Displaying items by tag: downtown

Madisonville Elks Lodge - 1906

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/30/13) - The Madisonville Elks Lodge building (pictured above) was erected in 1906 on the south side of Court Street. The upper floors were used by the lodge for their meetings and activities. The first floor was rented to various businesses, including a buggy shop, the post office, the library, doctor offices, and lawyer offices. The Jones Buggy Company sign can be seen on the lower window. 

The included photo/postcard and historical information is courtesy of the Historical Society of Hopkins County (HSHC).

Additional historic photos and postcards, as well as county-wide historical information, can be found in Arcardia Publishing’s book, Postcard History Series: Hopkins County, which was compiled by the HSHC, local author Lisa D. Piper, and several area contributors.

To learn more about the HSHC, click here.

To read additional historical articles via the Sugg Street Post, visit our "Days of Yore" section by clicking here

Sugg Street Post
Information/photo provided by the Historical Society of Hopkins County

 

 

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New Restaurant Moving into Historic Downtown Madisonville Location

MADISONVILLE, KY (6/13/13)—Over the last year, interest in Madisonville’s downtown district has seen a notable upswing. From renovations and expansions, to the addition of several completely new businesses, it seems as though downtown Madisonville is heading in a truly positive direction. In lending even more steam to this commerce-based momentum, a new, family-owned-and-operated restaurant has announced that they will be both renovating and opening up for business in one of the city’s most well-known locations later this year.

Claiming over a 100 years of existence—16 of which were spent as the host to one of Madisonville’s most memorable restaurants, Bartholomew’s—and sporting the expansive “Montpelier” painting and column/stair set on its southernmost side, the historic edifice at 51 South Main Street is a highly recognizable and unique structure that has, unfortunately, remained all but vacant over the past three-and-a-half years.

However, two ambitious area residents, Terry Green and J.P. Wilson, as well as a silent backer, are currently in the process of renovating the location in order to open a dual-level, family-owned-and-operated restaurant and bar tagged under a straightforward, yet catchy, moniker: 51 On Main Bar & Grill.

With a grand opening slated for August 1st, 2013, as well as a soft opening scheduled several days before, the Sugg Street Post got in contact with co-owner and operatorTerry Green to find out the story behind the business, what kind of food and services they plan to provide, what kind of renovations are underway, how many jobs they look to create, and more.

A longtime Paducah resident and a well-seasoned veteran of the food industry, Green, 34, has been employed in several high-level managerial positions with restaurants such as TGI Friday’s, O’Charley’s, and The Oasis Southwest Grill of Madisonville. Yet, for all his experience in the food world, this will be the first time Green has stepped into the role of co-owner—and it’s a transition he remains both excited and humbled by.

“It was really crazy how this all came together. I came back to Madisonville in April and I walked into [property owner] Joe Thomas’s place, which is where we’re moving in, just to look at some antiques he had for sale,” says Green. “Well, Joe found out what I did and I came in there for the next three months to talk with him. Finally, he asked me if I’d ever considered opening up my own restaurant. I told him that I’d thought about it my whole life. But I come from a family that doesn’t have means. It’s not like I come from a well-to-do family, so it’s kind of like a dream to be opening the large-scale restaurant that we’re working on. It’s all been possible because I found a building partner, J.P., and a silent backer who really believed in what we wanted to do. It’s really the American Dream. It just seems like all the cards have fallen into place. I’m so excited that I can’t see straight. [laughs] Things like this just don’t happen every day. I was jumping up and down in my kitchen last night. [laughs]”

So what kind of food and food-related services can the community expect from 51 On Main? As Green explains, the establishment will offer items like hand-cooked steaks, one to two-inch pork chops, a traditional top-notch lunch menu, a variety of drinks, and much more. Additionally, Green says that they hope to utilize a full-scale smoker, which would simultaneously season and cook ribs, fresh fish, and other dinner specials. Services like carry-out, delivery, and on-location services will also be available through the business.

