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"A Celebration of the Beatles" to Raise Funds for Paducah Cooperative Ministry on May 6

"A Celebration of the Beatles" takes place on Saturday, May 6, at 8 pm at Paducah Beer Werks.
Luke Taylor
"A Celebration of the Beatles" takes place on Saturday, May 6, at 8 pm at Paducah Beer Werks.

Eleven local musicians split into two bands will come together this weekend to celebrate the music of the Beatles and raise funds for Paducah Cooperative Ministry. Musicians and event planners Cory Greene and Luke Taylor talk to Tracy Ross ahead of the event, titled "A Celebration of the Beatles," which will take place on Saturday, May 6, at 8 pm at Paducah Beer Werks.

"Back in 2019, the idea of doing these kinds of fundraisers kind of fell in mine and Luke's laps," Greene begins. "We ended up doing a Tom Petty concert at Dry Ground that raised money for a local cancer association, and we had a fantastic time doing it. So, we started planning for future years and had one scheduled for a Nirvana-themed one in April of 2020. That ended up falling through. But we had a long list of musicians and artists that we would want to do a similar thing with, and the Beatles were at the top of the list. With this fundraiser, we're doing it for Paducah Cooperative Ministry, who do incredible work for the less fortunate in our area, providing emergency meals, groceries, things like that for people."

To narrow down the Beatles' expansive discography, Taylor says all the musicians "met at Dry Ground and had a big drawing. You either drew one or two. Everyone that is involved is somewhat of a multi-instrumentalist, so each band lucked out being able to play with each other. We had a draft of songs — I think there was paper, rock, scissors to see who went first. Then, we just started naming off songs."

"There were a couple heavily disputed songs that both bands wanted," Greene laughs. "But it was a lot of fun doing it that way. With this whole project, we always approach musicians that we want to play with, and some of which we'd never played with before, but also musicians that we know have no egos and want to do things for their community. Drawing at random was incredibly fun. It worked out really well because our band ended up with a lot more of the concise, poppy stuff, and Luke's band ended up with a lot of the epics, I would say — the bigger arrangement kind of songs."

Taylor and Greene say the timeless nature of the Beatles' music is what makes it so relevant and enjoyable today both as musicians and listeners. "It's just perfect music," Taylor says. "It created so much of what we hear today, not only musically but also production-wise and studio-wise. When Get Back came out a year or two ago, the documentary, that kind of brought us back into the process of how they did it. I thought it was so familiar with how your average, everyday musician does it. You see these guys and how they're creating music, and they did the exact same things we did, but they're just better at it."

"It totally humanized these musical gods to a lot of people," Greene adds. "It's like, 'Oh, they write music like I do.' It was a terrific documentary. The process of learning these songs was even more rewarding in a lot of ways because I know speaking with every musician involved, there's a lot of stuff we really struggled with, and had a lot of fun learning how they arranged these songs 50 years ago. It's been a fantastic process."

Taylor adds that one of the biggest challenges has been translating songs that were never played in concert into a live performance. "[The Beatles] only played together for a couple of years. A lot of these songs, especially the later Beatles stuff, unless it was played on the rooftop, it wasn't played live very much in front of a bunch of people." Greene says, "which also informed our process of choosing the songs. There's a lot of stuff on Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour that we flat out couldn't do because we don't have an orchestra or a sitar."

For the theatrical numbers that did make it into the set, Taylor says, "We have a lot of pedalboard work instead of doing the big, cinematic orchestra stuff. It's a lot of fun, and it's going to be very interesting to come hear it just to see how a lot of this stuff is being recreated in a live setting. And not just a live setting, but a locally done, free, live setting. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised and happy that they spent their Saturday at Paducah Beer Werks."

The Beatles bands' line-ups are as follows:

The "Odd" Beatles:
• Melanie A. Davis: vocals
• Fate McAfee: rhythm guitar, bass, and vocals
• Jacob McCallon: lead guitar and vocals
• Ian Moore: keyboard and vocals
• Luke Taylor: bass, guitar, and vocals
• Sofi Woods: drums and vocals

The "Even" Beatles:
• Blake Brown: vocals and guitar
• Melanie A. Davis: background vocals
• Rob Estes: drums
• Cory Greene: bass
• Brian Rader: vocals and guitar
• Zack Winding: guitar and keyboard
• Sofi Woods: background vocals

"A Celebration of the Beatles" will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, May 6, at Paducah Beer Werks. Admission to the all-ages event is free, but there is a suggested $5 donation at the door. All proceeds will go toward Paducah Cooperative Ministry.

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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