Devoted fans of the show know that the Front Porch is more than just part of the stage set-up for the live radio program. It’s symbolic of Homefront’s mission of community building and outreach, a warm and casual invitation to gather the neighborhood for friendly exchanges of music, storytelling, and a little good-natured political banter.
The search for a new permanent home for the series began when Homefront lost its lease on the old Kentucky Theater building in November 2007. The show took up temporary residence at the Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, with selected shows at the 930 Building and the Clifton Center. Results from a survey of Homefront concert goers and volunteers indicated that the Clifton Center’s proximity to the established Frankfort Avenue corridor would make for the most accessible, comfortable home for the series, which began in 1984 at the Stuart Robinson Auditorium at Sixth and Magnolia, and which has had several other homes in the interim. The Clifton Center will serve as home to all but two of the 2008 season’s ten shows (there are no shows in January or July), and all ten of the shows in 2009.
Gage hopes that once again having a stable home base for the series will be the first step toward expanding Homefront’s marketing and fundraising efforts and grant applications. “Bringing Kentucky Homefront to the Clifton Center is far more than merely renting a facility,” he said. “It's joining hands with the staff of a great venue and several great established neighborhoods to actualize a win/win/win partnership.”
The radio shows, which feature an eclectic variety of folk-oriented music and storytelling, are recorded monthly before a live audience and aired weekly on WFPK-FM, part of Louisville’s Public Radio Partnership.
The first show of the Spring Season (and the first at the Clifton Center) is Saturday, February 9 at 7:30pm. Admission is $12, $10 for "Porch Pals".
SEVEN COUNTIES PORCH PICKERS & SINGERS
Lee Cable (guitar), Mike Dancy (guitar), Marty Purdy (guitar/mandolin) and mando-celloe player Patrick Fitzgerald. In his "day job," Marty is director of Seven Counties Services' children's crisis stabilization unit. Ruth Reed (lead vocals) and Erin Fitzgerald (guitar/vocals). Both Ruth and Erin are employed in Seven Counties Services’ Developmental Services Division, working with individuals who developmentally disabled. Kelly Goforth (vocals and A Sue Juett (pianist). Kelly is director of the Seven Counties Services' center at 1512 Crums Lane, which provides services to children and families dealing with mental health issues. Sue is the choir director/organist at Highland United Methodist Church. Double Dog Dare: Ron Van Treuren & Steve Matthews will sing all origninal compositions. Ron is the director of Seven Counties Services' Schoobased Division. Rob Carson (lead vocal); Matt Garner (background vocals); Billy Grubbs (guitar); Wes Hack (guitar); Dan Curry (bass background vocals); Larry Burba (banjo); Aaron Hooper (keyboards). Long time friends of Seven Counties staff, these folks weave a nice tapestry.
Singer, Musician, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Actress, and Jack of all Trades, Sarah Elizabeth, 28, has performed in 18 countries but has called Kentucky home all her life. Sarah plays 11 instruments and her work appears on 12 albums. Her voice as independent songstress has roots that reach deep into Kentucky with a sound sweet as the smell of freshly cut bluegrass and old as the coal that sleeps in the hills. Sarah Elizabeth Burkey was born and raised on Rural Route 4, Kevil, Kentucky. Her unique musical and literary compositions are born of this rich history. Sarah's work has been published in books and literary journals in the US and Europe. In 2007 Sarah's work was featured in the book Reflections upon the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. 2007 found Sarah performing in Portugal, England, and across the US including a California tour.
J.D. Shelburne is a singer/songwriter/ guitarist currently living in the Nashville, TN /Taylorsville, KY area. He was a Kentuckiana Idol Finalist, a Wicks Pizza's Dixie Idol Winner and the 2007 Colgate Country Showdown Winner. This small town country star is on his way to the top. The usual first impression of J.D. can be summed up into one sentence "Boy, you sure were made to do this!" J.D. Shelburne’s music is a reflection of his personality sometimes soft and heartfelt, sometimes sharp and well humored, usually soulful, a contradiction of both pure strength and thoughtful indecision. J.D. is known for instinctively creating a unique bl/files/storyimages/of melodies and rhythms solely from deep within. A life he had never dreamed of, J.D. has opened/chatted with stares such as Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Little Big Town, Phil Vasser, Keith Anderson, Halfway to Hazard, Joe Nichols, Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, John Michael Montgomery, Dusty Drake, Chris Young, Juice Newton, Shannon Lawson, Jason Aldean, Natalie Howard and Nashville hit songwriters such as James Dean Hicks, Taylor Rhodes, Chuck Cannon, David Vincent Williams, Pat Alger, Tim Krekel, Richard Leigh and Rob Crosby. J.D. brought up listening to artists such as Keith Urban, Shannon Lawson, Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Mercy Me, Jason Aldean and countless others. J.D. has developed a style all his own a unique bl/files/storyimages/of country & pop/rock infused with soulful vocals, hooky melodies, and on-the-edge lyrics. "I am constantly listening to other country records and seeing what they add to each song, trying to gear up and inspire my creative self, in order to create the melodies that I do at my shows & at Live performances. "Music now controls my life, whether it be playing a gig with the band or setting in class at college writing songs." Laughs J.D. He reflects. "I feel the 'creative guilt' every day thinking, I need to be out there, write more, sing more, I need to put this together make it happen...music has always been inside of me, and at that point, I knew that it was something I needed to give a real shot." Now at age 25 and his sophomore album in the works, J.D. is poised for 2008 to be that breakthrough year he's been gearing-up to achieve. "Ever since this music career began, my dream has been to play the Grand Ole Opry...so will see what happens!" With his hometown crowd behind him and his future ahead, there no telling what this local country star has coming for him.
With Front Porch Philosopher and Homefront regular;
Bob Thompson has been intrigued by stories all his life. He grew up next door to his grandmother’s country grocery store in Western Kentucky, listening to the stories told on the front porch in the summer and around the pot-bellied stove in the winter. For the last 20 years, he has been involved in perpetuating the art of storytelling both locally and nationally as a writer, a storyteller, and chairman of the board and programming director for the Louisville-based Corn Island Storytelling Festival, the largest such festival in the U.S., Corn Island celebrated its 33rd anniversary in 2007. Bob is also active with other arts organizations, including the Kentucky Theatre Project, and is a regular on local National Public Radio station WFPK’s weekly Kentucky Home Front program. A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in engineering, Bob says he’s built a career knowing that both sides of his brain work. "Understanding technology and having the communication skills to translate scientific concepts into everyday language is evidently not a common commodity," he says. His only famous relative, as far as he knows, is his cousin Lily Tomlin. Maybe storytelling runs in the family.
If you're so inclined and think you're talented enough, you're invited to stay after the show and jam with the artists.