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Fair-Weather Kings – Weathering Bowling Green’s Rolling Musical Seas

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/22/13)—Hearing it from the proverbial “horse’s mouth” makes it official: “energetic” ranks highest among the descriptors fans use to define the sound and feel of Bowling Green, KY’s beloved five-piece band, the Fair-Weather Kings. And it’s a fact that is duly justifiable. Comparison-wise, many say the quintet’s unique style is akin to the vibrant, nationally-acclaimed indie sounds of The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys.

Yet, once you start trying to dial in their insightful works any further—to do their sound justice through words, so to speak—the process of classification becomes much deeper and, perhaps, more metaphysical. That being said, here’s my personal take: the Fair-Weather Kings strike hard on the head of modernity’s pop-rock stake, while remaining punctual, compositionally edgy, fun, and experimental in a not-too-abstract way. Their lyrical originality, atmospheric grooves, and consistently frantic, multi-layered live performances—which come courtesy of vocalist/guitarist Wesley Stone, guitarist Zach Barton, bassist Jason Williams, keyboard/synth player Craig Brown, and drummer Marcus Long— mix together well, producing a seemingly perfect storm amidst an electric and inspirational musical climate.

While the Fair-Weather Kings have yet to gain a large-scale, national following, they have received a wealth of veneration from all corners of our region and beyond. In fact, the respect the Fair-Weather Kings have deservedly garnered from their peers since forming just under two years ago is evidenced by the fact that they have remained afloat, relevant, and well-loved in the virtual sea of talent found in Bowling Green.

So how do the Fair-Weather Kings maintain their prowess in such a saturated musical market? What’s their origin story and creative process? And what is their ultimate goal with music? To find out the answers to these questions and much more, I recently got the chance to speak with FWK frontman and guitarist, Wesley Stone, who informed me that weathering west Kentucky’s blooming and inspirational entertainment scene isn’t always an easy task to master.

Who are the members of the Fair-Weather Kings, where is each member from, what are your ages, and what instrument(s) do each of you play?

I’m Wesley Stone and I’m on lead vocals and guitar. Zach Barton plays guitar, Jason Williams is our bassist, Craig Brown plays keys/synth, and Marcus Long is our drummer. Zach, Marcus and I grew up in Hopkins County, KY. Craig and Jason grew up in Bowling Green. We all currently live in Bowling Green. We are all in our late 20’s, with the exception of Marcus, who is in his early 30’s.

How and when did the band first form?

We first formed in October of 2011 with Zach and I just sort of jamming around on occasion and presenting songs to each other. After a bit, we tracked down a drummer and bass player to sort of feel out the whole band thing. After a couple months, we had worked out a few songs, but our drummer and bass player at the time weren’t really a good fit with the type of music we were writing, so that’s when Marcus joined, along with another friend of ours, Will Kronenberger, who played bass. Shortly after they joined, we picked up Rory Willis to play keys, who was Will’s roommate at the time and the owner and operator of Greyskull Recordings. We all wrote and worked on the songs that would end up on our debut, self-titled EP and played our first show in January of 2012.

Where did the name of the band originate and how does it fit with the music or “feel” of the band?

The name sort of became a formality at a certain point. We knew we had to call ourselves something, so we just started throwing out a bunch of ideas over the course of a week or so. Ultimately, “The Fair-Weather Kings” came about when we combined two of our favorite names that we had come up with. I can’t really remember what those were, though. Fair-Weather….something and something…Kings. There isn’t really any intended significance as far as the name representing our music or style. I’m sure I could dig up some philosophical meaning to it, but, really, it was just the first name that we all agreed upon that remotely sounded cool.

What influences do you all draw inspiration from both musically and in life?

We have a wide variety of musical influences—too many to even begin listing them—but we all draw from some variety of rock or pop music, and we all have our own favorite singer-songwriters. We also get inspiration from the many great bands we hang out with and play with around Bowling Green. Mainly, our songs are inspired by love, life, and the universe, and revolve around observations within each.

How has the band changed over time?

The biggest change that has occurred for us has been losing and gaining members. Will and Rory got busy with their jobs and other projects, and that is when Jason and Craig stepped in. They both came in with completely different styles than Will and Rory, which ultimately changed our sound. But it was for the better. Each previously written song has since evolved into something that is, in many ways, completely different from what you hear in our recordings, which were all done with Will and Rory. Again, this evolution has been for the better. The songs have gotten tighter and even experimental at times, which make them fun and different every time we play them live. You will very rarely hear the exact same version of a song from show to show.