As far as the new restaurant’s aesthetic goes, Green explains that it will essentially be like two different businesses in one location. As both Green and his fellow co-owner, J.P. Wilson, chose the downtown location partly because of its uniquely historic character and architectural design, many of the building’s original features will be displayed and built upon throughout the ground floor. In addition to removing much of the building’s carpeting, which Green says has revealed a stunning layer of decades-old hard pine flooring, the downstairs dining area will play host to a variety of 100-year-old English made tables and a variety of historic photos linked to our local community’s past. Coupling this atmosphere with what he describes as a high-level of hospitality and a variety of aforementioned entrées, Green says that the restaurant’s services will be somewhat akin to one of our region’s most popular food-related destinations: Patti’s 1880 Settlement in Grand Rivers, KY.

Regarding the second-story, mezzanine-style seating area and bar, Green says that the décor will resemble a more modern and hip lounge, replete with comfy seating and a variety of televised entertainment, such as NFL Sunday Ticket games and UFC matches just to name a few. What’s more, Green says customers wishing to simply dine or hangout on the second floor will be able to do so without any issues thanks to a divider between the bar and the general seating/dining area.

Though Green was reluctant to release the company’s total investment in the downtown district, he did explain that it was “very substantial” and that renovations to the building were reaching over $50,000 in total. Furthermore, Green noted that the restaurant and bar will create between 30 and 40 jobs.

And, truly, the concept of improving upon our community—whether it be creating new commerce or providing a fresh source of entertainment—is what lies at the heart of Green’s vision for the business.

“We really want to be active and engaging when it comes to this community, because we want to be a big part of it,” says Green. “We actually want to have some outdoor events too, like live music and fresh-air dining, which is why we’re currently trying to lease the adjacent, outside portions of the building as well. We’re staying open seven days a week and as late as we can, because we want to be open to the public as much as possible, so on nights that we might find it a little slower we might open things up to more of a ‘night life’ feel upstairs. We’re going to have modern furniture up there, so it will have more of a lounge-style feel, and the second floor is huge. Plus, we want to work with the other restaurants and businesses downtown when we can. We want to collaborate with them as much as possible. You know, at the end of the day, we’re just really happy to be doing this. We love Madisonville. My family loves this town and the people are great here. Now, we have the chance to give that back. That’s something that will make you sleep well at night.”

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Want to try some of 51 On Main’s dishes before the grand opening on August 1st? If so, make sure to check them out at Madisonville’s first Friday Night Live event of the season on June 14th in the downtown district.

Interested in employment with 51 On Main? If so, simply pay the location a visit next week and ask about employment options.

Sugg Street Post
Writing/Photos by Luke Short

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  • Published in Art

Community Collage: 2013 Spring Gallery Hop

MADISONVILLE, KY (5/2/13)—Since the inaugural event back in October 2011, Madisonville’s biannual downtown Gallery Hop has developed into something very special for our close-knit community. It offers the public a chance to physically interact with the astonishing amount of creative talent our region produces and calls home; it provides a platform for artists and local business owners to merge in a very unique, mutually beneficial manner; and, above all, it provides a great evening of fun and entertainment for everyone involved.

Though this year’s spring Gallery Hop, which was held on Saturday, April 27th, faced a potential downturn in attendance due to rainy weather, a surprising number of patrons from our area took to the historic district’s sidewalks to peruse and purchase a variety of pieces created by approximately 30 different artists.

Moreover, those in attendance also had the relatively rare opportunity to witness several spontaneous street performances courtesy of talented local musicians, to taste some delicious food, desserts, and fine wine produced by locally owned-and-operated businesses, and to speak directly with the artists whose work was on display.

While the collaborative event won’t take place again until October, we at the Sugg Street Post would like to recap a few of the spring Gallery Hop’s highlights through images and words. Please take note of the artists, businesses, and organizations displayed and mentioned in the following captions and photos, because they deserve our support and appreciation.

