Bluegrass band to retune local radio show

By Casey Kurkowski

Tonight students can hear some good old-fashioned Appalachian bluegrass with a twist of rock, jazz, pop and Irish music.

The Dozens of Dollars String Band will perform at a live taping for the weekly syndicated Red Barn Radio Show at 7:30 p.m. in the Arts Place Performance Hall, located downtown at 161 N. Mill St. Tickets are $5 and free for children under 12.

Students can expect to see a laid-back performance that brings the audience close to the performer, said Ed Commons, a co-founder of the radio show.

“It’s about the history of the family, where did you learn your music, what type of instruments,” Commons said.

Dozens of Dollars String Band puts a new spin on traditional bluegrass by using a wide collection of instruments, including fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass and banjo.

“We bring many influences to our music, which makes our sound very eclectic,” said Mark Rosenthal, the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist.

“One can hear the mountain tones through the instrumentation of the clawhammer banjo and fiddle, which gives our music, no matter how contemporary, an Appalachian flavor,” he said.

The band is based out of Westport General Store, a restaurant and bar along the Ohio River. It also plays different venues throughout Louisville and surrounding areas.

Brad Becker, host of Red Barn Radio, said he thinks people can learn about Appalachia from the bands that perform on the show.

“At least once monthly we feature musicians from Eastern Kentucky, or ones from elsewhere who play, what you would call ‘mountain’ or ‘old-time’ music,” Becker said.

“Music and culture are always intertwined, but I think music’s place in mountain culture is extraordinary and magical, especially considering that most of the music is passed along orally,” he said. “You get folks from different counties who play the same tunes, but with a different twist.”

Red Barn Radio gives listeners an in-depth perspective on the artists it features, Commons said.

“The show is structured in such a way that you really get to meet the artists,” he said. “We have a number of interviews that are conducted during the course of the show and during that time it’s more than just, ‘What is your latest CD?’ ”

For more information, visit the show’s Web site ( or call 277-8224.