How do you all define the sound of the Fair-Weather Kings?

That’s always a hard question to answer, and I usually just refer to what others have compared it to or said. The most common word used to describe our music is “energetic,” and we have been compared to The Strokes and The Artic Monkeys.

Like you just said, a good deal of the Fair-Weather Kings’ music is highly energetic and, at times, feverishly frantic, which comes across well during your live shows. By the same token, you all seem to be very tightly-knit as a multi-piece band. That being said, how do you approach the creative process? Do songs come together spontaneously or is it more of an intensive, day-by-day process?

The majority of our songs were songs that I had already written or were nearly complete ideas that I then presented to the entire band. From there, everyone just sort of filled in the gaps with each of us giving the others input and experimenting with various ways to approach them. However, we have also written several songs that blossomed out of a jam session during practice.

While the band’s sound is ultimately rooted in rock, you all also incorporate a variety of electronic, synthesized sounds in your music through guitar effects and keys/synthesized sounds. Do you think it’s important to remain open to different sonic avenues in the modern age for the sake of creativity?

We keep ourselves open to various sounds and even various styles for the sake of creativity. I think if we confined ourselves to a specific sound, or tried to write songs that adhere to a specific style or sound, it would hinder us creatively. We are constantly picking up things from other bands and each other, which steers each new song or idea in a slightly different direction.

You guys hail from one of the region’s most vibrant music scenes—Bowling Green, KY. How much of an effect has that environment had on the band’s approach and creative evolution?

It has its positives and negatives. On one hand, all the bands are learning, supporting, and challenging each other to become better. On the other hand, it’s a constant struggle to keep from getting lost in the mix of all these great bands and musicians in the area. Either way, we are proud to call Bowling Green home and love being associated with its rising music scene.

You all played at the inaugural Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival in Madisonville this past June. Why did you all decide to play the festival and what was your overall take on the event?

It sounded like a fun time. Again, Zach, Marcus, and I grew up in the area and still have friends and family there, so it seemed like a great opportunity to not only play our music to some different faces, but to also visit with some familiar ones. We had a great time and got some great feedback on our set.

If I’m not mistaken, your self-titled EP and single, “Satellite Galaxies”, were both recorded at Greyskull Recordings in Bowling Green. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like recording there.

During those recording sessions, Rory Willis was still our keyboard player. We recorded all the tracks on the EP in a “live” fashion where everyone was being recorded at the same time, minus the vocals, so, really, it was just like a more structured and professional practice—except we played every song a dozen times. We did “tracking” for Satellite Galaxies, meaning we each recorded our parts individually. That process is slightly boring, but produces a much higher quality end product. It also allows for changes, and gave Rory the ability to piece together the best parts of each take.

Are you guys working on any new music at the moment?

Yes. We have two new songs that we have been playing live for a while that haven’t been recorded, and we are currently working through some ideas for at least three more. We are taking our time with the new material—screening it so to speak. The first album was composed of literally every song that was presented. This time around, we are being a bit pickier and are presenting lots of ideas that will be narrowed down to a few songs at a time.

From your perspective, why is it important for area citizens to get out and support local musicians and artists?

Because most of those local musicians and artists want to be national musicians and artists, and the road to that outcome is paved by every single person’s support.

Over the years, what’s been one of the band’s favorite shows and/or biggest accomplishments?

One of our best shows was a house-show at a place dubbed The Manor. It is right next to Greyskull—which is where we rehearsed at the time—in the basement of this old Civil War hospital that is now a private residence. There were a ton of people all giving us as much energy as we were giving them. Those are the best types of crowds. I’ll take a crowd of 20 people that are all getting into the music over 2,000 motionless bodies any day, and that’s when we put on the best show, too. It’s a give and take relationship when it comes to our performances, and we were getting and giving quite a bit at The Manor that night.

What is the end goal for the Fair-Weather Kings?

Ultimately, we want to reach as many people as possible with our music. So, short answer: major label support.

Where and how can people check you out and purchase your music?

We have a ReverbNation profile, as well as a Bandcamp profile. We don’t really charge for digital downloads, and both places have all of our recorded material for free. We have physical copies of our debut EP, which we have re-released with “Satellite Galaxies” for sale on our Bandcamp page. We have stickers and t-shirts for sale there as well. Of course, you can pick up any of those things at our shows, too.

