Music To Their Ears

Singer Melonie Cannon mentioned that you wrote a song with her sister, Marla Cannon-Goodman, a few years ago called “How Do I Leave This Place.” Can you talk about writing with her and that song? It’s a very, very dark song. Without having it right in front of me, it’s hard to describe. I’ve written so many songs. I don’t sit around listening to myself a whole lot other than what I’m working on at the moment. I remember going in. It’s really funny that it’s such a dark song because Marla is such a wonderful spirit and upbeat and smiling. We went into a dark, kind of bluegrass place because we both like that stuff; maybe me more than most. Writing that song was very easily. We sat down and started talking. I think it was one of those that kind of fell out. I don’t remember if that was an idea she had going in or created from an idea I had going in. I remember that it is a very dark song. Being from Kentucky, how would you best define the sound and soul of Kentucky music ? Wow, that’s a very interesting question.

To which math professors said, “‘You’re destroying my class!’ Well you’re destroying my rehearsal!” Keast said while laughing. They finally landed in the laundromat. The cute, yet mildly irreverent, title for the former laundromat was the MUSH Room: “Music Used to be Student Housing.” Other working titles were MALE Room: “Music And Laundry Environment” and LAME Room: “Laundry And Music Environment.” “It was our birthing grounds,” Keast said. Despite its one-room schoolhouse feel, it worked, and music was made and students were taught. But when Wagner No l Performing Arts Center two years ago opened to also house the music classes, Keast said, “Heaven. It was heaven.” “Once they moved into Wagner No l, everyone could experience life with each other,” Keast said. Eleven years ago, Keast was asked to build a music department. “It took a decade to get the first big product,” he said. “What you have is a degree … the final piece of the puzzle.” For years, the degree was under a guise of the humanities department, so while the education remains the same, students can graduate from UTPB with the same degree title as other college graduates. “There’s a little more reality to it. What we were doing before it looked like a duck, but it wasn’t quite a duck. Now we’ve got it right. Our duck quacks like a duck and it’s all wonderful,” Keast said.