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City wants to be on music triangle

Associated Press

OWENSBORO - A city in western Kentucky is shooting to become the northern-most point on the Americana Music Triangle.

Owensboro wants to join other cities on the 1,500-mile trail that includes nine music genres.

Currently, New Orleans serves as the southern point while the northern points are in the Tennessee cities of Memphis and Nashville.

Aubrey Preston and the Franklin, Tennessee-based Americana Music Association created the trail and recently visited Owensboro to discuss with local officials the possibility of including it.

The city has become a hub for bluegrass music and tourism. It is home to the International Bluegrass Music Museum and holds an annual bluegrass festival that draws about 20,000 people.

"What we're hoping for is to become an offshoot of the trail and be listed on their site," said Rick Hobgood, chairman of the Owensboro-Daviess Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We hope they'll create a continuation on to Owensboro and bluegrass."

"It would be a big coup for us to get on that trail," said Terry Woodward, who is heading an effort to create an International Bluegrass Music Center in the city's downtown.

Hobgood and Woodward said the biggest obstacle to getting on the trail is geometric. The addition of Owensboro would make the trail look less like a triangle.

They are hoping that any issues can be worked out because the stakes are high.

"International people are enamored with American music," Woodward said. "They like to visit sites associated with the origins of American music."

"Folks overseas who get 30-day vacations can come over here, get in a car and drive the trail," Hobgood said. "Owensboro could be an entry point for people coming from Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit."

The Americana Music Triangle describes itself as a tour of the "birthplaces" of nine types of roots music - blues, jazz, country, rock 'n roll, rockabilly, bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco and gospel.

It currently associates bluegrass with Nashville, but Owensboro officials say the genre would be better represented in Kentucky, home to the birthplace and burial site of Bill Monroe, who is known as the father of bluegrass music.

Other states that have sites included on the trail include Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

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