In closing, feel free to give any shout-outs you want.

All of our fellow BG Sceners…
Canago, Buffalo Rodeo, Morning Teleportation, Schools, Chris Rutledge, Sleeper/Agent, Cage the Elephant, Opossum Holler, The Reneaus, The Beech Benders, Plastic Visions, The Black Shades, Lost River Cavemen, Fat Box, The Hungry Ears, Technology vs Horse, and others…

Also…
D93 WDNS, Revolution 91.7 WWHR, Spencer’s Coffee House, and Greyskull Recordings.


____________________________________________________________________

Want to hear the Fair-Weather Kings right now? Check out the ReverbNation player attached below this article. Want to support the band by downloading some Fair-Weather Kings tracks or purchasing some merchandise? Visit the official FWK BandCamp page by clicking here.

For more information on the Fair-Weather Kings, such as upcoming shows and updated news, visit their official Facebook page by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Community Collage: Sugg Goes to Forecastle

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/24/13) - I got the news that I'd be covering the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY a week before the three-day event via email from festival "first mate" Holly Weyler. I was barely awake and still had one eye closed, so I didn't fully believe that I was reading it correctly. It had been a long-time goal of mine to cover a major music event and the Forecastle Festival happened to be headlined by one of my favorite bands, The Black Keys. The annual music fest also featured many more bands that I desperately wanted to see. Ranging from talented up and comers to a legendary frontman, Forecastle was expected to draw an estimated 75,000 fans over a three-day weekend.

A visit to the official Forecastle Festival website tells you all about the history of the event:

Founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight, Forecastle has grown from a community event to one of the country’s most anticipated summer festivals, which now draws tens of thousands of fans from across the world to Louisville’s scenic 85-acre Waterfront Park. In addition to featuring a who’s who of musical acts such as The Black Keys, Widespread Panic, My Morning Jacket, Bassnectar, the Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, Sleater-Kinney, and The Avett Brothers, Forecastle has consistently promoted local artists as well as focusing on environmental activism and outdoor recreation. Past Forecastles have featured prominent organizations, industry leaders, and distinguished speakers, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Riverkeepers), Rob Caughlan (Surfrider Foundation) and Christopher Childs (Greenpeace International). Forecastle is co-produced by Knoxville-based AC Entertainment, one of the country’s premiere independent concert promoters, putting on more than 750 concerts throughout the Southeast as well as producing major events such as Bonnaroo, Gentlemen of the Road and Mountain Oasis.

The big day arrived. With my media bracelet on my wrist, the gates opened and an incredibly entertaining weekend commenced. I'm not a music critic or a writer, I don't have the gift of being able to tell you why I love a performance or what makes a song good, and, honestly, I went to the festival to document it with my camera. That being said, here you'll find in no particular order, my top memories of the weekend, as well as a few photos of the sights and sounds of Forecastle 2013.

"credit" Jessi SmithRobert Plant:
Before he started the first song, Plant promised a day of 1970's nostalgia, he waved puffs of incense over the crowd, and entertained us with witty banter between songs. With a set that included old Zeppelin favorites, as well as his new material with the Sensational Space Shifters, he proved that the pipes were still strong and the Golden God could still let loose. In putting the mic to the crowd to help sing “Black Dog,” Plant also showed he could engage a crowd as good as ever. However, what really made it memorable was when ominous clouds began to roll in and in his English accent he apologized for bringing the "naughty, naughty, clouds" and began a powerful version of “What Is and What Should Never Be.” Not far into the song, the rain began. What was at first a sprinkle, turned quickly into a full-blown downpour and rained onto us like a magic potion turning us into a crowd worthy of Woodstock. All while Plant sang fitting lyrics:

Catch the wind, see us spin, sail away, leave today, way up high in the sky. 
But the wind won't blow, you really shouldn't go, it only goes to show 
That you will be mine, by takin' our time.

With the rain in his face and thunder booming in the background like an extra member of the band, it felt surreal; it's how I imagine being a fan felt back in the day. Security ran around worriedly telling each other, "We gotta get him off the stage!" With coverings breaking loose and flapping in the wind, the crowd went crazy until Plant finished his set (sadly, earlier than planned) and we, soaking wet and muddy, were told to take cover under the overpass for the duration of the storm. It truly was as if Plant somehow conjured us up a 1970's experience.

