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Louisville's Bungalow Betty Brings 'Bubble Grunge' to Paducah's Lowertown Arts & Music Festival

The Lowertown Arts & Music Festival comes to Paducah's historic Lowertown Arts District on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11. This year's lineup includes Bungalow Betty, an all-female band from Louisville that merges elements of 1960s garage and surf rock with the grunge style made popular in the 1990s by artists like Nirvana and Liz Phair. Morning Edition Daniel Hurt speaks to guitarist and vocalist Vanessa Blades about the band's origin, evolution, and the sound they describe as "bubble grunge." Blades also discusses Bungalow Betty's most recent single and the musicians' artistic inspirations.

The band got the idea for their distinct genre, bubble grunge, from a music review. "This was a new one to me and the other band members as well. We got that from a review and were like, 'That sounds about right.' The way I understand it is that bubble grunge is like traditional grunge, maybe a little bit of that Riot Grrrl, early 90s grunge. We're either screaming or harmonizing."

Blades, who attended St. Mary and Paducah-Tilghman High School, says that her Paducah roots have influenced her musical stylings today. "I grew up doing youth symphony choir, but I played guitar, went to the local hall shows, and messed around a little bit with some music back when I was in high school. We are also a queer-represented band, and I think a lot of the attitude of the 80s and 90s girl rock inspired us."

Bungalow Betty's most recent single, "Little Things," is about the little things that we love — and the things that drive us crazy. Blades said the band intends to play the single at the Lowertown Arts & Music Festival, complete with crowd participation and dance moves. "Sometimes, when it comes to writing lyrics, one of us will bring an idea, and one of the other members maybe brings some more of the poetry."

Their second album, Glitter Trail, takes listeners on a journey of "glitter and magic, as well as some hijinks," Blades explains. Glitter Trail was released just before the COVID-19 pandemic, which hindered their ability to travel and play live. Blades said the band tried to do live performances on Facebook and video streaming platforms to offset their lack of in-person shows, but they're especially excited to play at Lowertown this year.

"We're really very excited to hang out with people. We hope that people aren't shy and that they come and say hi to us. I know at least a few of us are trying to get there on Friday so that we can attend the whole festival," Blades concludes.

Bungalow Betty will perform on the Front Porch Stage, presented by Time on the String, at the Lowertown Arts & Music Festival on Saturday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the band, visit their Facebook page.

For more information on the Lowertown Arts & Music Festival, including a full schedule, food and drink information, and more, visit the LTAMF 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 “River City Presents”, produced by Paducah2, which features live musical performances, academic discussion, and community spotlights.
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