Area resident Amy Harvey pays a visit to Madisonville's decades-old train depot during last Saturday's downtown Gallery Hop. Known as "The Center" today, the historic structure serves as the Hopkins County Art League's official headquarters and gallery space. The HDR photo work Harvey is analyzing was created by longtime city employee and HCAL member, Gina Munger. Munger's work was part of an exhibit on Saturday that included more than 200 pieces made by over 10 other Art League members. 

While primarily known for his talents on piano, bass guitar, and vocals, local musician Johnny Keyz put a rough-edged, albeit original, twist on a bygone style by way of a performance on a '30s-era accordion. The performance took place in front of the soon-to-be Sugg Street Post, ARTcycle Inc., and Big City Coffee Shop location. Passersby braved light, intermittent sprinkles to capture this unique moment both in memory and in photos. As this was the first year musicians were invited to "busk" during the Gallery Hop, other talented performers, which included Pat Ballard, Mike Cartwright, and Ray Ligon, performed on the sidewalk in front of the location. Other photos, as well as a video, of these performances can be found via the official Sugg Street Post Facebook page.

The singular, environment-friendly, and abstract sculpture work of Indiana artist Bob Zasadny eternalizes fluidity and motion in various physical forms. In the photo, Bob and I discuss his fiberglass and recycling-based approach, which he first adopted as his main medium in the early 1960s. Since his humble, yet capable, beginnings, Zasadny has garnered acclaim from noted colleagues in the art world, area media outlets, and a variety of respected institutions. Zasadny's exhibit was one of several on display at the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce's headquarters at 15 East Center Street. 

The concept of cyclical time and repetition, which is represented in much of Tim Corum's metal sculpture work, gains added depth with a piece created from a range of discarded bicycle parts. Based out of Earlington, KY, Corum's art is on display for the public on a daily basis in Madisonville via his various, brightly-colored "ARTcan" creations, each of which are peppered throughout the downtown district. The piece displayed above was one of several works of art on display at 25 Sugg Street during the Gallery Hop. 


Steeped in faith and spirituality, the multi-sided artwork of Madisonville-based artist and gallery owner Barbie Hunt, which includes pottery, customized silks, collages, and water-based media (as seen in the above photo), has prompted attention from a wide range of audiences over the years. Not only does her ever-growing catalog of work continue to inspire local audiences, but it has helped to put downtown Madisonville in a national, art-tinged spotlight. 

Defining Carl Berges' colorful, large-scale oil paintings is a tricky pony. While the pieces may at first seem abstract, upon closer inspection one realizes that a vivid and seemingly motion-filled shot of life has materialized. Further examples of Berges' vibrant works can been seen enlivening the background of other photos found in the this "community collage." 

Producing fine wine is, itself, a painstaking, centuries-old artform worthy of praise and appreciation - especially when done correctly. Medicine Man Wines of Eddy Gove Winery, LLC (Princeton, KY), were onsite at the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce during the "hop" showing patrons how this historic skill could manifest locally. From selling samples to full bottles, co-owners Jenny Franke and David Hall were happy to share the award-winning fruits of their labor with the general public. 

A talented country musician with over 40 years of playing experience under his belt, Ray Ligon is a staple of our local music community and has helped to support a variety of benevolent civic organizations. His notable mantra, "It's all about touching people with the music," has remained a fixture in both his approach to fans and his unique songwriting style over the years. 25 Sugg Street, which will be the eventual home of the Sugg Street Post, ARTcycle Inc., and Big City Coffee Shop, was privileged to have Ray perform among a bevy of eye-catching art pieces during the Gallery Hop. 

Woodworking practices date back to the dawn of human civilizations both in China and Egypt. Yet, it's a relatively safe bet that those practicing the art form in its infancy would have never imagined how the trade would evolve, let alone that the skill would even practiced some 6,000 years later. Fortunately, talented craftsmen like Charles Beal, whose original woodturnings were up for sale at the Chamber of Commerce office, are keeping this rich tradition alive and well. 

