Now before you go calling me crazy, hear me out. As I type this article, there are already several artists or bands that are currently making an impact in the music industry. For instance, Eastern Kentuckians Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson have country back on track to being a listenable art form again. Louisville’s Bryson Tiller created an entire music genre. Bowling Green’s Cage The Elephant are chart-toppers in the Alternative world and let’s not forget that they also won a Grammy. Edmonton, KY’s Black Stone Cherry continue to carry the classic rock and roll torch. You can also add Louisville’s My Morning Jacket as a festival staple and headliner. Kentucky is a fertile music bed that is about to produce even more artists. So here’s a list of artists on the brink, that we feel you outta get to know sooner, rather than later.
Take Lawrence County’s Tyler Childers for example. This young man has honed his craft in and around every coffee shop, pizza joint, wedding, honky-tonk, hole-in-the-wall bar, county fair and country festival that would have him. His knack for spinning a yarn has not gone unnoticed. He is about to unleash his new album on the world on August 4th. The album, “Purgatory”, is co-produced by Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson. This is a young man that is poised to carve out his own niche in the Americana scene. You will have a few chances to catch Tyler in Kentucky before he heads out in support of the Drive-By Truckers. Check out his tour dates here.
Great friends and often times co-writers to Tyler Childers, a bluegrass band that is certainly making a name for themselves, Lexington’s own The Wooks. The Wooks have been playing all across the US for some time now in support of their debut album and recently placed fourth in the competition at the world-famous Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Denver, Colorado. The Wooks play two sets at ROMP in Owensboro this weekend. You can also catch them for free at Lakeside Live in Lexington on July 22nd.
Sundy Best is easily the most established act on our list. With radio play, multiple tours and years of honing their craft as a duo, these fellow Eastern Kentuckians have the sound, the look, the songs and the drive to have an exceptionally long and successful career. They’re so popular in Central Kentucky that they are in the middle of a weekly residency called Summer of Sundy at Lexington’s hot spot,The Burl. Every Sunday through July 30th, you can catch Sundy Best and friends playing new tunes, old tunes and familiar favorites.
Keeping with the country vibe, a young man from Campton has recently caught the attention of music manager, Scott Frazier, as well as the suits at a label in Nashville. His name is Tyler Booth. His band are the Asphalt Outlaws. His voice is as deep as the Kentucky River and it is as smooth as our bourbon. He is often compared to Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Jamey Johnson. I say, once you hear his voice, you’ll understand why. You can catch him at Austin City Saloon in Lexington on August 5th with Travis Harris and the West Coast Turnarounds.
Americana, Bluegrass and Country aren’t the only genres Kentucky has in spades. Louisville’s White Reaper has been on tour in support of their humbly titled album, ‘World’s Greatest American Band.’ That tour rolls on all the way through October, highlighted by stops at festivals like Bunbury, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Cal Jam and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Their sound is familiar, yet new and unique. Their track, “Judy French”, conjures up 70’s stadium rockers Cheap Trick, but vocals are a mix of grunge and pop-punk. It’s truly a unique sound that has been hailed by critics. Check it out for yourself below:
The next band is one that may not take off as quickly as the artists listed above. That is not a slight at all, it’s a fact due to their age. See the 18 and 19-year olds that make up Johnny Conqueroo just graduated high school, so they will continue to grow in and around Lexington until they either get their degrees or someone makes them an offer they can’t refuse. Their sound is difficult to pin down. It’s rooted deeply in the blues. Influenced by artists Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Robert Johnson. Refined by Jimi Hendrix, Jack White and Johnny Cash. Polished by artists like Cage The Elephant and Reignwolf, Johnny Conqueroo is just Johnny Conqueroo and that is what will make them a household name someday.
Staying with the rock and rollers. Another Bowling Green product is poised for a breakout. The band is Otis and their style is as pure blues rock as you’ll find anywhere in music. If bands or artists like the Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Warren Haynes, Joe Bonamassa or Marcus King tickle your fancy…you will definitely have just found yourself a new favorite band in Otis.
There is also a young man by the name of Cameron Jayne that you’re gonna want to remember. He is polishing up his pop vocals with a heavyweight in the music industry. All I can say about him is stay tuned. You’re gonna enjoy what’s in-store.