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The Soulful Sounds of Derbytown

Thursday, September 9, 6:00-7:00 p.m. – REGISTER HERE

Author Michael L. Jones will discuss the contributions African American entertainers from Louisville have made to the American musical landscape. Jones will share stories across eras and genres. Among the highlights are the story of a Louisville Sunday school band that produced three jazz legends (Helen Humes, Jonah Jones, and Dicky Wells) and how African American street vendors influenced the composition of “Happy Birthday to You”. The talk is a preview of the upcoming book, The Soulful Sounds of Derbytown: A History of Louisville’s African American Musicians and Entertainers, which Jones co-wrote with five other local music experts.

Michael L. Jones is an award-winning journalist, author, and music historian based in Louisville, Kentucky. Jones’ is the author of Second-Hand Stories: 15 Portraits of Louisville, Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee (winner of the Louisville Historical League’s 2015 Samuel Thomas Book Award for best local history). He sits on the boards of the Louisville Historical League and the National Jug Band Jubilee, a nationally-renowned festival that celebrates Louisville’s jug band legacy.

Jones cocurated the “Celebrating the Sounds of Kentucky” music exhibition at the Frazier History Museum in 2019. He started his career working as a staff writer for the Louisville Defender, the Jeffersonville Evening News, LEO newspaper, and Kentuckiana Parent (a Courier-Journal publication). His writing has also appeared in Louisville Magazine, Oxford American Magazine, and the Unte Reader. Jones cofounded and is the editor of Black Scene Millennium magazine,