"credit" Jessi SmithThe Black Keys (and crowd):
If you take a band that can fill an arena and stick them on a river bank, you can expect a bit of a crowd. As the headliners, I knew I'd see the biggest crowd at the Keys’ show, but I didn't fully realize how big until I was in that massive hoard. Forecastle tweeted an aerial shot of the crowd and it speaks for itself.
"credit" ForecastleThe guys from Akron gave an energetic set for their last stop of the 129-show-long El Camino tour. I was lucky enough to attend the opener in Cincinnati as well, and comparing the two shows, it was clear The Black Keys didn't lose any enthusiasm during their grueling schedule. Keeping the setlist mostly the same, minus the popular disco ball-lit performance of “Everlasting Light,” they finished strong with the classic “I Got Mine” that only reinforced for me that my favorite Black Keys performances only have two people on the stage.
"credit" Jessi SmithThe People:
Seriously, all of them—the crowd, the staff, security, photographers, media…everyone. I don't know whether I should chalk it up to southern hospitality or the general lighthearted vibe of Forecastle, but I loved everyone I met: the lady who held my spot in the crowd while I was in the photo pit; the guy who shared his water with me after we'd been standing in a crowd for hours and hours; the fellow photog who helped me sneak into a pit I wasn't supposed to be in; the roadie who came out of nowhere and gave me a setlist; the media guy that took me under his wing when I first arrived, fighting a serious case of nerves and feeling out of place; the seasoned photographer who helped me get a tough shot of Jim James and gave me pointers on my camera settings; the security guards that chatted with me while I waited for the shows to start; and even the festival “bigwigs” that treated all the media people the same and answered every question so equally that I still don't know which one of the guys was the one from Rolling Stone magazine.

"credit" Jessi SmithThe Art:
You could see the passion and pride the vendors had for their art in every booth. Artisans peddled jewelry, clothing, hammocks, delicious foods, and t-shirts. The poster alley held the works of many of the best in the gig poster world, most of whom had clients that were performing as you browsed. In the center of the venue, being overlooked by a lifeguard, a solid white boat sat like a blank canvas, which was exactly the intention. A group of artists gathered around to spend the weekend making the "S.S. Freebird" into something amazing. There was also the wall, where graffiti artists spent the duration of the festival tagging and creating a beautiful mural that, at festival close, they cut into pieces that you could buy for $10 a square foot. In fact, the festival itself was a work of art. It isn't easy to blend nautical and Kentucky roots themes successfully, but they did it. The bourbon lounge was a tent where you relaxed on burlap-covered hay bales surrounded by barrels while sampling Kentucky's finest bourbons. Step outside the lounge and you see "waves" that doubled as chairs, which were rarely unoccupied. The motto of Forecastle was, "Music. Art. Activism," and that's exactly what they provided.

"credit" Jessi SmithEverything:
Ok, this is a cop-out, but I mean it. I loved everything. I had to spend two of the three days of the festival without my friends there and I was worried about being bored, but that never happened. Everywhere I looked there was a stage, canvas, booth, or person whose purpose seemed to be to entertain me. People tossed footballs around and hula hooped. There were cornhole tournaments and games of giant Connect Four. The lesser known performers mingled with the crowds, and had such a lack of pretension that the only way you could tell they were going to be on stage was the pale wristband embroidered with 'ARTIST' and the occasional super-fan getting their picture made with them. Everyone shared an enthusiasm for being there, and during nearly every set you could see one of the other bands in the wings watching with as much excitement as the crowd. In most of my pictures of Old Crow Medicine Show, you can see the members of Houndmouth grinning widely behind them. It was a weekend made for laid back, free-spirited fun.

"credit" Jessi SmithWell, there they are, the top things that pop into my head when someone asks, "So how was it?" I'm sure critics and the like have completely different moments to recount, but that's the beauty of music festivals. You get to customize your experience. They take a broad range of musical talents and combine them to expose people to old favorites and new discoveries. You take from it what you want and have as much fun as you let yourself.

Now I'll leave you with the last photo I took at Forecastle. As I walked to the exit with the sound of The Avett Brothers' excellent set finale filling the air, this guy stopped to tell me I’d dropped something, and when he found out I was taking pictures for Sugg Street Post in western Kentucky, he asked me to take his picture because his mom lives in Princeton and might see it. So here you go cute guy on the hay bales, I hope she does.

