When I created Capture Kentucky, I had several ideas and paths that I planned on taking. The site was created to showcase anything and everything that we felt made Kentucky cool. We’ve tried our hand at covering different events like NASCAR, Flat Track Motorcycle Racing, World of Outlaws Racing, a Ballet, the Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame, several festivals, MLB and MiLB Baseball, Car Shows, a Motorcycle Club Ride, the WWE, a Fire Station and even Keeneland. We’ve also covered tons of great concerts.
Now, I always knew that music would be a large part of what we do here, but what I didn’t realize was just how well accepted and appreciated our coverage would become. Over the past 14 months, we’ve worked tirelessly to create great content and seek out the best that Kentucky has to offer. What we have found is that Kentucky had a huge gaping hole of non-existent meaningful coverage of all the incredible music being created here.
As our work has begun to spread throughout the musical community in Kentucky, we were more often than not met with, “I love what you’re doing at Capture Kentucky. How can I be a part of it?” All the groundwork began to click. People saw our intentions and realized that as simple as our concept is, no one ever really dedicated themselves to make it happen.
Why? I think I know why. Most folks who spend as many hours as I have to create something as unique as Capture Kentucky is, they want the attention, the notoriety that comes with it. I, on the other hand, have always been a behind the scenes kind of guy, so that means little to nothing to me.
Why do I feel it was important to tell you that? Allow me to explain. The core of Capture Kentucky was always intended to be a community effort. No matter the focus. So once we finally began getting folks asking how they could be a part of it, I directed my focus on how I could actually make that a reality. From the many nights that I spent brainstorming ideas and playing scenarios out in my mind, I felt further away from the answer than when I started.
As I fought through my frustration, I took a few days off and I wrote on a piece of paper where we were and where I wanted us to be. I stripped it all down to what was most important. My answer was so simple that I felt stupid that I had internally fought over it for weeks.
All I needed to do, was get folks under one roof and help foster the facts that we’re all in this together and we can accomplish much more as a true community than we ever can in competition with one another. That is the how and the why of the idea of our Central Kentucky Music Networking Night.
I had planned on this whole “speech” introducing myself because most have no clue of my past experiences, which is entirely by my own choice, but as the night progressed…I saw that my plans weren’t necessary. Every single person there was thrilled and so happy that so many like-minded folks were together, no matter the genre. As a community, I truly felt that in those few hours together, we saw that music truly was everyone’s common thread. It was, and I don’t say this lightly, magical.
The plan was to mingle a bit. Have an open mic for a couple of hours and end the night perhaps writing together. Instead, we mingled for two hours. My wonderful wife brought us some pizzas. We broke bread together. We became a community almost instantly and it was really hard to wrap my head around.
Then, we began the open mic portion. The gentleman that drove all the way from Virginia to be a part of this, Anthony Wayne, stood up there and talked about how he had been watching our work for a while. He explained how he’d been looking for a scene or community to be a part of. How he loved everything we were doing. He spoke of the Seattle scene back when Grunge exploded and compared what we were doing as a similar path. That little nugget was something that wasn’t lost on me.
In fact, that is something that I have discussed with several long-time friends. I’m not saying we are Seattle, but as we’ve discussed, the energy and talent here feels like a slow moving, low rumbling thunderstorm brewing just off in the distance. You don’t know how or what exactly is headed your way, but you can feel the energy. It’s 100% palpable if you’re paying attention.
That’s when it hit me that this whole thing feeds itself. I think that with the skills that I’ve acquired over the years, I can help move us all forward. Taking a light approach, gently nudging things towards our end goal only when necessary. All we needed was a simple unifying entity and after Sunday night, I feel Capture Kentucky can be that.
As the night progressed, several folks came and went. Many folks had an early afternoon show at The Burl, but still came to our event to show support. Folks like Coby Langham. My goodness, I have so much respect for this young man. Coby wrote a song called 5×7 that just ripped my heart out when I heard it. I spoke with him about it a couple of times online and when I saw him walk in, I was selfishly hoping he’d play it. Knowing the back story and the pain he went through, there was no way that I could bring myself to ask him to play it.
