In which grant ends up with a venue. Sort of.
In March of 2010 we took on nearly two feet of water, which is a bad thing when your family (my in-laws, to be precise) has a bookstore. Nashville had it a lot worse — a whole lot worse — but there’s no insurance for this kind of mess. Mud and water play hell with refrigeration units, and the coffeeshop has nearly a dozen of the wretched devices, all told.
So we licked our wounds, swallowed whatever painkillers the doctors still allow, thanked our friends and neighbors and the complete strangers who showed up for three or four very blurry days to help bail us out, and moved on.
Which is how we got to Main Street, almost exactly a year after we flooded. And which is where a good bit of my time has gone these past few months. It’s a big store, something over 6,000 feet, and all of it had to be moved except for the furniture we burned and the mold we said goodbye to.
We moved CoffeeTree Books and the Fuzzy Duck Coffeeshop into an old cinema, outdated by the arrival of a multiplex (which happens to have been built on the floodplain, but didn’t flood). The cinema had been saved by a trio of investors (not us, I hesitate to add) who didn’t want to see another vacant building in downtown Morehead turned into a parking lot. Which is what we do best, these days.
We painted the place, a construction firm terraced the interior so as to make shelving possible, and I missed most of the NCAA tournament, even the part where Morehead State beat Louisville, though there were even cars driving past me and my ladder that day, honking.
Down in front of the screen lurks a stage. Not a huge thing, but a stage. We left the space in front of it open, painted a large chess/checker board and a hopscotch game on the floor, tossed some chairs in and figured we’d make it more of a children’s play area when we had time. Over the last couple years I’ve built a relationship with Morehead State University’s jazz program, and they were happy to come test drive our new stage.
Turns out, the acoustics are terrific for, well, acoustic music.
Now what to do?
We have a stage. No sound system, though most of the students who’ve played to date haven’t needed one. And not much of an audience. It is said that if we resurrected Elvis and charged $5 at the door, we still couldn’t sell out the Conference Center down the road, and I’m not sure they’re wrong.
But there’s a good music department at the university, a growing Center for Traditional Music right down the road, and I refuse to believe that if we are able to keep the stage busy we won’t eventually grow an audience. Of some kind.
So this is by way of an invitation, I suppose.
We have an acoustic venue. No money, but we’ll feed performers out of the coffeeshop. Whatever can be raised by tip jar and merch sales is all yours. That’s what we can afford, and it’s as fair as I know how to be.
We are in the wilds of eastern Kentucky, halfway between Lexington, KY, and Huntington, WV. Which makes us a bit over two hours east of Louisville, and about two hours south of Cincinnati. Knoxville, I think, is three hours. Probably more, but I’ve not driven it. Nashville is about five hours.
So that’s what I’ve got on my plate just now. Not sure what to do with it. Maybe nothing. All the years I spent in and around the music business, I was never a promoter nor a booking agent nor anybody who actively worked with live music. Still…I figured I’d toss it out to my old community, see if it’s of any use. Should this smack of gratuitous self-promotion, well…Kyla and Kim will know what to do with me. (As will y’all, I’m sure!)