 The varied artwork of the Sugg Street Post's own Jessica Dockrey adds a bright artistic backdrop to a conversation between Hopkins County Art League members and painters Pat Harvey (left) and Rik Woosley (right), as well as myself. The lower, labyrinth-like level of the HCAL's HQ at "The Center" was host to several other artists' work, including the oftentimes bejeweled pieces produced by fellow league member Faye Dennison. 

The brainchild of local textile artist Maria Lee, the Black Dog Fiber Studio at 11 North Main St. in downtown Madisonville offers art-lovers a contemporary touch on a well-established tradition. The weaving loom pictured above showcases one of many intricate skills required to fashion Lee's various, cloth-based works. In addition to Lee's pieces, the studio was also host to several handmade soaps courtesy of  Bicycle Botanicals' Kim Hardesty.

Proud supporters of the area arts and music scene, Henderson, KY's Ruby Moon Vineyard & Winery owners Jamie Like and Anita Frazer offered Gallery Hop attendants a variety of exquisite, locally-grown flavors, as well as full bottles, from the 25 Sugg Street location. In addition to luscious dessert wines and flavorful blushes, Ruby Moon also offers drier reds that compliment meats wonderfully. Particularly, the Sugg Street Post crew was a big fan of the winery's "Chambourcin" flavor, which is pictured above. 

As 6-year-old Emma Rea Gibson will attest, artwork isn't just for the adults. Her 11" X 14" untitled finger painting piece is direct evidence. Though her mother, Jenny Gibson - who is also the founder of the Downtown Turnaround Project, ARTcycle Inc., and Big City Coffee Shop, as well as a member of the Sugg Street Post - was happy to have Emma's artwork adorning the wall at 25 Sugg Street, she knows a good piece when she see's it. In turn, rather than trying to put a number on the work, both Jenny and Emma agreed on a more apt cost: priceless. 

A current resident of southern Indiana, Nick Kredier spends much of his time restoring and repurposing "lost and found" furniture. From adding vintage-inspired touches, to a few dashes of color and text for good measure, Kreider has an obvious knack for turning many men's trash into what most anyone would consider real treasure. 

Another photo of Johnny Keyz "busking"  the sidewalks of Sugg St. on his antique accordion receives a classy monochromatic makeover. 

Though Madisonville's Gallery Hop won't be back until October this year, everyone at the Sugg Street Post is sure it will be another entertaining and successful event. A huge thanks goes out to everyone who makes the occasion such a unique and enjoyable time year after year. See you in the fall!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Madisonville's Historic District - The Dulin Building

MADISONVILLE, KY (4/3/13) - The historical, research-based article found below was provided to the Sugg Street Post and written by Hopkins County Genealogical Society President, Jane Anne Jackson. Jackson's research was made possible by the Hopkins County Genealogical Society and Historical Society of Hopkins County. The main image that accompanies this article was taken by area photographer, Tom Wortham. Additional installments regarding historic buildings in Madisonville's historic downtown district will be released on a weekly to bi-weekly basis via the Sugg Street Post's "Days of Yore" section, so check back often for updates.

The property where the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library was located up until 2009 - "The Dulin Building" property - once measured in at four lots. Two of the lots faced Main Street, while two ran West directly behind them.

In 1880, Paul and Celia Fisher had a residence and a saloon on the property. In 1884, H. Brown sold the property to S.D. Cook for $300.00. A $50.00 down payment was made and $50.00 was to be paid by Cook to Brown for each of the next five years.

During this time, the property played host to a grocery store owned by Charles Duckworth and a barber shop owned by J.H. Porter. A butcher and blacksmith occupied some of the property during these years as well.

In 1888, the property was bought by George R. Lynn from S. D. and Emma F. Cook for $500.00, and in January 1905, George Lynn sold the property to R.S. Dulin Sr., R.S. Dulin Jr. and W.J. Dulin.

The Dulins built a three-story building at this location, which still stands today, in 1911 (see included photo). Upon W.J. Dulin’s death, his Will created a Trust for the property at The Citizens Bank & Trust Company. In 1949, Mr. Dulin’s adult beneficiaries placed the Trust at The Kentucky Bank & Trust Company. The Dulin Department Store closed in 1936.

