JUNE -- Aaron Lewis
January -- The Band Perry
CORIANNE EGAN | The Sun
APRIL -- "Stitched"
CORIANNE EGAN | The Sun
October -- Haunted House
CORIANNE EGAN | The Sun
February -- The Empty Bowls Project
NOVEMBER -- "39 Steps"
JOHN WRIGHT | The Sun
July -- Live on Broadway
August -- Travis Porter
JOHN WRIGHT | The Sun
September -- Barbecue on the River
Janie Beal of the Cookie's Grill barbecue team rejoices as Cookie's was named best ribs in the backyard division.
March -- Matthew West
December -- Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three
May -- Lowertown Arts and Music Festival
WKCTC brings break out stars to campus
While their hit single “If I Die Young” was blowing up the country charts, The Band Perry hit the Clemens Fine Arts Center. The sold-out show was one of the biggest bands ever brought to the college campus by Gail Robinson-Butler, and opened the door for a lot more up-and-coming musical acts to hit the WKCTC stage in 2012.
The Grascals debut new bluegrass album
The Grascals, the Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America’s “Band of the Year,” headed down to Murray in late January to bring bluegrass home to Kentucky. They played songs from their newest album, “The Grascals and Friends,” which included songs with Dolly Parton, Dierks Bentley, Tom T. Hall, Joe Nichols and Brad Paisley.
Empty Bowls surpasses expectations
The brainchild of Lower Town ceramicist Michael Terra inspired people to donate money and in turn received a beautifully made ceramic bowl to fill and refill with their choice of food. The result far surpassed first-year expectations: Terra reports giving out more than 900 bowls and raised $14,000 for the Community Kitchen in Paducah.
Bawn in the Mash opens Market House for music
Anyone who has been in the Market House Theatre knows it has killer acoustics and a very intimate setting, and local band Bawn in the Mash used that in its favor. Joined by friends Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three, the entirely acoustic show lasted about two and a half hours and was enjoyed by the packed house.
Matthew West shares his story
West’s story was pretty amazing: the guy asked his fans to send him letters, detailing their most personal struggles, and then turned as many as he could into songs. His show at the Carson Center featured him telling the story of his two months in a cabin, reading letters and being touched by his fan’s honesty.
Avenue Q broadens Paducah’s horizon
The controversial Broadway play isn’t your average puppet show. The cursing, sexually frustrated puppets made their way to Paducah in April, to the delight of its residents. The show had great sales, and allowed Carson Center’s administrators to have a little more faith in their ability to chose different types of shows for the area.
Paducah’s quilters go on the big screen
Maiden Alley and director Jenna Moreno timed the premiere of “Stitched” with Paducah’s quilt show. The story of three competitive quilters who are making waves in the quilting world premiered in Paducah to a throng of quilt fanatics, but was also seen by the average movie-goers who gave the film two thumbs up.
“The Big Uneasy” opens eyes
Harry Shearer is known for his role on “The Simpsons,” but his New Orleans documentary that showed at Maiden Alley Cinema was spot on. Shearer spent time in his adopted home city to make “The Big Uneasy,” a story of the government’s reaction to New Orleans and the changes that aren’t being made to protect the country from another man-made disaster.
Lowertown Arts and Music Festival grows
The Lower Town Neighborhood Association took over the festival in 2010, and in its second year in control the bash grew exponentially. There were twice as many street artists as in 2010, incredible music acts on three separate stages, and a 40-foot-long kid’s tent full of activities.
Free comics bring out fans of all ages
Free Comic Book Day happens every year, but Brent Thurston of Crash Comics in Paducah went all out this year, celebrating the shop’s grand opening as well. There were costumes and fun for all, and an estimated 2.7 million comics were given away nationwide.
Aaron Lewis transitions to country at Harrah’s
The Staind rocker made his transition to country about a year ago, but at his show at Harrah’s, Lewis played some of his fan’s old favorites as well. Lewis said his music still has an edge.
“I am just doing what feels right,” he explained. “I sit down, and I write what comes to me and what works. Most of that always ends up having a dark side to it.”
