Best of a bad situation: Louisville Accord continues amid disappointment over break-in

An unknown vandal broke into Goldsmith Studios and did roughly $20,000 in damages and loss. | Courtesy of Goldsmith Studios

Friday, Dec. 22, was no normal day for Brian Cronin, owner of Goldsmith Studios and founder of Accord, aka The Louisville Accord, an annual music compilation that connects musicians in a new way and for a good cause.

Early that day, the shipment of 350 CDs arrived at Cronin’s home, culminating the many hours of work that went into the music that will be released Jan. 11 at a special event. Later that evening, however, something else happened — Cronin’s studio was broken into, and a vandal did $20,000 of malicious damage to the musical and recording equipment in the space.

It was all caught on video, and thanks to an alarm system, Cronin watched the attack take place in real time — while stuck, helpless, in a traffic jam.

“It was pretty brutal,” Cronin told Insider. “I just started shaking.”

Brian Cronin at work in his studio. | Courtesy of Accord

He immediately called a neighbor, and then calls from his alarm company and others with access to the system began flooding in. The police were summoned quickly, but the vandal was gone before they arrived.

His face was caught on multiple video angles, meaning he very likely will be caught. The question lingering in Cronin’s mind is, “Why?”

“I don’t know who the guy was,” Cronin said. “I really don’t know anything about him. He’s not a former client or a client. He was full of rage, so he’s mad about something. I don’t know how he’s mad at me, because I don’t know him.

“I hope he’s caught, and I’d like to know what his purpose behind all this is, and what he’s trying to accomplish with it,” he continued. “I don’t know if he’s trying to put me out of business or if he’s trying to hurt me.”

The video has been broadcast on local news channels and is all over social media. And if the perpetrator is angry with Cronin over something, well, it can’t be over Cronin’s contribution to the community.

Accord is a project Cronin founded in 2016, which brings pairs of musicians together in Cronin’s studio — musicians who’ve never written together — and challenges them to write and record a song in four hours.

The resulting songs end up on a compilation, with the proceeds going to benefit AMPED, an after-school program for young people in the West End to get them involved in music, teaching them how to play instruments, compose music, write creatively and understand the art.

For the artists, it’s a challenge that can be easy or difficult, because sometimes the songwriters are literally meeting each other for the first time.

“We put two people in the same room together who haven’t worked together and see what they can come up with, within that time frame,” Cronin said.

Sounds easy, but it isn’t. Sometimes the sessions spill over into more hours. Sometimes musicians take the base recordings and add to them. Whatever the case, the music ends up collected and sold for charity.

The release for the next Accord on Thursday, Jan. 11, will be at Monnik Beer Co. It will include a CD listening party, as well as a 360-degree video compiled from behind-the-scenes footage of the creative co-writing process. There also will be a collaborative performance by local Americana artist Tyler Warden and R&B quartet WOKE.

Admission to the event is $10, which includes a CD; the event begins at 7 p.m. Copies of the CD not sold at the event will be donated to AMPED, which will then consign them in music stores around Louisville to help raise more money for the organization.

Here is a list of the songwriting duos who will appear on the compilation:

  • Chris Rodahaffer / Jeff Guernsey
  • Will “Bonnie Prince Billie” Oldham / Vince Emmett
  • Ben Sollee / James Lindsey
  • Lydia Burell / Dan Hardin
  • Johnny Berry / Antonio “Yons” Gardner
  • Craig Wagner / Amos Hopkins
  • Verity Vice / Otis Junior
  • Natalie Felker / Rachel Stump
  • Chris “Moondawg” Hall / Butch Rice
  • Shannon Lawson / Joey Thieman