Over the years, the building not only housed Dulin’s Department Store, but also Jordan’s Furniture Company and Watson’s Department Store.

At one time, the third floor of the building was rented to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and used by the Kentucky Militia as an armory. The 3rd floor also, at another time, housed the Law Library of the Hopkins County Bar Association.

In 1976, Allyn and Naomi Breyley, proprietors’ of Naomi’s Vogue—a ladies’ dress shop—purchased the property and thereafter rented it to the Hopkins County Public Library. At one point in time, the building also housed the Hopkins County Genealogical Society.

On December 15, l984, Naomi Breyley sold the property to the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library Corporation for a grand total of $174,433.84.

Today, the building remains unoccupied.

Want to do some research yourself? If so, take a moment to visit the Hopkins County Genealogical Society's official website by clicking here. You may locate the Historical Society of Hopkins County's official website by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Hopkins County Genealogical Society President, Jane Ann Jackson
Photo by Tom Wortham

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The Green Dragon Tavern: Meeting Place of the Revolution

MADISONVILLE, KY (3/18/13)—Back in 2011, area business owner, minister, and family man, Cliff Nance, 33, sought to connect with the community in a new, uniquely personal way—and he soon latched on to a seemingly novel means of making it happen. While several of his own peers criticized his vision, saying that the idea would never “hold water” in a relatively smaller community like Madisonville, Nance pushed forward with his plan to establish a metropolitan-style gastropub in the heart of the city’s historic downtown district. Furthermore, Nance chose what some would coin as an audacious, yet simultaneously ambitious, name for his new eatery: The Crowded House.

“I’ve been in ministry for about 12 years. I was preaching from the pulpit during most of that time, but I began to feel like God was leading me in a different direction. I felt like he wanted me to be more relational,” says Nance of his initial inspiration for founding the restaurant. “It’s not that preaching isn’t relational, but it is detached in a sense. I’m reading a book right now called, A Meal with Jesus, and if you look at Jesus’ life—especially in the gospel of Luke—food always seems to be involved in some way. Whether he’s performing a miracle around food at someone’s home or bringing food to the masses, it’s present a lot of the time. In fact, on the back of our menus it says, ‘The son of man came eating and drinking.’ Jesus was called a drunkard and a sinner because he hung out with those kinds of people, you know? That’s who he surrounded himself with. So, the meal is something that’s important to me and it’s important in our family’s home. With that in mind, and with a goal of doing something community-oriented, my family and I prayed for an idea. We wanted to meet the needs of the community first. Well, if you polled people, asking them what they would like to see in Madisonville, a ‘cool restaurant’ would probably be in their top three answers, so that’s what we decided to do.”

Concerning the minimally modern, yet artistically-inspired, industrial aesthetic he had in mind—which would soon become a reality—Nance explains that he simply wanted to offer something “cool” and “outside of the box” to regional residents.

“There was this perspective that if you did something here, it had to fit into this certain ‘Madisonville criteria.’ Well, we wanted to break the mold, so to speak. We wanted to do something that someone might not normally do in Madisonville and show everyone that it could be successful,” says Nance.

Opened on October 31st, 2011, at 26 West Center St., it was no time before The Crowded House was living up to its name and Nance’s expectations. In fact, within mere weeks the brick-walled gastropub became a premiere downtown destination for a wide variety of patrons seeking a contemporary atmosphere, hospitable service, and distinctive—yet affordable—sandwiches, salads, soups, brews, and desserts. Additionally, the introduction of the business marked a substantial investment in the city’s historic downtown district, bringing new jobs and added on-foot traffic, which, in turn, brought new commerce to other nearby businesses.

And while the restaurant undoubtedly flourished in reputation throughout the following year-plus, Nance began to notice that more and more of the restaurant’s fans were only coming in for lunch. Though weeks where the numbers of dinner or evening customers were higher brought the biggest returns, Nance says it seemed liked the location had become primarily known as a midday hotspot.

