I approached the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg back in 2017. They had no idea who I was and on a personal level, I had no idea who they were. Over time, I have worked closely with Joe Campbell. Joe is the Executive Director at the Mountain Arts Center, or the MAC, as it’s affectionately referred to. Joe and I bounced ideas off of each other, helping each other move forward. I asked if he’d like to partner up to create opportunities for Kentucky artists. He said yes and we began to discuss different ways to accomplish that goal.
I’ve been working on and thinking about this article for quite some time. I sat out to write an article that highlighted all the great musicians that are an alumnus of the Kentucky Opry, but the further I dug into that side of things, I decided that this article needed to be broader to convey what I was discovering. So, I want to take a step back and focus on what the Mountain Arts Center means to the folks in Eastern Kentucky. (more…)
The world is seeing a musical shift, a revolution, a renaissance, a renewal and a revival and Kentucky artists are leading the charge. Artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers command music lovers attention. The latest sensation that is destined to follow their lead is Ian Noe.
While nothing is ever really a sure thing in music, it’s safe to put some bets on Ian Noe and his music. Ian’s music will never be heard on terrestrial radio, it’s too authentic. His music will never be on an Avenger’s soundtrack, it’s too real and his music may never top the mainstream Billboard charts, but dropping in at number 47 on the Emerging Artists Chart, poised to make a decent Top 200 debut next week, is not an easy task. With that momentum and time on his side, Ian could (and hopefully he does) prove me wrong. I’d likely never be any happier about being wrong.
Furthermore, what is evident is that Noe’s music has struck a chord with fans of real music. If the internet has done one thing right, it’s given the power to choose the music they want back to the fans, not what has been force fed through MTV or terrestrial radio.
Noe’s authenticity and relatability are precisely why his music will last well beyond the careers of the skinny jean wearing, pop stars disguised as “Country.”
A lot of what makes Ian Noe and his music unique, is the environment that he grew up in. As many Eastern Kentuckians do, Ian moved away to Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville. He tried starting a band, but was drawn back home with the promise of a decent job. Jobs are scarce in Beattyville and cities have a way of humbling a fella that isn’t used to the hustle and bustle of city life.
Beattyville is located in Lee County. I’m a lifelong Kentuckian and I spent some time in neighboring Breathitt County growing up. Yet, I’ve only been to Beattyville once. That was to visit my Grandmother’s sister. If you’ve ever been to Beattyville, I’d venture to say that your reasoning was similar. The area is somewhat of a forgotten corner of Appalachia and is often cited as one of the poorest counties in the United States. (more…)
*Photo provided by an anonymous Facebook rule-breaking renegade
Jason Isbell brought his acoustic show to the Mountain Arts Center (MAC) for a nearly sold-out performance. Just over 1,000 tickets were gobbled up almost immediately and deservedly so. There were a few seats that opened up last minute, otherwise it would have certainly been a sell out.
I do want to say one thing about the MAC. I know I sound like a broken record, but the MAC is an absolute Kentucky treasure. I have now seen Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers and Jason Isbell in that room. If you’re overlooking the MAC, you need to remedy that because those folks and the venue itself are top-notch.
Mr. Isbell is often recognized as one the greatest songwriters around and in what has became a winter tradition, Jason Isbell ends the year with
I debated on putting this photo recap together, but oh what a year it was! We had a ton of fun and there were waaaaaay more photos that I wanted to include, but I tried to just do some highlights and favorites for everyone. My goodness, Kentucky is absolutely loaded with talent and we had an almost overwhelming amount of support in 2018. We truly can’t thank you enough and we promise to work even harder in 2019 to not only cover your favorite artists, but to create events and to shine a little light on the wonderful talent in Kentucky.
Thanks for everything and we’ll see you at the show!! (more…)
I have written several articles about when artists return home to Kentucky, but in my lifetime, none will likely be bigger than Chris Stapleton playing Rupp Arena. As a fellow Eastern Kentuckian, Rupp Arena to us, is like the Ryman. It’s our Mother Church. It’s an arena named after Coach Adolph Rupp and is the home of our beloved Kentucky Wildcats in downtown Lexington. For a Kentucky artist, that was born in this city, to rise in popularity and be able to sell-out over 17,000 seats at Rupp Arena is unheard of. Unchartered territory, even.
The Kentucky Headhunters, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Backstreet Boys featured a couple Kentuckians, John Michael Montgomery and Montgomery Gentry had some great success. But Chris Stapleton is the only singular artist to have sold-out Rupp Arena as a headliner to be born in Lexington. At least to my knowledge.
One of the more fascinating things about Kentucky, is the fact that you know the sights or sounds of many fellow Kentuckians, but you often times don’t know their name or what they do. I bet I could name 25 musicians that are in popular acts and you would likely have no idea they were Kentuckians.
By now, you’ve heard the name Chris Stapleton. He is a fellow Kentuckian who has made his mark as a Kentucky, loud and proud. What you may not know, is that his bass player, J.T. Cure, is also a fellow Kentuckian. J.T. grew up in Elkhorn City and spent time as part of the Kentucky Opry at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.
The Kentucky Opry also produced Rebecca Lynn Howard. She has had success as a solo artist and she is currently the bassist in the backing band for Steven Tyler, who you’ll know from Aerosmith fame.
While we’re on the subject, keep your eyes peeled for a young lady that’s currently a part of the Opry. Rachel Messer is from just across the river in West Virginia. She has a wonderful voice that reminds me of Dolly Parton.
J.T., Rebecca Lynn and Rachel are shining examples of how important the Kentucky Opry and the MAC are for all Kentuckians.
If you live in Kentucky, you need to be paying close attention to the musical community. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. There has likely never been a time where Kentucky has possessed more talent than she does right now. Seriously. Allow me to use Magnolia Boulevard as a shining example for ya.
Kentucky shines with artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Black Stone Cherry and Tyler Childers at the top of their games while our legends continue to thrive. Loretta Lynn, Dwight Yoakam, Ricky Skaggs, The Kentucky Headhunters and many more are still performing to large crowds all over the world. While that’s truly wonderful, I want you to focus more on the artists still trying to get to their levels. Remember, every single musician on this planet was once a local musician. (more…)
The Forecastle Festival, led by Chris Stapleton, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse, will offer General Admission, Yacht Club and VIP single day tickets beginning Thursday, February 8 at 10 a.m. ET. The three-day music celebration, embarking on its 16th year at sea, will take place July 13-15, 2018 at the award-winning Waterfront Park, a sweeping green space on the banks of the Ohio River framed by the skyline of downtown Louisville, Ky.
A limited number of single day General Admission tickets will be available starting at only $69.50 plus fees. Single day VIP tickets, as well as the newly-introduced Yacht Club ticket option, will also be available to single day buyers. The full breakdown of the lineup by day can be found below. (more…)
Eastern Kentucky native and current country superstar Chris Stapleton brought his tour to Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati recently. The show was scheduled for earlier this year, but had to be rescheduled due to an injury that Mr. Stapleton had that required surgery.
The original bill included rising star Brent Cobb, Anderson East and of course, Chris Stapleton. Scheduling conflicts forced Brent Cobb off the rescheduled date, which allowed Lucie Silvas to open the show. (more…)
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely ran across an article on the latest Kentucky sensation, Tyler Childers. At the very least, you’ve seen Tyler’s name attached to another of Kentucky’s musical treasures in Sturgill Simpson. Some have even compared Tyler’s songwriting abilities to that of yet another Eastern Kentuckian in Chris Stapleton.
I’m here to set the record straight once and for all. Tyler Childers is neither of those artists. He is simply Tyler Childers. His voice is (more…)