When you travel this summer, music can be part of the journey and the destination. If you really want to have an adventure on the road, put aside your MP3 players and favorite CDs, and forget the radio stations saved in your channel memory. Summer is a time to burst out of your usual, comfortable musical realm and be an adventurous listener!
Journey with radio
Tune in, and turn on to something new. Radio is a conduit for creative and eclectic communities. Here are a few stations that will challenge and excite you while you travel across Kentucky:
WMMT-FM 88.7, Whitesburg
WRFL-FM 88.1, Lexington
WFPK-FM 91.9, Louisville
WKYU-FM, 88.9, Bowling Green
Whether you love bluegrass music, or tend to avoid it, a trip to the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro and the Bill Monroe Homeplace in nearby Rosine will expand your mind. Experience the living legacy of bluegrass at the ROMP festival June 27-29.
Here, you will experience exhibits, tours and programs about artists from many genres of American music who have made a big impact and who are all from Kentucky. Country and bluegrass? Check. Blues and pop? Check. Opera and jazz? Check.
Experience the birthplace of thumb style guitar made famous by Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. Visit the Merle Travis Music Center in Muhlenberg County at the end of summer—late September—when the Home of the Legends Weekend and the Hall of Fame ceremony occur.
Take in the sights and sounds of the home place of the proud coalminer’s daughter, Loretta Lynn. If you are lucky, you might arrange a tour with Loretta’s brother, Herman Webb, like this blogger did. Butcher Holler is just one site along the Country Music Highway. Learn more and order a copy of More than Music: A Heritage Driving Tour of Kentucky’s Route 23 here.
Did you know that Louisville was the birthplace of this enduring DIY music style? Plan now to go to the Jubilee on Sept. 21, so you can close out your summer with a jubilant thhhhhbbbtt!
Go beyond these suggestions. It is easy to find out about festivals, performing arts centers, and jam sessions all over Kentucky. You can start by surfing the Performing Arts Directory to find video and audio of artists you like. Visit their websites, collect their music, go to their shows.
Have fun, be adventurous and then post your experiences and recommendations below.
Mark Brown, folk and traditional arts program director