“When we opened The Crowded House up for dinner, we saw a notable increase in profits during good weeks; we’d be in the black when we’d have a lot of people coming for dinner,” says Nance. “The problem was that we became the ‘best lunch place.’ So, when people thought about going to dinner somewhere that was nice, they had two or three other restaurants in town that they thought about. I go to those places, too, and they’re really great places to go, but we weren’t even being considered in the running.”

His solution: serious expansion and rebranding efforts via the addition of an adjoining bar and music venue.

“I said, number one, ‘If we shut down for a while, people will forget us enough to wonder what we were going to do when we reopen.’ So, being shut down for a while allowed us to ‘rebrand’ ourselves and the business,” says Nance. “Now, with the reopening and reinvention of the restaurant, we’re focusing more on dinner. We’re not a steakhouse; we’re a high-end, gourmet gastropub just like before, but now we have a seriously amazing lineup for dinner.”

Coined as the Green Dragon Tavern—a name which was inspired by the original Boston, MA tavern where several of our nation’s forefathers helped to ferment the American Revolution—the fresh, neighboring addition and numerous on-site renovations to the original location have been ongoing since the beginning of the new year. Although recent “soft openings” accessible to Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce members have given several area residents a sneak peek at the roomier eatery, new bar, and expanded menu—images of which have been “leaked” onto social media sites like Facebook—the restaurant will be opening its doors to the public at-large on Tuesday, March 19th, from 10am-10:30pm.

So, what are some of the changes the public can look forward to checking out?

Food-wise, several new dishes, including a variety of certified Angus steaks, baby back ribs, grilled pork “rib-eyes,” chicken, and grilled salmon, as well as appetizers like calamari, “Yukon Gold,” and lettuce wraps, lend themselves to The Crowded House’s original lineup of entrees and desserts.

Aesthetically, the raw, partially unfinished brick walls remain a fixture in the original portion of the restaurant, while lower-sitting, leather-bound booths have replaced the wide high-topped tables; the glass-paned façade of the location has been extended to the sidewalk (making way for a comfortable waiting area); and the open kitchen area—along with doubling in size—has been relocated to very rear of the site. In turn, the seating capacity has risen to an estimated 80 people within the pre-established side of the restaurant. Additionally, artwork created by acclaimed local artist, Barbie Hunt, will adorn portions the original location’s walls.

As the Green Dragon Tavern is a completely new area of the gastropub, both return customers and those new to the locale will be pleased to note a bar area that is fully-stocked with high-end brews, wines, and spirits. What’s more, the approximately 50-person pub-style area is host to a raised stage for live music, both booths and tables, a premium sound system, roadside scenery windows, and an architecturally unique recessed ceiling, as well as an eye-catching paint scheme. Those who enjoy the history-inspired tag of the new addition should also make sure to check out the fitting quotation painted above the tavern’s bar area: “The Meeting Place of the Revolution…”

In keeping with the new stage area and bar, Nance says that regional acts will be performing at The Green Dragon on Friday and Saturday nights. Keeping it open to up-and-coming artists, Nance also notes that a public “open mic night” will be held in the tavern area at least once a month.

“I think music is definitely important if you’re looking at the community aspect of things,” says Nance, who is himself a longtime drummer and guitarist. “I think that it’s important for a community to reach out to all aspects of their local culture. Historically, things that are easy and convenient are things that are catered to locally, and, as a result, you’ve got places like Wal-Mart making it. I’m headstrong enough, and I’ve put enough capital into what I have here, that people who are into the music scene will come and it will be successful. I feel the same way about art and the potential for a full-on arts district downtown, too.”

But beyond reinventing the business and expanding upon the visual appeal, as well as the menu and the drink selection, seating capacity, and live music capabilities, Nance’s recent overhaul of the business has created over 20 new jobs and weighs in at a total downtown investment of approximately $500,000 overall.