Shandies brings musicians downtown
When Shandies opened its doors last January, no one could imagine the wealth of talent that they would eventually bring through the doors. During the summer, the restaurant had a local band play its every night either inside, adding to their rustic ambiance, or outdoors, gracing the streets of Paducah.
Live on Broadway brings the circus to Saturday nights
Paducah Renaissance Alliance entrusted its “Downtown After Dinner” Saturday nights to Jeff Spicer and Karson Kelley, and the pair didn’t disappoint. Music acts lined either side of the street, street vendors and art expos wowed crowds, and performance artists walked among visitors. The highlight had to be the 50-foot-tall crane that hoisted a ribbon aerialist for several performances early in July.
Little Big Town makes a stop in Paducah
This country band is known for its high-energy shows, and the performance at the Carson Center was no different. The foursome brought out old favorites like “A Little More You” and newer hits like “Little White Church.”
Travis Porter kicks it at the Convention Center
Rap fans can name on one hand the big-name artists that have rolled through Paducah. Thanks to a terrific organizing team, the trio visited the Convention Center in August and when they played their hit single, “Make it Rain,” the place was absolutely rocking.
Maiden Alley survives 10 years
Maiden Alley is the only independent theater in Western Kentucky, and for the last decade loyal patrons have supported the cause. MAC held its 10th anniversary party at Shandies, with great food and an excellent performance by local favorites the Dirt Daubers.
Barbecue on the River competition heats up
Every September, downtown Paducah fills up with barbecue smoke and thousands upon thousands of hungry festival-goers. This year’s Barbecue on the River festival featured 42 teams, and the winners, Cookie’s Grill, were in the backyard cooking division. Festival coordinator David Boggs said that smaller, family teams winning proves that the competition is wide open every year.
A.I.R. takes off with international residents
Paducah Art Alliance started its Artist in Residency Program several years ago, but it heated up in 2011. The group brought in residents from around the country to their Lower Town studio, but in September they brought in Elisabeth Melkonyan, an artist from Austria who fell in love with the river and spent time drawing parts of downtown and even the Free Spirit Motorcycle Ministry.
Paducah’s most haunted, historical house
Paducah is full of historic houses, but none has a back story quite like the large mansion on the corner of sixth and Madison streets. Owner Brent Dukes lives in the converted funeral home, and thought it would be fun to decorate his already haunted house for Halloween. The result was one of the most terrifying haunted houses in city limits, not only for the excellent actors clad in Civil War gear, but the real-life voices and apparitions that were reported throughout the three weeks the house was open.
Paul Lorenz takes the line less traveled
Lorenz is one of the most celebrated artists in Lower Town, but his new exhibit at Gallery 1050 called “Architecture and Moment” really stood out. Each piece features an average of 1,200 lines. The show featured 30 pieces — each three feet by three feet — which were almost completely done with pencil.
Market House takes “39 Steps” toward a packed house
The small community theater took on a lot when it decided to put on “39 Steps,” an adaptation of an old Alfred Hitchcock film. It used only four actors, including leading man Fowler Black, to play more than 140 characters in the piece.
Cable Guy makes Paducah laugh for all of the right reasons
Last year, the Carson Center brought in Blue Collar mega-star Bill Engvall. This year, it elected to follow up with Larry the Cable Guy. The voice of Mater from “Cars” wowed his audience with new material, something he says he strives for every time he performs.
A guy named Pokey plays at MAC
Pokey LaFarge looks and acts like he is from a time when bow ties and scalloped Oxfords were commonplace. His vernacular includes words like “nifty” and “cool cats.” But all of that aside, LaFarge is heading on up in the music world, and having him play another show in the acoustically-gifted Maiden Alley Cinema was quite spectacular.
Affordable art makes holiday shopping easy
The second-annual Affordable Art show was held in early December, and featured pieces ranging from $30 to $500. According to Nikki May, the important thing about the show was the idea of introducing people who are scared to purchase art to the many artists of Lower Town, and helping those people develop a style of their own.