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    In the fall, comedian and emcee Howell Dawdy, the alter ego of local musician Alex Smith, released the official music video for his song “Louisville.” Dawdy, in a tuxedo, deadpans the chorus: “Ooh, baby, what a thrill. Living our lives in Louisville.” (He pronounces it Lou-e-ville.) The video, shot and edited by Smith and his friend Drew Osborn, features over 80 different Louisville locations, from expected attractions to the “Thorntons mart on Lower Brownsboro.”

    The song dates to 2014, when Dawdy opened a couple of shows for New Albany band Houndmouth. “I performed in St. Louis, Chicago and Bloomington (Indiana). For those out-of-town dates, I had this bit where I did a monologue about not liking how people from out of town always act like the town they’re (visiting) is the best town they’ve ever been to. I made a point of saying that I wasn’t going pander to them or their town,” the 39-year-old says. “Then I would perform a song I wrote about their city. The twist was that the song was about how great their town was and how it was my favorite town.” Dawdy wrote several “city songs” (including one about Lexington), which all featured goofy facts he found on Wikipedia or during quick Internet searches. In 2016, after being asked to perform at WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesday, it occurred to him that he’d never written one about Louisville, his hometown. The “off the cuff” song he wrote, recorded and mixed in his Clifton home begins like this: “Welcome to the hometown of Nicole Scherzinger. And definitely the first place to put cheese on a burger. While we’re at it, I think we invented barbecue, and how about lasagna’s from here, let’s make that true too.”

    “I start making a beat on my computer, and then I’ll start writing the lyrics and music all at the same time,” he says. “For ‘Louisville,’ I had the hook, then I layered the beat. The lyrics were just random thoughts I had of funny things. I listed a bunch of actual areas, neighborhoods, historic sites. And then threw in Highlands Kroger.”

    At almost two minutes in, the song takes a sudden shift. The cheerful beat becomes a dark buzzing pitch. The lyric: “I don’t care for St. Matthews.” “I thought it’d be another twist to name all these great places in Louisville, except one,” he says. “If you’re going to call out a place in town, might as well call out the place you get stuck in traffic trying to get out of the mall.”

    This originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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