerable Kentucky Theater.
Moving to the Clifton Center in 2007, Homefront found a new home in the centrally located facility that is a cultural epicenter of performing and literary arts. Not to mention being the middle of the vibrant Frankfort Avenue corridor.
We are a volunteer base of friends that have been getting the show onstage and on the air ever since. The tech crew, publicity, ticket sales, production, writing, marketing, sound design and post, concessions, merchandise and booking duties are covered by a small but potent group of friends.
I share the “artist liaison” tasks with Becca Krall. Together, we greet the performers, familiarize them with the theater and get them out on the boards for curtain call. And to get that cowlick slicked down before hitting the spotlight…of course, you can’t see that on the radio.
For many of our guests who travel to Louisville, we offer suggestions for dining or entertainment in the nearby Crescent, Clifton, St. Matthews, Highlands or downtown for before or after show enjoyment.
And of course, like this special evening before kicking off our 19th season (there are two per year), on February 12.
The basic info is below. This celebration will have an Event Page on Facebook so head on over.
If you have any memories of Kentucky Homefront, as a performing guest or a member of the audience, I encourage you to post here. We would love to collect some comments.
Kentucky Homefront 10th Anniversary Celebration
January 30, 2011
$10 Suggested Minimum Donation
2117 Payne St., Next to St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church
Our program includes a Special Tribute to Ken & Sheila Pyle for their nearly 45 years of support and hospitality to the Louisville music and dramatic arts scene.
Edited screening of the conversatoin Sam Bush, Harry Bickel, and Ken & Sheila Pyle.
$3 for a hearty bowl of bean soup or burgoo cornbread and beverage; also regular Homefront $1 concession food sales.