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Paducah Beer Werks Hosts Merryman House Benefit Rock Concert Featuring Three West Kentucky Bands

Paducah Beer Werks is hosting a rock and roll benefit show for the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center this Saturday, April 20, at 8 pm. The concert features three Paducah-based rock bands: Family Bags, Charmers, and Daywaster. Morning Edition's Daniel Hurt speaks to local musician and Family Bags bassist Melanie A. Davis ahead of the charity concert for Merryman House, which is the only certified domestic violence program in western Kentucky serving men, women, and children in need.

Merryman House serves the WKMS listening area of Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, and McCracken Counties. According to its website, Merryman House provides "services for survivors of intimate partner violence without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, religion, creed, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, uniformed services, political belief, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy or other health status, social or economic status, non-violent criminal history, citizenship, immigration status, marital status, or language spoken." A combination of federal, state, and local support funds these services. The organization is also funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"They do work with domestic violence survivors in ways that you would probably expect, like emergency housing, counseling, things like that," Davis explains. "But they also have a more comprehensive approach to how they serve the citizens. They have financial literacy classes and childcare services. I really like that they split up their services into three different categories: they save lives, they build lives, and they change lives. All of the different services that fall within those categories, they provide that for the community."

Davis said that the idea to support the regional domestic crisis center was hatched by singer-songwriter, guitarist, and Family Bags frontman Brian Rader. "I think we were playing a show sometime late last year, and Brian was like, 'I want to get a bunch of great musicians together, and I want to raise money for a good cause.' He picked out Merryman House." Family Bags includes Rader on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Melanie A. Davis on bass and background vocals, Fate McAfee on guitar and lap steel, Ian Moore on keys, and Danny Brown on drums and background vocals.

"Brian Rader is of Leonard the Band fame," Davis says. "In Leonard the Band, all of the members were evolving and growing in their own personal ways. So, they've hung it up for now. Brian is this fantastic, prolific songwriter, and he was looking for another project. Around New Year's 2023, Brian asked me and my partner, Fate McAfee, 'Do you want to come in the studio with me?'" Davis said that the first studio sessions were more of jam sessions that acquainted the players with one another. Eventually, those jam sessions turned into fleshed-out arrangements for Rader's songs, and the band has performed regularly together ever since. "It's a lot of fun," she adds.

Charmers is a recently formed band consisting of an eclectic arrangement of artists, including frontman Devin Metzger, who has also led his doom folk solo project, Latter Day Bard. Charmers also includes Bobby Dowell and Jarren Simmons of the former Paducah rock band Fairseas, and Colby Kennedy and Caleb Bryant, formerly of the Eagles of Unemployment. The band recently played their debut live show in Clarksville, Tennessee, but the Merryman House benefit show will be their local Paducah debut.

Daywaster is a popular punk rock band from Paducah consisting of members from another local band, Yoky. "They play in Paducah, but it can be pretty sporadic, so when you get the chance to see them live, you really ought to take it," Davis says. "We're very excited that they were willing to hop on the bill."

Paducah Beer Werks hosts these three rock bands for a Merryman House benefit concert on Saturday, April 20. Doors open at 8 pm, and the music begins at 9 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door or can be purchased online via PBW's Eventbrite link. Half of all ticket proceeds will go directly to the Merryman House.

For more information on Paducah Beer Werks and this and other upcoming shows, visit its Facebook page. For more information on the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center, visit its website.

Hurt is a Livingston County native and has been a political consultant for a little over a decade. He currently hosts a local talk show “Daniel Hurt Presents”, produced by Paducah2, which features live musical performances, academic discussion, and community spotlights.
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