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    Viva La Diva displayed a great selection of feminine musical talent last night at Jim Porter's. The musical showcase was a fundraiser for local non-profit Musician's Emergency Relief Fund (MERF).

    The talent seemed heavy on folk and singer/songwriter style with a couple of bluesy sounding groups thrown in. Talent included Troubadours of Divine Bliss, Alanna Fugate, Uncle Clyde's Hi-Fi, Tristen Roberts, Mamakitty Southwood, Yours Truly, Leigh Ann Yost, Alabama Brown, Dane Waters, and Robbie Bartless.  The show ran from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on all three stages. Tickets were a $7 donation for MERF.  Thanks to Crescent Hill Radio, you can listen to the live broadcast of the event by clicking here. 

    I've seen a lot of the talent before but was blown away by newcomer Tristen Roberts. Her guitar style is amazing, fast, and is reminiscent of flamenco. I was hypnotized by how fast her hands move as she played the guitar and made percussion in each single movement. She incorporates strumming, slapping, tapping, picking and wah-wahs on her acoustic that is in surprisingly good shape for the immense amount of energy she pours into her performance. Her vocals were beautiful as well. I can't believe I couldn't find any kind of promotional page for her online to share aside from a personal Facebook page. This girl should be touring if she isn't already. 

    According to some people involved, the attendance was not as great in the previous two years of the event,  but it seems there wasn't much promotion for this one. Last year,  I heard about the event many times before  the actual date, but this year, I only heard about it once  a few days before the event. I'm not sure what happened to the "buzz" about it this year or the marketing, but the turnout still seemed pretty decent compared to most events I've attended this year. 

    MERF raises funds and works as an advocate for local musicians who face emergencies and need a little financial help to overcome them. They also hope to further the music industry through education and help promote local shows when possible.

    According to their website, 

    MERF was founded in 1981 by a group of musicians responding to the needs of a fellow musician that had experienced a serious car accident. They produced a show and used the proceeds to aid in helping him meet some of his expenses. Between 1981 and 1992, MERF raised in excess of $100,000, which went to help local musicians.

    MERF was reorganized in 2003 and has paid out $12,590 since that time. The payouts have come in the way of replacing stolen amps, repairing guitars to helping pay rent and utilities for musicians in need.

    It goes to show that Louisville's value and support of local creative talent has dwindled to a very small percentage. I hope something can be done about that. There are so many talented people in our city.  In the meantime, thanks, MERF. Keep up the good work. 

    MamaKitty Southwood was one of the musical acts playing in the Melody Bar:

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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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