Faces of the Fort:  Matt Kelley
Nov07

Faces of the Fort: Matt Kelley

Matt Kelley of One Lucky Guitar continues to turn up in lots of discussions about live music and creativity in Fort Wayne.  Owner of One Lucky Guitar, Matt and his small performance venue The B-side have turned up in two separate posts in our recent featured articles. Tom Boyer’s article about the Bomb Shelter and our recent feature on the Damien Jurado performance led us to Matt’s front door.  So we thought it was time to catch up with an influential member of the creative community in Fort Wayne. What message would you like to send to artists, musicians, and other creative people who may be reluctant to move to Fort Wayne? I say, come on over. I think you can get lost in the sea in some bustling metropolis or arts hotbed, and just try to stand out, or more likely, fit in. In Fort Wayne, there are plenty of opportunities to be a non-conformist—and to be supported for being one! You can very quickly become networked artistically and professionally, and find collaborators who are interested in building things up, doing great work and defying expectations, instead of just tearing things down. If you put in the work and put in the hustle, you can be part of a mo vement that’s going to be in The History Center someday. That’s pretty great.   What is the most exciting or interesting thing happening in Fort Wayne? I think more and more silos are crumbling. It’s a battle every day, of course, but I think you can feel a “stronger together” and  “all boats rise” mindset becoming more and more the norm, and so you see some non-traditional pairings of organizations or entities that are really pretty incredible and powerful. This ranges from arts and culture groups to musicians and performers to business development entities. I love it when we can get beyond the ego (or business model) that demands we get credit at all expense, to the point where one would rather something fail than not get credit for it. That’s thinking with a ’90s, Okay, maybe ’80s, brain. I went on that Regional Exchange: Cincinnati trip and one of the biggest takeaways for me was the way many of their organizations had adopted a “We want credibility, not credit” mindset. It was an eye-opener…like getting a bucket of cold water dumped on you. And it made me smile when I reflected on similar things starting to happen here in Northeast Indiana.   How long have you been hosting shows at the B-side? Tell me a little bit about the process of booking an artist. I used to go for...

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Damien Jurado’s Intensity Captivates the B-side Crowd
Oct23

Damien Jurado’s Intensity Captivates the B-side Crowd

I love seeing musicians at small venues. Nothing is better than seeing a group of rising stars or established veterans playing purely for the love of music. I love that the energy of the crowd is so immediate for the musicians and audience. You can feel the exhilaration of an enthusiastic crowd actually influence the tone and performance of a show. With all that being said, I was unsure of what to expect from a “Living Room Show” in which the actual location of the show was not divulged until after the tickets were purchased. I was relieved to see that the venue was The B-Side at One Lucky Guitar and not some musty basement. The concept of  living room shows is really interesting. A limited number of tickets were sold for a small setting in someone’s private space. The ticket made it clear that while bringing your own beverages was encouraged, it was not a “party.” Imagine inviting yourself over to someone’s house that you have never met. As I sat on a bar stool in the back of the B-Side, drinking bourbon that I brought in a small flask, I found the low-key atmosphere comforting and relaxing. Bob Dylan played in the back ground and the room slowly filled with people as the show time approached. Without introduction, Damien Jurado moved quickly down the steps to the front of the room at The B-side of One Lucky Guitar. After retrieving his guitar from its case, a couple of quick strums and tuning, he launched into a half a dozen songs without so much as a whisper between songs. I was struck immediately by the quality and volume of Jurado’s vocals. Without the aid of an amplifier or microphone, Jurado’s acoustical guitar and earnest vocals filled the brick loft, which was softly lit by paper lanterns. It appeared that Jurado may move through the entire evening without so much as a “hello” to the crowd. The intensity gave his performance a drive and momentum usually reserved for ruckus rock shows. As Jurado let the applause die out he began to speak with an honesty and humbleness you wouldn’t expect from a musician who recently co-wrote a song with Moby and is preparing for the release of his 11th studio album. With around 40 people in a living room setting, The B-Side at One Lucky Guitar was the perfect place to see Jurado. The performance was aided by the fact that the audience was there for the purpose of seeing Damien Jurado and it showed in the respect and attention that was given during his performance. It did not take...

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