Little children danced, skipped and twirled in the sun on Judd Plaza Friday for the second Melodies and Masterpieces event of the year in downtown Ashland.
Singer/songwriter Ryan Sprinkle of South Shore started the show with only his vocals and a heavy right hand on an acoustic guitar, performing a set of primarily original songs along with covers including Ryan Adams’ “Sweet Carolina.” Sprinkle, who smiled as he paused to allow a medical helicopter to pass over as he launched into one of his own songs, shrugged after the show as he tried to find a simple definition for his musical style.
“It’s just stuff that I write. I guess, because it is acoustic, it is kind of just ... folky,” Sprinkle said, later adding he is now compiling a collection of songs he has written for an untitled CD to be released soon.
Acting as substitute host for the day on behalf of the Arts Council of Northeastern Kentucky, Shannon Spears took the mic between musical acts to remind the small crowd gathered for the lunchtime show that the next two Melodies and Masterpieces performances will also serve as collection points for nonperishable goods donated to River Cities Harvest.
Bringing the “masterpieces” aspect of the four-week concert and art series back into play, a collection of artisans from the nearby Pendleton Arts Center shared space at a picnic table in the shade of a tree, using charcoal, pencil and watercolor to produce images of autumn, as well as partial portraits of the musicians before them.
Shelby Lore of Carter City delivered a split set of blues, southern-infused rock and country boogie to round out the second Melodies and Masterpieces in the four-part series. Lore offered his audience, which included many children from Ashland Child Development, a pair of his original songs, “Livin’ Proof,” and “Everything She Ain’t,” along with more familiar tunes by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Church and the Allman Brothers.
Acknowledging the youngsters in the crowd, Lore soon found himself introducing three-year-old Landen Parker, who led the audience in a recitation of the pledge of allegiance. Jaydon Mayhan, 9, was in line waiting to give the downtown crowd his rendition of George Jones’ “All About the South,” but seemed overcome with stage fright after he had the mic in hand.
Melodies and Masterpieces will continue Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with performances by traditional string music band Kentucky Memories as well as original compositions by brothers Andrew and Nathan Gillum, performing as Gilgumesh. The series concludes Oct. 26 with Alys Preston and friends opening for Sasha Colette.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2651.