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The Middle Men

Matt Brewington Matthew Hendricks John Whitaker

Rock ’n’ roll. It’s a mythical mantra, a call to arms, an escape, an entrance, a great way to spend a Friday night. And the Middle Men love it.

Simultaneously classic and contemporary, this Louisville band is creating some of the finest independent rock ’n’ roll available. Building songs the old-fashioned way, complete with strong lyrics, crafty hooks, and an undeniable energy, these four young musicians are championing an art seemingly forgotten: music that is interesting and clever but never needlessly complicated, music that is accessible but never boring. The Middle Men sound is “an increasingly rare brand of rock ’n’ roll—one that emits a clear-eyed defiance that could only come from the realization that the real world can both suck hard and be beautiful at the same time.” (Ace Weekly, Lexington)

At 25 years of age, vocalist and guitar player John Whitaker (above right) has been writing and performing original songs for more than ten years. After a decade as a solo performer, this “folk rock prodigy” (Louisville Eccentric Observer) decided to drop the folk and focus on the rock. Enter the ensemble: The Middle Men also include Matthew Hendricks, a high-energy guitarist with a jazzy past (center); Jason Lawrence, a student of the drums, from Blakey to Ringo; and Matt Brewington, a bassist born in the pocket (left).

Released on Debauchery Records in August 2003, the Middle Men’s debut album, Three Short Acts, is a mission statement. One moment whispering a plea for understanding, the next beating you sonically to get the point across, the album showcases an unwavering commitment to exploring different avenues of arrangement—but it’s always obvious who you’re listening to.

Program 604

A gospel music competition, a preview of the 2003/04 Broadway in Louisville series, and music by the Middle Men. (#604)

Program 620

Favorite segments from previous episodes, including features on Franklin County photographer and weaver Dobree Adams and the Lexington Public Library ceiling clock, plus musical performances by the Morehead State University Percussion Ensemble, Tess Arkels, and the Middle Men. (#620)


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