"credit" Jessi SmithScroll below to see more photos taken at Forecastle Festival 2013.
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Written by Jessi Smith
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Reinecke Smokestack - A Full Week of Work

MADISONVILLE, KY (7/8/13) - Eureka Mine is seen in this undated postcard. The mine was operated by the Reinecke Coal Mining Company, which started operations in 1886 and closed in 1939. The brick building in the foreground is the power plant. The smokestack is all that is left standing at the site on West Noel Avenue in Madisonville today. 

The message on the undated postcard offers up what may have been a jab at the lack of stability in employment during the time period (or perhaps the lack of stable employment for the message's author):

Wednesday
I have worked three days and they have not fired me yet so I guess I will stay the rest of the week anyway
Marion.

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

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.

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

 

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Clarksville's 'Coup' Brings Progressive Thought Downtown

PHOTO: The Coup's College Street location.

CLARKSVILLE, TN (6/26/13)—Within five minutes of walking into the new location for The Coup, I was horizontal on the venue's floor with Zach Lerman, Matt Watkins, and Josh Williams experiencing how cold tiles can get when air-conditioned.

I was happy to get some relief from the humid, hot weather outside, but I was still fairly surprised by what was going on.

I wasn't surprised by the fact that I was starting an interview with a few small business owners by collectively laying down on their tile floor—The Coup has been hell-bent on breaking conventions for the last five years—it was the room's air conditioning and the floor's cleanliness that surprised me.

The Coup never had much control over the climate of its former College Street location—heat lamps kept people warm in the winter while every set in the summer was punctuated by a mass exodus of people to the fresh air outside—but The Coup's crew has picked up a new set of keys.

And beyond just adding air conditioning and heating, The Coup has taken on a location that will be the biggest step towards engaging the greater Clarksville community that the music venue/community center/restaurant has taken.

With Clarksville’s conservative establishment in their backyard, the new location will likely test the owners of The Coup—their current cash-strapped status won't make it any easier—but the move will also offer big opportunities, both to Clarksville and The Coup.

An Outpost of Progressive Thought

The Coup's movement over the last five years—from the outer fringes of downtown on Crossland Avenue and College Street to the heart of Clarksville on University Avenue—is material evidence of the journey The Coup has taken since it was founded five years ago.

Lerman and the rest of the management had the freedom to be nearly as wild as they wanted when they were running a dirty venue in one of Clarksville's poorer neighborhoods. And that's what it seems like the founders were looking to do: have a place to get weird.

PHOTO: The Coup's first location on Crossland Avenue.

At first, The Coup was strictly a music venue. They hosted shows, but didn't serve food or alcohol. They eventually wanted to get a beer license, but they found out that they would have to get a restaurant license as well in order to keep the venue all ages.

So they went nearly bankrupt getting both licenses.

After three years on Crossland Avenue, they picked up and moved to College Street, a move that told Clarksville they were no longer content being a concealed outpost of progressive thought.

Their new perch on College Street, while not in downtown, was essentially a welcome sign for people heading towards the center of Clarksville. Whether or not they were interested, the average Clarksville resident saw what was going on at The Coup.

When Lerman set up a PA on The Coup's front deck to broadcast his monologues, passing motorists had no choice but to hear diatribes against corporate America. Drivers had no ignore button to press when they saw The Coup's patrons playing with fire or massive hula hoops in the parking lot.

And this third move will bring The Coup and its message even closer to the culture of Clarksville that it so often rails against. For better or worse, Clarksville's finest will now be at The Coup's door faster than ever before and Clarksville's leaders will have a tougher time ignoring what happens at one of the city's only bastions of liberal, progressive thought.

The implications of this move don't seem to be lost on the people behind The Coup.

PHOTO (from left): Matt Watkins, Josh Williams, Xanthi Diamond and Zach Lerman

"Dan Choi [one of The Coup's volunteers/employees] made the comment, 'Oh we're about to move here. Time to make some new friends and some new enemies.' That sounds about right," Lerman said. "Some people will like it and some people will not like it."

Lerman's attitude betrays a confidence that him and the rest of The Coup's owners—Stacy Gazenski, Kory Kyle, and Matt Watkins—have gained since they set up shop five years ago. The Coup is no longer a place to hide out from the establishment—it's becoming an institution that wants to be noticed.

More Than a Venue

The Coup's latest move may be its furthest step towards central Clarksville, but it's also the completion of a circle. Lerman got his start promoting shows at the new University Avenue location when it housed The Icehouse bar.