And, in the opinion of this editor, what Nance is doing for our community, and how he’s doing it, is a real revolution: bringing new life to historic downtown Madisonville in a bold, but mutually beneficial way.

So, if you’re looking to grab some great dinner or lunch in a modern, yet affordable and hospitable setting, check out The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern in downtown Madisonville, KY on, or any day after, their grand reopening on March 19th (26 West Center St.).

To learn more about The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern, take a moment to visit their official Facebook page by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jeff Harp

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  • Published in Music

Mollie Garrigan—Merging Two Worlds

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (12/28/12)—Blending elements of classic jazz, blues, rock, gospel, and soul with a profound academic approach to music theory and composition, Madisonville musician Mollie Garrigan puts forth all she’s got when it comes to songwriting and performing onstage—a truth many witnessed this past weekend as Mollie played her third live set at The Crowded House gastropub.

From heart-rending takes on hymnals and country ballads, to a commanding cover of Guns N’ Roses’ hit, “Sweet Child of Mine,” Garrigan’s voice and accompanying guitar chords easily cut through the din of her patrons with a powerful, but soothing serenity.

Though born in Ohio, Mollie moved to her family’s home of Madisonville in 1980 where she attended and graduated from North-Hopkins High School. With a years-long interest in music as inspiration, she became a member of MNHHS’s award-winning band program and also performed in the school’s choir. But her interest didn’t stop there. After graduating, Mollie went on to study French horn and voice at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, KY and the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where she came away with a degree in music technology. It was also around this time that Mollie says she did some traveling, learned to play guitar, and started performing around Birmingham in a duo called Jeremiah.

As a solo performer today, Mollie says she is convinced that music and a successful education walk hand-in-hand.

“When I was in school, if band had only been part of the year, it would have affected my learning style. For me, I need that creative outlet to learn, and being in the music program in school is what motivated me more than anything,” says Mollie. “For a long time, they have been trying to remove music from schools completely, so addressing the academic benefits music can impart on students might be a step toward ending that school of thought.”

However, and as Mollie agrees, true musical art is composed of more than technical know-how alone.

When I asked her if someone needs both a traditional education in music and a real “feel” for what they’re playing, Mollie responded by saying, “I don’t know that you need to have both sides to be talented, but I am aware of music’s undercurrent, so to speak. To me, it’s like learning another language. Music’s really fluent, really easy, artistic, and beautiful, but it’s really hard to learn the basics and the technical side. I studied music theory and composition pretty intensely. At the same time, I’ve heard a lot of incredible musicians who have not studied a day in their life. From my perspective, I’m appreciative to have an understanding of what goes into it from both sides—from sheer emotion bursting forth from your soul, like joy or despair, to creating something intentionally from it. Having that knowledge when you’re trying to teach someone how to play is important, too. As I teach private lessons, knowing the technical side of music really comes in handy.”

So, as a “newer,” yet talented and experienced solo artist in the Hopkins County region, I asked Mollie how our community’s music and arts scene could be improved upon. Echoing many other artists in our area and region, a desire for more music venues and opportunities to share art with the public came to mind.

“I think we need more places like The Crowded House. Basically, we just need more venues, like additional restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and even what you guys are trying to do with the Sugg Street Post. I go to Applebee’s and sing karaoke—and it’s fun—but it’s just not the same. I just think there needs to be more opportunities for artists and people in general, and I believe there are more people wanting to do that now, which is really great.”

Adding to this sentiment, Mollie notes how pleased she is to see people in our community taking the initiative to bring more culture to our everyday lives.

“I’m glad to be here and I feel very at home in Madisonville. As I told Jessica [Dockrey in a past interview], I’ve had 20 years of experience in the ‘big city’ and I’ve lived part of my life here, so I love seeing how the two worlds are merging. Having a small town with culture is possible; people have done it successfully. For now, we just have to keep on chipping away.”

Want to catch Mollie Garrigan live? Keep an eye on the Sugg Street Post's "The Lounge" and "Events" categories for future performance dates.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jeff Harp

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