John King ends ‘Louisville is for Lovers’ music compilation | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal

John King ends ‘Louisville is for Lovers’ music compilation

A communal love kept songs playing for 10 years

By Jeffrey Lee Puckettjpuckett@courier-journal.com • February 7, 2010

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John King does not take things lightly. He’s a big feeler, this guy, whose emotions come at him in waves that can either buoy or drown him.

So when he decided to end “Louisville is for Lovers,” his annual Valentine’s Day

compilation of love songs recorded by Louisville musicians, it was a choice fraught with heartache and second guesses.

When the 2010 edition came out on Feb. 2, King’s 10-year relationship with the series was over. The only things left are a “Live Lunch” performance Friday, a CD-release show Saturday and a special 10-year anniversary performance by Jim James at the Rathskeller next Sunday.

“I feel like — gosh, it’s a weird thing to say, but I feel like it’s become my personality in a way,” King said. “It’s the main thing that I’m known for and it’s popular. It just kind of seems odd to throw away a perfectly good suit.

“But I guess I feel like I use it as a crutch. I use it to tell myself, ‘Oh, this is going well so I don’t need to push myself in other areas.’”

King, a visual artist and co-founder of the increasingly popular Zombie Attack held each August on Bardstown Road, has devoted much of his adult life to “Louisville is for Lovers.”

The compilation has always been dedicated to love’s ability to build or destroy in equal measures, and has featured many of Louisville’s most-talented musicians.

Contributors have included My Morning Jacket

, Will Oldham as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, VHS or Beta, Elliott, Shipping News, Phantom Family Halo, Jason Loewenstein, Jamie Barnes, Joe Manning, Second Story Man, The Ladybirds, The Fervor — and many more. The series has been a road map to Louisville’s indie music scene and has picked up an international following, especially due to the steady presence of Oldham and MMJ.

Each year’s package is an exclusive, limited-edition design that can feature as many as 30 tracks if you can find an early pressing.

This year’s disc, called “Anniversary,” will offer a staggering 45 tracks if you buy one of the first 200 copies, thanks to a bonus disc and a digital download of rareties.

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As always, the disc was co-produced and largely recorded by Kevin Ratterman, the indispensable man behind the scenes. Ratterman has volunteered a decade’s worth of work on the series, as has nearly everyone involved.

“How lucky are we that on Valentine’s Day every year, we get to look forward to some of our city’s finest giving us exclusive songs written specifically for the theme of love?” Ratterman asked. “I’m just so happy John puts in the hard work every year, and it’s inspiring to see someone really get behind something the way he does.

“It’s really just an honor to be a part and help however I can.”

A communal love for the project is what kept getting “Louisville is for Lovers” rebuilt year after year. But love, as has been mentioned, can also destroy, and that eternal truth is a big reason King is quitting.

“A couple of years ago, I did lose some faith in love, and it kind of seemed real strange to push something that I didn’t have any faith in,” said King, who went through a particularly bad breakup in 2008. When that was in full terror mode, he decided that 10 years was enough.

The “Anniversary” lineup includes My Morning Jacket, Ben Sollee & Cheyenne Marie, The Deloreans, The Fervor, Joe Meredith, Whistle Peak, Saredren Wells and The Gallery Singers, King’s own barely there band.

The first bonus disc will have 13 extra bands, and the digital bonus disc will have 15 live, previously unreleased or alternate tracks.

Some regulars are missing. Oldham was on the road or recording his own records much of last year; Phantom Family Halo’s Dominic Cippola was on the first nine volumes in one band or another but didn’t contribute; Wax Fang was determined to cut a track, but ran out of time.

“There were some people who were a little sad that they weren’t on the last one,” King said.

My Morning Jacket’s James wasn’t about to miss out. MMJ was on volumes one, two, five and six (although the tracks are usually James solo productions). He was the first to deliver a song for “Anniversary.”

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James is performing the highest-profile show of what King is calling “Anniversary Weekend,” appearing with his cousin Bootsie Anne at the Seelbach Hilton on Valentine’s Day (the show is a sellout).

The CD-release show, called “Enchantment Under the Sea,” is Saturday at the Vernon Club. It stars Whistle Peak, The Deloreans, The Mack, Second Story Man, Trophy Wives, Wells and Extra Shine. Several contributors will also perform Friday on WFPK’s “Live Lunch.”

“I think the reason why it lasted as long as it did, and as strong as it did, is that it wasn’t just about the music, it was love,” King said. “I think the next series I come up with probably won’t have the same impact because it’s not dealing with that fundamental thread.”

“Absolutely it makes a great impact,” Ratterman said. “It wouldn’t be in its 10th year if it didn’t. People get so excited about it. It’s almost like a holiday! …

“I think 10 is a great number to go out on, and it’s always better to stop while you’re ahead, but I really will be so sorry to see it go.”

Reporter Jeffrey Lee Puckett can be reached at (502) 582-4160.

Posted via web from The LP Revival Blog

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~ by lprevival on February 8, 2010.

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