"I was always trying to book shows and stuff, but it was really stupid because nobody really wanted it," Lerman said. "So this was just a place I already knew. I knew people that worked here. I knew the owner."

But The Coup will look far different when it returns to The Icehouse's former location. Shows will still be put on, but it's more accurate to call The Coup a community center than a venue.

Depending on when you were at The Coup's College Street location, you could see people gardening, doing yoga, reciting poetry, playing trivia, belly dancing, meditating, riding bicycles, falling off unicycles, spinning hula hoops or playing with fire.

And food has moved far from its humble beginnings as an item on a legal checklist.

Some of the best bread in Clarksville comes out of The Coup's kitchen now that Josh Williams has been added to The Coup's management and a constantly shifting menu has given Clarksville its first seasonal, vegetarian-friendly eatery.

Williams brought serious kitchen tools into the College Street location, but, with the addition of a professional gas stove and oven, this move will give The Coup its biggest culinary step up.

And that means that when The Coup opens its University Avenue doors, it won't just be bringing liberal politics and avante-garde music to downtown—it'll be putting quality, handcrafted food in what is nearly a good-food desert.

The Coup's homemade bread will stand out against The Blackhorse's ready-made pizza—downtown's most popular pizza place doesn't make it's own dough—and The Coup's emphasis on real, locally-sourced ingredients will be a stark contrast against The Gilroy's provel-cheese-covered menu.

The Coup has been one of Clarksville's earliest supporters of craft beer, but they won't be alone on University Avenue. Clarksville's most carefully-curated beer menu will be next door at The Pea Patch, and even The Gilroy, with it's penchant for highly-processed cheese and corporate pop music, which has embraced craft beer.

But there's talk of acquiring a wine and liquor license at The Coup—if that happens and The Coup stays to their usual ethos, that will mean that Clarksville will finally have a place to get great quality, local beer, food, wine, and liquor in one place.

And that's something that will stretch The Coup's appeal beyond its usual clientele.

If they can keep their quality up and not scare off University Avenue's foot traffic—and that second point is a fairly big if—The Coup could become the most popular food spot downtown.

PHOTO: A look inside The Coup's new location.

The pieces are there for The Coup to flourish in their new location, but, with money increasingly tight, nothing is guaranteed.

"We don't have any money right now," Lerman said. "We're just throwing every penny and every borrowed penny we have into opening this place in the hopes that it will be successful."

But this isn't the first time that The Coup has been down to their last dollar—family and friend donations have propped the venture up at various points—and money has never really been The Coup's inspiration.

"We were really extensive about our business plan. We did all the numbers and projections and everything... the numbers never ever actually worked out," Lerman said. "We would do the math hundreds of times and it just came up like, this is not going to work."

But five years later, The Coup is still working and the community around it is still growing.

"We get a lot of good reviews from Nashville bands that like to play here, mostly because of the people," Lerman said, "and that has generally been what has kept this place alive—people that actually care and are involved and feel like they belong. And it's not necessarily a certain type of person, but a common theme: open-mindedness."

Liberate Te Ex Jesse Smith, Methdad, Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, and Little Ruckus are kicking off the new Coup with a $3 show this Thursday, June 27th at 9pm.

Thursday night we'll be the weirdest University Ave has gotten in years—here's to hoping it's only the first of many weird nights.

Sugg Street Post
Writing/Photos by Klaus von Sprekels

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Contributor Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 3

"credit" Casey PiscitelliHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/25/13) – Scroll below to see a Contributor Collage, provided by Madisonville resident Casey Piscitelli, full of photos from the first year of the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival.

See previously posted photos by clicking the links below:
Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 1
Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 2

Thanks again to all of you who helped make the inaugural year such an overwhelming success!
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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Casey Piscitelli

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Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 2

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/25/13) – Scroll below to see another Community Collage full of photos from the first year of the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival.

If you haven't already seen the first Community Collage from the fest, click this link.

Included, are a few shots of the Sugg Street Post promoting the Mad Flavor Fest at the first Friday Night Live of the summer.

Thanks again to all of you who helped make the inaugural year such an overwhelming success!

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 1

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/21/13) – We wanted art and we wanted music. We wanted kids running around barefoot in the grass, filling the air with laughter. We wanted to bring the community together like a family, everyone joining collectively in their appreciation for the wide-range of local talent we had amassed in one place. We wanted to create electric synergy. Guess what? We pulled it off.

