Before we get into this article, I want to take a moment to express my sincere condolences to the family, friends and ZZ Top team over the loss of bassist Dusty Hill. His loss and influence is immeasurable.
**A special thanks to Mike Howard for use of his photo for this article. The photo was also taken at Riverbend for my old website Unsung Melody.
On Sunday evening, I began the process of writing an article that has taken me a lifetime to craft. I was given the opportunity to review and photograph ZZ Top in Cincinnati at the PNC Pavillion, which is a part of the Riverbend Entertainment Complex.
This article will be a bit different, as most of my articles have a tendency to do. See, my earliest musical memories are of ZZ Top. They have been a huge chunk of the soundtrack of my life, and I know I’m not alone in that regard. So let’s get this party started.
Well, I finished off June at Festival Of The Red just up the road in Slade, so it only seems fitting to close out July with another Kentucky music festival right here in downtown Hazard! Let me ask you, how many music festivals have you been to where someone (Tim Parks) was made an honorary Duke Of Hazard? Zero? Yeah, me too. But that’s just one of the many very cool things that happened at this year’s North Fork Music Festival. You really missed out if you didn’t make either day of this one!
Friday evening started with Ben Fugate and I need to apologize to Ben. I missed his set, didn’t make it to the festival area in time to catch him… heard him as I was parking. I did catch Luke Trimble, Waylon Nelson, Dark Moon Hollow and Rye Davis (with a couple of members of Bourbon Branch) closed out the North Fork Festivals Friday night. (more…)
Corbin, Kentucky is the hometown of Sydney Adams. If you aren’t familiar with Sydney, allow me to introduce her to ya. I first became aware of Sydney back in 2019. A friend casually dropped her name and said she’d be releasing an EP soon after. I did a little digging and I immediately found a show to attend. In a tiny little bar in Pineville, my gut confirmed what my ears were screaming about. Sydney Adams is indeed, the real deal. I would even go so far as to say that this young lady has the goods to put Corbin on the map for something other than their famous fried chicken.
For a nice warm Friday night, the Paramount Arts Center was the place to be, and for the number of people that showed up, they knew it was going to be a good time! It was a night full of some good ol’ Southern Rock music! The first band to get on stage was none other than Northeastern Kentucky’s very own Devil’s Creek Special! They opened up for The Georgia Thunderbolts and Black Stone Cherry, but with the amount of energy that they had you would’ve thought they were headlining. And they had a killer cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, and the Paramount was in a full swing sing-a-long with the band!
Wow! If you missed Thursday’s kickoff event for this year’s Levitt Amp Whitesburg series you missed an absolutely stellar good time in Whitesburg, KY! If you weren’t there, you missed the return of live music to the Mountain Heritage Stage and the return of free weekly concerts from the Levitt Amp Concert Series. But don’t worry because for the next 9 Thursday’s there will be free music from national and regional acts. All different styles of music, so there should be something for almost everyone’s tastes.
Have I mentioned the huge crowd? I’ve not? Well shame on me! This is the start of my third year covering the Levitt Amp Whitesburg Series and last night was by far the biggest crowd I’ve seen for one event! I’ve seen some big crowds at the Mountain Heritage stage but they are generally during the annual Mountain Heritage Festival (Goose Creek Symphony comes to mind) so when you combine the year that was 2020 with Laid Back Country Picker and The Kentucky Headhunters that is going to equal a huge enthusiastic crowd! After the terrible, terrible year that was 2020, it seems a lot of people were ready to get outside to celebrate some Kentucky music.
**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.
**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…)