Being the individual he is, I didn’t need to ask him. He played it as his first song and essentially said that it was just for me. How do you even respond to such a gesture? I was truly at a loss for words. I don’t know that I had ever felt more appreciated by someone that isn’t a family member in my entire life. I sat there. I soaked it in. I nearly cried. Here, see for yourself.
A HUGE thank you to Damnit Man and Kisha for their help and support. The scene needs a million more just like you!
Was this little idea really as powerful as it had begun to seem? Only time can answer that question, but if the rest of the rest of the night was any indication, we’re truly onto something great.
Folks from many areas and musical backgrounds showed up. In attendance, we had a Professor of music in Kevin Holm-Hudson, a local legendary musician in David Prince, an extremely talented musician and teacher in David McLean, a blues legend in the making in Jeremy Short, and we witnessed one of the most powerful voices you’ll ever see and hear in Sean Whiting.
We even got to see the Lexington debut of Paintsville’s Ariana Doderer. She was gracious enough to allow me to take a few promotional shots for her before the night got started. Ariana is a talented young lady and a graduate or Morehead University. We look forward to watching her blossom!
I was also able to mingle with two very talented folks that I had met online, Jen Tackett and Tyler Smith. Jen is from Georgetown and is one of the funniest folks you’ll ever meet. David McLean allowed her to borrow his guitar as we encouraged her to perform and she certainly did not disappoint. I can’t wait to catch an entire set from Jen, who plays in The Compass Roses.
Tyler, like myself, is from Eastern Kentucky. He drove up to see us from Harlan County. He had reached out to me about his music, as well as his band, the Kudzu Killers. The videos he sent me, just didn’t do him justice. Live is where it’s at. Tyler’s voice has an honesty and earthiness that makes you feel right at home and it was great to finally see him on the stage.
Yet, if I’m completely honest, one unexpected voice stole the entire show. Sitting alone in the corner, I spotted a young lady that seemed to be writing in a journal or perhaps a lyric notebook. I approached her and introduced myself. She was extremely soft-spoken, but she had a light in her eyes that I am somehow able to recognize. As soon as she spoke, I felt like I’d known her forever.
I asked her if she’d like to sing. She told me yes, but she was nervous. I asked if she had or needed a guitar or even a guitar player. She said she thought she’d just get up and sing by herself.
I’ll admit, that to myself, I thought young lady I really hope you’re great. There’s absolutely no way I could get up in front of an entire room full of musicians and belt one out. I was definitely cheering for her.
Then she started singing. Within three notes, most in the room had shut up and were watching intently. Within five notes, folks began coming in from the patio to see who on earth this voice belonged to. By the second verse, the room was essentially silent. The young lady that captivated an entire room of musicians is Eliza Oquaye. That’s a name that I feel, you had better remember. I don’t know a whole lot about this incredible young lady yet, but you can bet that we will do our best to help her connect with the right folks to help her grow as an artist.
I congratulated Eliza after her performance and she seemed just as surprised by our reactions, as we were her voice. Her performance truly felt like something from a movie. Like at that moment we all stopped to take a mental picture of the scene that we may describe to our grandkids some day. The moment that a star was born.
I told Eliza that I had already dubbed Joslyn Hampton as the “Queen of Kentucky”, but with what she did on Sunday, she deserved a title too. I told her that her nickname is now “Show Stopper”, because she truly did just that.
There were so many more great moments that I don’t think I could possibly list them all. Folks like Donnie Bowling, Jen Richardson, Ben Boggs and Jason Sinkhorn were totally awesome, but I need to quit typing. Lol I will touch upon one more section of the open mic though. Jeremy Short did a few songs and then invited Sean Whiting up for a couple together. The talent on that stage was jaw-dropping. There is really nothing left to say. Wow. Maybe. OMG. That may work. I’ll tell you what I heard most though, Holy sh!t. Can’t argue with that either.
I have rambled on forever, so I’m going to stop here. I don’t have a date yet, but you can bet your bottom dollar that this will take place again. I’m hoping for November.
As always, remember to support the artists or lose the art.
Stay tuned, stay true and be you.
Photographer: Alexis Faye