5 favorite things I’ve downloaded from Freegal

Freegal is a music service that gives you five free MP3s every week with your Boone County Public Library card. They have the latest singles from the likes of Khalid, Harry Styles, the Chainsmokers, Adele, Miranda Lambert and Miley Cyrus as well as classic artists like Journey, Michael Jackson, James Taylor and Carly Simon. There are over 13 million songs from 100s of genres, which is a whole lot to get through so I thought I would share five of my favorite things I found while deep diving into the Freegal Library.

  1. Transformers the Movie Soundtrack: If you were a child of the 80’s you watched the original Transformer’s cartoon movie and this soundtrack will take you right back. A great mix of the sythn-pop score and driving (get it driving) 80’s rock, this soundtrack features Lion’s version of the Transformers theme, Weird Al Yankovic and original songs by Stan Bush.  It is impossible not to sing along to The Touch or Dare.


  1. Walk off the Earth: Walk off the Earth became a YouTube sensation with their “5 peeps 1 guitar” cover of Somebody that I Used to Know. Several of their covers and their original album E.V.O. featuring their hit single Red Hands, are available on Freegal. They are brilliant musicians, their covers are inventive and their original songs are pop perfection. 


  1. Company (Original Broadway Cast Recording): With Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, Company is one of the first “concept musicals” –  it don’t have a plot in the tradtional sense, it’s a series of sceens between the main character Robert, the Five couples he’s friends with and 3 of his girlfriends as he deals with impending 35th  The orignal 1970 production won 6 Tony’s including Best Musical, Book, Score, and Lyrics. Dean Jones (who I knew from a string of Disney movies he starred in like The Love Bug and Blackbeard’s Ghost) sings what might be my favorite Broadway songs of all time Being Alive.  It also features standards like: Another Hundred People and The Ladies Who Lunch.
  1. Pentatonix: Pentatonix are an amazing acapella group who won the third season of The Sing-off in 2011 and have since released four EPS, three Christmas albums and their self-titled album of originals. They’ve won three Grammys including the 2017 Best County Duo/ Group Performance for Jolene (ft. Dolly Parton). Everything they have recorded – including the songs they sung in competition on The Sing-off are available on Freegal –I highly recommend the Britney Spears Medley from episode 7, it is so, so good.
  1. The Everly Brothers: Kentucky native Don and Phil Everly were a County/ Rock ‘n Roll duo known for their beautiful harmonies in the 1950’s and 60’s.  They were a prominent musical influence for The Beatles, The Beach Boys and the Bee-Gees.  They are best known for songs like Bye-Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, Bird Dog and my personal favorite, All I Have to Do is Dream.

    (And if you love the Everly Brothers, like I do, you’ll want to attend the free Everly Brothers Tribute show by The Bird Dogs at Boone Woods Park, 6000 Veterans Way in Burlington on Saturday, August 12 at 7 p.m.!)

Hopefully, this list will encourage you to give Freegal a try, there really is something for everyone, no matter your musical taste. To get started, go to www.bcpl.org/digital and scroll down to Freegal music, or go to your play store and download the free app.


Katie Widener is the New Digital Services Librarian for BCPL. She’s a Boone County native, went to U of L for undergrad, and received her Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from UK.  She’s been with BCPL for 6 years, previously as a Reference Librarian and the resident yarn and comic book enthusiast.

5 things that might happen when you plan your own photography trips

  1. You photograph the same places everyone else does! Three years ago, I went to Europe with my aunt and niece. I couldn’t wait to photograph all those beautiful, iconic places that I had heard about! I was sure I would come back from the trip with lots of award-winning photographs! And I did come back with lots of pictures. Most of them, however, had the same major flaw – they were filled with pictures of strangers. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who wanted to photograph the Eiffel Tower and I discovered that it is impossible, as a tourist, to take a picture of Notre Dame without hundreds of other tourists in front of it.

    On the ground at the Eiffel Tower

  2. You don’t travel with other photographers. Photographers are always up before dawn so they have the best light. Just picture a beautiful pink sky behind a windmill or over a flower field in the Netherlands. Photographers aren’t interested in photographing in the middle of day, unless of course, it’s a cloudy day. Bright overhead sun causes harsh shadows while clouds diffuse the light. We tend to nap, eat or work on photographs during the middle of the day and then head out again in time for the golden hour, sunset, and even some night time photography. Remember when I said I went to Europe with my aunt and niece? They aren’t morning people and their idea of a landscape photo includes a close up of their faces in the center of it! They took more selfies than I did photographs!
  3. Things don’t turn out the way you imagined. I read the book Misty of Chincoteague as a girl and so as an adult, I’ve always wanted to photograph the wild ponies on Assateague and Chincoteague Islands. I was picturing wild ponies running along the beach, their manes flowing with waves breaking
    and spray thrown up behind them. I shared my vision with a couple of friends and we headed to Maryland to make it happen. Flowing manes and running ponies aren’t quite what we found when we got there. Apparently, the ponies are bloated because they eat the salt water cord grass that grows in the marshes on the island and to compensate for all the salt in the cord grass, they drink twice as much water as a normal horse. They don’t run much because they have to eat almost all day long just to get enough nutrition to sustain themselves.  And the mosquitoes were unbelievable! At one point, we were chased to our car by a mosquito swarm! The locals joke that the Maryland state bird is the mosquito!
  4. You don’t have back up plans for bad weather. And then there was the time my friends and I decided to photograph wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains in the spring. We really should have checked the weather before we headed out. Unbeknownst to us, a hurricane was coming up the coast and that caused strong winds in Tennessee. Have you ever tried to photograph moving flowers in shady wooded areas? Yeah, our flowers weren’t sharp and in focus. There are other things to photograph in the area, but no fun in wind and rain. Plus we ended up in a parade, which brings me to my next point.
  5. You end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Apparently there is a car show every spring in Pigeon Forge and that was the weekend we chose to go to Tennessee. After we gave up trying to photograph wildflowers in the wind, we headed back to our hotel, and that’s when we made a wrong turn. We ended up in the middle of a parade of hot rods! There were lots of muscle cars and one Subaru Outback in the Hot Rod parade that weekend! What could we do except go with the flow? We rolled down our windows, put on plastic smiles and did the royal wave. Three hours later, we finally made it back to our hotel!

So, what’s the answer? What’s the best way to travel and take great photographs without running into some of these issues? This is my personal opinion, mind you, but I have come to the conclusion that if the primary reason you are traveling is to improve your photography and find new things to photograph – a professionally organized photo workshop is the way to go!  When you go on a photo workshop, an expert for the locale you are photographing takes you to the places tourists don’t go, or if there is an iconic place to photograph, he/she knows the best time to photograph it without a crowd or how to arrange a private photo shoot at the location. The photographers on these photography workshops also provide photographic instruction and photo critiques. I have been on three photography workshops now that were organized by Arizona Highways and have always come back from them with new skills and great images.

Photo from my recent Arizona Highways workshop in the Grand Tetons

There are many other reputable groups who provide photography workshops: National Geographic, Meunch, and Aperture Academy to name a few. You can also pick up a current issue of any photography magazine and you will see lots of ads for photo workshops in the back. One thing to note – a photo tour is different than a photo workshop. A photo tour takes you to the best places to photograph something, but a workshop includes photo instruction.

Happy Shooting!


PR Coordinator Becky Kempf has been telling people about the Library for almost 14 years. When she isn’t busy evangelizing about books, reading, and the Library’s concert series, she’s out photographing dogs, birds, rusty old cars and her grandchildren.