An idea that started with one man grew into a collaborative art/music piece that was woven together by over 250 people from the community and surrounding areas. It took a village to make it happen—that, hard work, and a lot of dedication.

Upwards of approximately 70 individual musicians, 12 independently made films by separate groups of filmmakers, over 20 local artists and crafts makers, multiple local food vendors, the Madisonville Fire Department, the Hopkins County Humane Society, the Ballard Convention Center crew, a group of over 20 local Red Cross volunteers, sound and light technicians, a group of kid-friendly entertainers, and a large crew of local Mad Flavor Fest volunteers—thus was the rallied team. We were an organized family of like-minded folks with a common goal: sharing art, love, and music in the hopes that money could be made for the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"credit" Jessi SmithBut why the Red Cross?

The Red Cross seeks to prevent and relieve suffering both here at home and around the world. Yet, the American Red Cross relies solely on the generosity of the people. So, we decided to bring the people.

Only a few stood at the core of festival planning, but excitement is addictive and dreams are inspiring. The spark was thrown and a fire ensued. At the end of the day, with exhaustion taking hold, we were all filled with a sense of triumph. Over a year worth of planning had come to a head and we were left to put the final pieces back in their places. It was time to clean up and roll out of the Ballard Convention Center grounds. And, at the festival’s conclusion, once the music had stopped, only a few stood barefoot in the grass to reflect on the adventure.

In total, $7,325.31 was raised for the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Good job. Well done. Tearing down the outdoor stage while tossing around a few jokes—laughter.

With festival planning already in the works for 2014, I leave you with a community collage of photos taken by Sugg Street photographer Jessi Smith. Keep an eye out for more photos that will be posted soon.

Thanks to the community for their overwhelming support and thanks to those who helped make the festival possible. At the end of the day, it takes more than just a few men and women to make things happen. It takes a mass of people to create change. It takes a group of dreamers to usher in a new way of thinking. It takes a loving family to make it work. And I consider all those who participated—from the big jobs to the small—my brothers and sisters in this strange and confusing world we share together.

See you next year!

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Madisonville’s Historic District—Pate’s Drug Store

MADISONVILLE, KY (5/20/13)—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 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.

In 1807, according to Major Gordon’s History of Hopkins County, Pressley Pritchett, the first settler in Madisonville, opened a tavern in the log cabin he had built on the Northwest corner of Main and Center Streets. Soon thereafter, he sold the tavern to William Noel and he (Pritchett) moved to Henderson, KY.

Mr. Noel, a shoemaker, occasional auctioneer, an intermittent keeper of the pound for stray animals, a jailer, and the person responsible for developing the Noel Addition (north of the downtown area), operated the tavern for a number of years.

Historical writings state that the tavern was considered a civic center and also a gathering place for the citizens on public days. Accommodations were available for man and beast, and alcoholic beverages were available. Breakfast was at daybreak, dinner at noon, and supper at six. There was always a wash stand (with basin), a bucket of spring water, and a homespun flax towel on the back porch awaiting the weary traveler who wanted to freshen up a bit.

It is not known how long Mr. Noel operated the tavern, but after his death, which was around 1844, his son George W. Noel, inherited the property. In September, 1867, George sold it to R.J. Littlepage for $500.00, after which the building on the lot was replaced by the current structure.

The deed from Noel to Littlepage recited that the property being conveyed was part of the “old tavern lot”.

At the April, 1808 meeting of the Hopkins County Court, the tavern rates within the county were fixed as follows:

Wine (per gallon): $4.00
Rum (per gallon): $2.66
Cider (per quart): $0.12
Lodging (per night): $0.12
Dinner: $0.25
Pasturage for 24 hours: $0.25
French Brandy (per gallon): $4.00
Whiskey (per half pint): $0.12
Peach or Apple Brandy (per half pint): $0.12
Breakfast or Supper (with coffee or tea): $0.25
For Horse & Hay: $0.12
Corn or Oats (per gallon): $0.12

In November 1872, Littlepage sold the property to W.C. Mitchell who, in turn, sold the property in December 1873 to William Rash, with the consideration being $1,135.00. William Rash died testate and by the terms of his Last Will & Testament, he devised the property to his widow, Lizzie Rash, and his son, John T. Rash. In 1897, Mrs. L.L. Grubbs (formerly Lizzie Rash) and son, John T. Rash, sold the property to attorney J.B. Earle for $3,500.00. J.B. Earle was the gentleman for whom Earlington, KY was named.

