**Article by James Stamper / Photos by Thomas R. Biggs**
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Guitar Town himself, Steve Earle, made his presence known at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, KY! I was ecstatic to see Steve Earle and The Dukes perform so close to home! I want to give a special shoutout to the Mountain Arts Center and the Mayor of Prestonsburg, Les Stapleton, for bringing these amazing shows into the eastern part of Kentucky. This brings me so much joy to know that I don’t have to drive 100 miles to see an incredible show. I’ve heard people around this area say, “There’s nothing to do” or “It’s boring around here”. Open your eyes!! The local music scene is booming, the MAC along with the Appalachian Wireless Arena is bringing in tremendous shows, so if you’re “bored”, get out and see what amazing talent we truly have coming in this area! With that being said, let’s explain the show in detail!
Now, with all the concerts I’ve been to in my life, I’ve seen a lot of openers, but nothing like this opener for Steve Earle. To my surprise, 2 members of The Dukes opened the show with their side project “The Mastersons”. Relatives of “Bat Masterson”? Who knows? But all kidding aside, these guys did a fabulous performance. The stunning duo of Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore showed the Mountain Arts Center what they were all about! What’s even more impressive is they’re husband and wife! In my mind, when two musicians are together romantically, I believe there is more of a special connection shared on stage. I picked up on it quickly when watching these two. They had a love for what they were doing, and they weren’t going to let up! Performing songs such as “King of the Castle”, “Eyes Open Wide”, “The Devil You Know?” among others! King of the Castle had deep meaning behind it. Eleanor told the story of someone she knew who lost a loved one and that person said the one they lost was the “King of the Castle” and that stuck, so they wrote a song about it. Overall, it was a phenomenal performance, and I was excited I got to witness The Mastersons in person! If you haven’t checked them out, I would fix that in a hurry! (more…)
Not all music festivals are created equally, and to prove my point, let’s take a quick look at my experience at Festival of the Red (FOTR) over the weekend. Contributing to Capture Kentucky has helped me discover a lot of local artists that I may not have had an opportunity to see or hear otherwise. I enjoy photography, and I’ll admit I’m a much better photographer than writer, so I’m going to give you an overview of some cool moments, and a couple of discoveries of artists that I hadn’t heard before Festival of the Red ( Friday – Aaron Boyd and Saturday – Cole Chaney).
Just like your favorite fishing spots, music venues often draw you back in on past successes. Once you figure out where the good stuff is at, you visit as often as you can. While this was my first visit to The Bell Theater in Pineville, it was not my first show promoted by Jon Grace. Jon is the tourism director for Bell County, which is where Pineville resides. He produces many shows throughout the year, with highlights being the Laurel Cove Music Festival and the Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival in Middlesboro. To put it quite simply and bluntly, he knows his $hit. In fact, I’d go ahead and make plans for the Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival if I were you. I’m planning on being there if at all possible. You can’t beat the price of $0 and just check out that lineup!
This Ian Noe show was originally scheduled for the Laurel Cove, but the heavy chance of thunderstorms (Which waterlogged Pineville about halfway through the show) forced the show inside the Bell Theater. While I love the Cove, the Bell is one heckuva substitute. Why? The worst seat at the Bell is still closer to the artists than the best seat at the Cove. BUT, the Cove will always win over more hearts with its’ choir of crickets and bullfrogs. That’s an insurmountable obstacle for any venue, in my humble opinion.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I headed towards Sharpsburg, Kentucky. The Barnyard Entertainment Venue is a new outdoor venue there, and on Saturday, they hosted their first official concert. The first show had two Kentuckians, an up-and-coming artist, and a legendary band. That would be George Molton, Tyler Booth, Drew Parker, and Sawyer Brown. I highly doubt there would ever be a more perfect weather scenario than what we had on Saturday. The high was around 80, there was a nice breeze, there were fireworks, there were cold beverages, sno-cones, tacos and bbq. The only thing missing was some hot apple pie. I mean, that’s America at it’s finest.
**Article by James Stamper / Photos by Thomas R. Biggs**
The worst year in 100+ years? That’s 2020 for us. All the world got hit with COVID-19 (known as the “Coronavirus”), which ended in being a pandemic. With the result of COVID-19, so many people lost their jobs, the United States shut down and we all had to stay home, (most of us anyway, excluding essential workers, frontline medical personnel, and whatnot,) it was a horrendous time, especially for the United States of America. But finally, in 2021, it appears some miracles are coming into play as more restaurants are starting to open back up, more and more COVID restrictions are starting to lift, and last, but not least, LIVE MUSIC is starting to slowly come back! If you only knew how thrilled I am so many tours and shows are starting to be booked again, just like they were in 2019. The Band, “Cinderella” once said, “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone”. That could not be truer, ladies and gentlemen. Anyway, let’s get into discussing the show, shall we?
