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Hickman Native S.G. Goodman to Headline Paducah's Lowertown Arts & Music Festival

Steve Appleford

The Lowertown Arts & Music Festival will be held in Paducah's historic Lowertown Arts District this weekend on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11. This year's lineup includes Americana artist and West Kentucky native S.G. Goodman, whose previous musical incarnations included the Savage Radley, which she formed while studying at Murray State University. Morning Edition host Daniel Hurt speaks to Goodman ahead of her Friday night performance.

Goodman says that while she currently lives in Murray, she will always call Hickman home. She discovered her love for music growing up in the church in the small rural town. "I always tell people that I didn't go to what people think of concerts at an early age," she begins. "I did attend what I would consider a concert three times a week, which was going to church with my family. I would say that, in my youth, singing in church was where I got my education with music, where I started identifying part of a song. Where I started singing myself."

She said that growing up on a farm, radio was always present, and she listened to what her parents liked — Neil Young and Stevie Nicks, mostly — but she was also exposed to music on local radio stations like Patsy Cline, John Prine, and Loretta Lynn. While studying at Murray State University, she formed the band Savage Radley with members Stephen Montgomery and Matt Rowan. "We formed right after my grandmother died in 2010," she explains. "We started playing and practicing together. That's where I cut my teeth."

Goodman has released two albums under her new solo moniker, Old Time Feeling and Teeth Marks. The former was co-produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket fame. The album was released during the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant Goodman's live performance opportunities were hindered drastically. Still, it gained a wide fan base, even capturing the attention of fellow Kentuckian Tyler Childers, who covered her song "Space and Time."

"Tyler reached out to me out of the blue and asked permission to cover 'Space and Time,'" Goodman says. "It wasn't really clear if he was just wanting to play it out, and I was at Willie Nelson's festival and discovered that Tyler had cut the song. So, I went to my van, and we all listened to the track together with my manager and Tyler's manager, and I was sworn to secrecy for about a year. I'm really honored. I don't take it lightly that a songwriter wanted to cut someone else's song. I think he does a really good job with it."

Goodman says she wrote most of her sophomore release during the pandemic. "I named it Teeth Marks because I feel like, with all my records — even from Kudzu with the Savage Radley — there's been a trajectory of setting up where I'm from, how I feel about it, and how I relate to it. I would say Teeth Marks is a little bit more of an internal look on what is left behind by the emotional impact of your experience with a place. So, I named that album Teeth Marks to give an image of the marks that are left behind from the impact of trauma, experience, and I'm proud of it. Hopefully, the message is present in the way I intended."

While this weekend will not be Goodman's first time performing on the Lowertown main stage, she says it's meaningful to come back as a headliner. "It's kind of full circle," she says. "I would say we might go back to the Kudzu record a little bit. I think they're going to experience what we've been doing all over this country for the last three years. And I look forward to seeing everybody at Lowertown."

S.G. Goodman will be performing on the Lowertown Arts & Music Festival's main stage on Friday, May 10, at 7:30 pm. For more information on S.G. Goodman, visit her website.

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