During Earle’s ownership of the building, it housed The Hustler newspaper office and the law office of John G.B. Hall, as well as Mr. Earle’s law office, both of which were on the 2nd floor. Additionally, the IOOF Lodge, as well as the Masonic Lodge, held meetings on the 3rd floor.

In the 1907/1908 Madisonville City Directory, a barbershop, Littlepage & Edwards, occupied the building, and sometime prior to 1927, it housed Pate’s Drug Store, which was owned and operated by Marvin E. Pate (wife, Anna).

In the 1932/1933 Madisonville City Directory, there are two Pate’s Drug Stores, one at this location (Northwest corner of North Main Street & West Center) and the other is listed at 111 West Center owned and operated by the same people.

In the 1940, 1946, and 1947 City Directories, the business was still under the same ownership. As mentioned above, J.B. Griffin became the owner of the property in 1960.

This corner is fondly remembered by many residents simply as “Pate’s Corner”. The drug store, as well as the steps of the adjoining building, was very popular with the teenagers, especially the young men, over the years. No girls were allowed on the steps.

This writer is not aware of the date of the closing of the drugstore; however, J.B. Griffin and wife, Willie Mae, conveyed the property in 1987 to Mike and Maureen Tomblinson and Allen and Pam Rudd.

In 2003, the property was sold to William A. Nisbet, IV. It served as his law office until being sold at the courthouse door in 2011 to Dean Sheets by the Master Commissioner of Hopkins County.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Hopkins County Genealogical Society President, Jane Ann Jackson
Main photo by Tom Wortham
Additional images courtesy of Jane Jackson

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Community Collage: Under Green Lights

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/20/13) - There is nothing quite like taking in a live musical performance in the city you live in and love, especially when there is a lot of talent and stage presence to back it up.

This past Saturday, May 18, talented local performer and award-winning thumbpicker J.T. Oglesby took to the stage at The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern in Madisonville, KY and entertained an enthusiastic group of onlookers. Oglesby was joined onstage by fellow local musicians Johnny Keyz (keyboard/bass/vocals) and Mike Cartwright (fiddle).

"It was one of the best gigs I have ever had in Madisonville," says Oglesby. "The crowd was really attentive and supportive. The vibe was great! Johnny Keyz and Mike Cartwright played with me. I call my constantly shifting band 'The Grooms of Mollie McBride.' The name is a Kentucky history reference that few will get, but I like it."

To learn more about The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern, check out their newest website, which was created by the Sugg Street Post, at the following link: http://www.thecrowdedhouse.co

Scroll below to see photos taken at the event.

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Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Community Collage: Breathe Youth Arts Spring Showcase

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/15/13) - Art is an escape. Art is beauty. Art is vivid. Art is alive. Art is freeing and exhilarating. So just breathe it in and allow it to cleanse you every once in awhile.

Art was alive and well in Madisonville this past Tuesday, May 14th at the Madisonville City Park. Breathe, a community based youth development program, celebrated their first year of operation by offering up a free Spring showcase for park-goers as the sun was setting brilliantly against the backdrop. The weather was perfect and a responsive crowd gave the atmosphere an electric spark.

Breathe, a program established by Light of Chance, Inc., provides after-school arts sessions, which are free of charge, for grades 5-12. The program foster artistic expression, leadership, and social skills through arts such as visual, music, dance, creative writing, and poetry.

The official Light of Chance website lists the program's goals as follows:

• To offer programming that: focuses on self-expression, artistic engagement, teamwork skills, and concern for others.

• Give youth a constructive outlet for their creative energies, encourage cooperation and teamwork, teach artistic and social skills.

• To engage young people in unique opportunities to explore the arts while developing supportive relationships and connecting with their community.

• Help program participants to establish and achieve personal goals.

• To teach and help youth discover different ways to critically think and solve problems.

• To increase youth’s self-esteem.

A photo recap of this year's Spring Showcase can be viewed below.

If you are interested in learning more about the Breathe program call (270) 875-4332 or visit http://www.lightofchance.org/. The program operates every Tuesday from 3:30-6:00 at the Rosenwald-Smith Multi-Cultural Center at 208 N. Kentucky Ave.

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"credit" Jessi SmithSugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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