an evening for paul k

Few Kentucky artists conjure music more socially stirring, darkly poetic or, when the mood is called for, jaggedly electric than Paul K. And few have been as prolific over the past two decades, whether it was through the indie cassettes and vinyl slices that seemed to pop up every few months during the ‘80s to more detailed and, dare we say it, refined works like 1997’s Love is a Gas album.

I used to run into the artist known offstage as Paul Kopaz on rare occasions. We would chat briefly at a concert (one he was in attendance for, not performing at). There was also a short, appreciative message years ago that came my way from him after I wrote a short commentary following the death of Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt.

In recent years, with Kopaz spending less and less time in Lexington, I kept up with him through his writing. Aside from being a wicked songsmith, he was an immensely literate film and music critic, whose work regularly was featured in LEO Weekly, Louisville’s alternative newspaper.

Kopaz has faced some health issues of late. In typical Paul K fashion, no one seems to know the details. The only official word he gave regarding them was online. On his website, Kopaz mentions “a somewhat life-threatening, month-long hospital stay. Rumors of death, however, are premature.”

Regardless of the diagnosis, a month’s worth of hospital bills when you possess the type of insurance policy adopted by most working musicians – meaning none – is serious enough. So to offset the expenses, some of Lexington finest and most appreciative musicians – and even an out of town guest – are pulling together for a benefit tonight at Cosmic Charlie’s, 388 Woodland Ave., in Paul K’s behalf. Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is $10.

The Tall Boys, The Fazed Cookies, Tula, Andy Mason, Slo-Fi, The Yonders, Gnarly Love, Ancient Warfare and Neva Geoffrey will be on hand. Very likely late additions will be added to the bill. One of them is already confirmed: the acclaimed New England-turned-Nashville songwriter David Olney.

Kopaz will be on hand, as well, offering a reading and possibly a song. It should prove a great night of celebration and support for an undeniably vital Kentucky music hero.

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