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Owensboro Native Uses 27-String Guitar for Music Education

k medley 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (10/14/13) - Owensboro natives can soon see one of their own when Keith Medley hits the stage next week to perform at a homecoming concert and fundraiser for the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra.

Medley has been out of Owensboro for 37 years, when he moved to the Nashville area after graduating from Apollo High School.

“It means a lot to come back, connect, and present original music,” Medley said.

He’s a self-proclaimed “non-musician” but Medley is nothing short of musically inclined. Medley composes and performs his original music on his own creation: a one-of-a-kind 27-string guitar.

The “exaggerated” instrument stemmed from a series of concepts Medley came up with beginning around 1978. He and his friends always dreamed about having all the money in the world to customize a perfect hotrod car, and after seeing designs for a one-hundred year old guitar with extra strings, the conversation slowly shifted into love of musical instruments and designing the perfect guitar. In the early 1980s, he began to expand on drawings of a unique instrument, one with a whole new type of sound.

The innovative design of the guitar is meant to hold 650-700 pounds of sound pressure braced by a thin piece of spruce to offset the tension. Medley explained that there was no way to calculate or control the outcome of sound produced by the 27 strings saying at first it was a “roll of the dice”. Medley eventually got a handle on playing the chords and said that he is most proud of the success he’s had with not being musically trained.

“When there’s no approval or permission needed…(and) nobody telling you that you can’t, there’s nothing stopping you,” Medley said.

Medley will perform music he wrote 25-30 years ago that was composed specifically for the rare instrument.

“He’s been very successful with his unique kind of music,” Karen Porter of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, said.

Medley is performing as a fundraiser for OSO’s local music education projects. It will be his first concert in Owensboro, said Porter.

Medley explained that his particular instrument allows for more options for people to “mesmerized and inspired” by music. He hopes that more people will discover or even rediscover their love for music after the concert.

“He’s created his life around music,” Porter said. “It really shows his dedication.”

The concert will be held Oct. 25 at 7:30 at the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $25 and $10 for students. For ordering information, call: 270-684-0661.

Taylor Riley
SurfKY News

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