When a band or artist makes a meteoric rise, it can make or break a band. Which is oftentimes compared to a marriage. If things go sour, say on a tour, you can’t just stomp off and clear your head. You’re in it for the long haul. The show must indeed go on.
In that regard, Sundy Best is doing something that’s kinda unprecedented. After becoming one of the hottest acts in all of country music, Nicholas Jamerson and Kris Bentley decided they needed a break. So an indefinite hiatus was announced and that was the perceived end of Sundy Best. Thankfully though, after roughly four years, the stars have realigned for us all and the fellas are back delivering the goods like only they can.
After an unfortunate accident that nearly claimed the life of Kris Bentley’s Dad, the two lifelong friends became close once again and decided that they’re both in a better place and their friendship rekindled their love of creating music together. In a nutshell, that’s how we got here. (more…)
Friday night was fantastic, but Saturday was just as stacked with incredible artists, and judging by the size of the early crowd, everyone knew what they were in for. I can’t tell you how incredibly happy that sentence made me as I typed it. I’ve been fearful that the pandemic would push folks to find something else to do and the music might suffer a drop off in the numbers. ALL of these reservations have been washed away over the past few weeks, and the parade of familiar faces that just kept coming at me on Saturday, was exactly what my heart needed to lift the black clouds of the pandemic. Or as Jeff Cox would say, the BANDemic. I feel ya, Jeff. I feel ya.
I also want to preface this article, as I did in the recap of Friday, that I had thrown my back out a bit the previous weekend, and I thought I was fine after a chiropractor visit, but I tweaked it again on our way to the main stage, so I didn’t get to cover many folks on the Campfire Stage. So this is my apology to them.
We spent Friday night in Corbin, so after a small delay and our short trip to Pineville, Walter DeBarr was the first act we were able to enjoy on Saturday. Walter is a very intriguing artist. He can drop a song written in any style, about any subject, on any stage, but as soon as he opens his mouth, you immediately know who he is. That’s not something you can teach. That’s a God-given talent and often times a distinct voice is what sets weekend warriors apart from a true artist. (more…)
If you’ve never heard of Laurel Cove, I beg of you to make a trip to this hidden gem nestled in the hills of Pineville, Kentucky. It’s truly a Kentucky treasure. Also, if you see a festival in Bell County or a show at the Bell Theater, I don’t care who it is, just buy the ticket and take the ride. Your conductor is Mr. Jon Grace and he will not let you down. I make you that promise, whole-heartedly.
I work the night shift at the real job, so our day started a bit later than I wanted, but hopefully the acts I did catch, I’m able to shine a light on their talent and efforts. And if ya missed em, hopefully I can kindly nudge ya into catching a future show. That’s what we’re all about here.
I also want to preface this article, as well as the recap for Saturday, that I had thrown my back out a bit the previous weekend, and I thought I was fine after a chiropractor visit, but I tweaked it again on our way to the main stage, so I didn’t get to cover many folks on the Campfire Stage. So this is my apology to them. (more…)
Friday nights in Louisville just became a lot hotter! Fourth Street Live! has teamed up with 97.5 WAMZ to feature some of Kentucky’s quickly rising young stars right in the heart of the downtown area. On a very humid night, Wolfe Countian Tyler Booth took the stage to kick off their ongoing concert series. He had in tow, another Kentuckian that has grown on the Austin City Saloon stage alongside him in Josh Bogard.
If you’re new to this site, welcome. If you’re not, then you’ve likely read an article on Tyler Booth. Either way, let’s hit the time machine and experience Friday nights show together. Shall we? (more…)
Fallsburg, Kentucky. A place that I had never set foot in before Saturday. Situated along Highway 23, near Louisa, Fallsburg has taken a major step forward in improving its tourism. As the Fallsburg Summer Stage was finally living up to its’ name by hosting a two-day music festival with some of the best musical talent around, but there was so much more to this little gem. Nestled in a beautiful valley, smack dab in the middle of an RV park, Fallsburg shined like the gem it is. Lots of space for parking and camping, but it was the music that brought on the smiles. There were wine tours and tastings with a shuttle. Several vendors on-site, including the always delicious Hillbilly Hibachi, the Bent Strings Beard Company, and the art of Jimbo Valentine. You could even attend their Haunted House once the music was finished. They gave you a lot of options and if you didn’t have a good time, that’s on you!
I was unable to attend on Friday night, but I was able to make it on Saturday and thankful to be able to bring y’all along with me. Friday was headlined by Cincinnati’s Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle, along with Sean Whiting, and Nolan Taylor. While Saturday featured Cincinnati’s Arlo McKinley, Huntington’s El Dorodo, and Ashland’s Cole Chaney.
Cole Chaney was up first with an acoustic performance. You may have seen my article where I reviewed Chaney’s ‘Mercy’, his debut album. If not, you can read that here. Cole is one of the brightest young stars that Kentucky has to offer. His journey may have just begun, but rest assured it’s gonna be one heckuva ride, and on Saturday, he came to make a statement. Because he knew the enormous amount of talent to follow.