City’s music scene continues to grow
There was a time, not too long ago, when live music in Paducah was a rarity. Seeing a band play its original music was something not many venues offered. The most you could ask for was a cover band and a not-too-twangy cover of “Friends in Low Places.”
Fast forward to now, where seeing a live band isn’t so much a question of when but where. There are performances in a variety of bars and restaurants, along with some unique shows in alternative venues nearly every night in Paducah. The city and its music lovers seem to be embracing the opportunity to watch homegrown acts nurture their talent.
“There are bands of all different genres willing to try new things.,” said Landee Bryant, executive director of Maiden Alley Cinema. “There are new venues and new ways to perform. They are really taking the challenge.”
The city has always had music in its heart. From the days of river travel, some of the best and most historic names have made Paducah a stop on their travels. Icons such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong have stayed in the city, playing small clubs and even just jamming on a front porch. But as travel got more direct and less expensive, country singers and fame seekers went past smaller towns and straight to a music mecca — Nashville.
“Paducah has always been a crossroads of transportation and culture,” said Tommy Oliverio, member of local bluegrass band Bawn in the Mash. “We will never be able to compete with the quantity of events in St. Louis or Nashville, but that shouldn’t be our goal. We want to provide quality entertainment in a unique and timeless setting.”
Paducahans may be embracing their music scene more, but there are still changes to face. While festivals and outdoor events provide bands with more room, indoor venues are lacking in size. When a band outgrows the bar scene, but can’t quite fill the Carson Center, it isn’t left with a lot of places to go. That also spells problems for out-of-town bands looking for somewhere to play for a night.
However, in an apparent answer to that problem, venues such as Maiden Alley Cinema and Market House Theatre have opened their doors to musical acts, giving bands with a larger following somewhere to entertain. Although Market House is relatively new on the music scene, Maiden Alley Cinema plans one musical act a month, with each band incorporating some kind of digital media into its act.
“They know that this is a bigger place, with great acoustics, so they are coming to us to ask to play. It’s really incredible,” Bryant said.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.