Kentucky Music Preview shining light on live music, local artists

Published 6:10 pm Monday, April 8, 2019

Dusty Wesley and Haley Perros have known each other since high school, and something they have in common is a strong love of live music.

“We started off as concert buddies. We’d go to see live shows, anytime something was coming to town,” Perros said.

“I’ve only been to two festivals without her,” Wesley added. He said they began realizing they were only hearing about many live acts after the fact.

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“We were like, ‘Why didn’t we hear about that? We’d have paid to go see that,’” Wesley said.

Photo by Bobbie Curd.

So, they joined forces and began a website and podcast as Kentucky Music Preview. The site offers a complete line-up of what live music is playing regionally, and the podcast offers spotlight interviews with musicians, as well as The Listening Room Series, featuring an artist each month as their co-host, showcasing live shows.

“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was one spot to see or hear about what’s coming up?’” Perros said. “We saw a problem and couldn’t find a solution, (so we) decided to kind of make our own solution.”

Wesley’s day job as a sound technician has been incredibly beneficial to their gig. “He’s very knowledgeable in audio work … the idea of doing something like a podcast came natural,” Perros said.

At first, they started out with fairly rigged equipment — using pantyhose over mics when they didn’t have pop filters, for example.

“As our equipment got better, the formula got better,” Wesley said. They’ve had some mishaps — like the time they spent a day with a well-known music producer, but nothing recorded.

“We learned a lot from that,” Wesley said, still rubbing his forehead over the issue. And then there are the hard interviews they’ve had to find their way around.

“The strange thing I’ve discovered about some musicians — they’re fine bearing their souls on stage, but once you get them one-on-one, they don’t really want to open up,” Wesley said.

The duo now works with a litany of hosts, but all musicians have some kind of Kentucky connection — either they’re from here or they’re performing here. They record one, long session with their guest host then release it in 45-minute segments each week for a month.

They travel to wherever musicians are playing and record in live venues during shows. And they have a producer, whom Wesley works with at his day job, ensuring the quality of the shows is top-notch.

“We record them wherever the guest feels comfortable,” Perros said. The availability of artists is the key component, Wesley said.

“We work with some when they’re releasing something new, let them close it out with a song of their choice after we’ve spent some time talking,” he said, giving artists another way to reach more listeners.

Dusty Wesley, left, and Haley Perros on the job, recording their podcast for Kentucky Music Preview. Photo courtesy of Kentucky Music Preview

The duo has started doing Facebook live events, previewing music festivals and announcing the lineups, aside from interviewing new artists.

“The arts are often neglected in this day and age, and in this state,” Perros said. “Getting to know these people and getting to see their true talent, and realizing that it’s not being seen or heard like it should — it’s almost upsetting.”

Last summer, Wesley took a service call during his day job for West T. Hill Community Theatre. “I looked at the space and Brothers BBQ had just announced it was closing and that was the only place that offered live music at the time,” he said, so he asked the theater’s managing director, Karen Logue about holding a live music night once a month.

“Karen said they’d love it, and we’ve been doing it monthly since,” Wesley said. They try to hold it every second Thursday, but that doesn’t always work due to productions at the theater.

But they post the shows’ information on their website, Instagram and Facebook to keep the public in the know.

Wesley said the theater is perfect, due to its 100-seat capacity. “It’s unlike a typical show at a bar  — there’s no other clatter behind you, so they can do some storytelling if they want,” he said. “It’s important to us to be able to provide a space for musicians to play in Danville — and to be able to provide a space with a truly captive audience, nothing else going on — is just amazing.”

So far, the most Kentucky Music Preview has been able to pull in for its shows is about 32 people.

“It’s very kid-friendly, and we want that,” Wesley said, who is the father of a 3- and a 2-year-old. “We’d love more involvement with the Danville community.”

Thursday, The Listening Room Series brings Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters to the theater. The band released a new record called “All Damn Day,” back in October.

“We took our time making this record and it was done over the course of about nine months in Indianapolis,” Dittmeier said. He said the record is “more polished and produced, and that’s what we’re going for.”

As far as playing at WTH, Dittmeier said he’s happy about it. “We’re always trying to put our songs in venues where we can tell the background and connect with the audience on that level. A lot of these songs are story-based, and it’s good to be able to elaborate on things a little more and give the background details that can’t be included in songs, or how the writing relates to my life. It’s something extra we can offer in a live setting.”

Dittmeier and the band just got back from tour in Texas, and will be doing regional dates before they head to Europe in June.

“Over the last five years, I kept up with about 150 to 200 (tour) dates a year. I start to go nuts when I’m not on the road,” he said.

Kentucky Music Preview also schedules opening acts for the series, focusing on local, young talent — anyone who might be just starting in music.

“We like to provide a platform for people who’ve never performed live … There are a lot of local young musicians around here who may have only been in their high-school talent shows, and they’re incredibly talented. We like giving them that platform,” Wesley said.

Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters will be the featured band this Thursday. Photo courtesy of Kentucky Music Preview

And the duo would also be happy if any other venues out there wanted to reach out to them in order to have them host a show. “We’ve been in contact with the Perryville Jamboree, Harvey’s … This is your backyard, you know? Go see it here,” Perros said.

Wesley said everything they’ve done so far has been supported out of their own pockets, and The Listening Room is the first initiative they’ve taken on that could possibly pay some bills.

“The podcast could handle some sponsorships, if there’s anyone out there interested but the series could help us be self-sustaining,” Wesley said.

At a previous show, one children’s home loaded up its residents and brought them all down, they say. “We love groups like that coming; we’d love to have more,” Wesley said.

As far as where Kentucky Music Preview sees itself in five years, Wesley said, “Hopefully not broke.”

The podcast can be subscribed to wherever listeners stream shows, or visit Check out its Facebook and Instagram pages for additional pictures and information, like a running list of musical events and shows.