**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?
Here is some history about Tyra Madison. Tyra is originally from Knott County, KY. I attended high school (Knott County Central High School) with Tyra. From as far as I can remember, she always had an interest in singing. One of her biggest inspirations is Carrie Underwood. You definitely can tell from her style and the mountain-high vocal range. The way I personally would describe Tyra is “A Carrie Underwood/Miranda Lambert voice with Lana Del Rey’s body”. Tyra got her start in Floyd County, KY. What’s cool about that is she actually started with the Kentucky Opry Junior Pros, so it was like a family reunion for her to be sharing the stage with them. It was an exciting show to see at The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, KY, and I’m going to be explaining how tremendous it truly was.
Starting out, were the Kentucky Opry Junior Pros. Okay, this act blew my music-loving mind! They came out on stage, and I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were girls of all ages who were doing the vocals. One couldn’t be more than 5 years old, another that couldn’t be more than 9, and 2 more that appeared to be closer to the teenage state. Not to mention, the band were made up of all young gentleman who couldn’t have been older than 16. Something that caught my eye right away, the cool music shirts of the musicians. There was a young gentleman playing a Gibson Les Paul (ABSOLUTELY SMOKING THAT GIBSON) with a Jimi Hendrix shirt, along with the drummer having a Journey shirt. It does my heart good to know that great music such as this, is still touching young hearts.
Never seeing this what I would call a “professional” act, I had no idea what to expect. I was in the front row, front and center. I wanted the best seat in the house for this, and boy did I ever get it. Starting out, this no more than 5-year-old girl came out and sung “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar word for word and hit every single note with such power. My jaw was on the floor so long, I had to pack it all night! Right after her, was the no more than 9-year-old girl I was talking about earlier, that sung Heart’s “Barracuda”, “Magic Man” among others. HOLY CRAP! (I used a different word other than crap in my head at the show, but I won’t speak that!) She was my favorite out of all of them. She studied Heart. She knew the songs word for word, she knew how to reach the notes, when to reach the notes, I could not believe what I was hearing! This young lady has a bright future ahead of her and I truly hope and pray she does something with this God-given talent, because if she doesn’t, she is not going to be doing her true purpose. These other 2 girls were nothing to play with either. Doing Heart’s “Dreams”, “Alone” and a SUPER cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” made me realize how much talent Eastern Kentucky truly has. Eastern Kentucky is a small community, but when someone starts searching for talent around Knott, Floyd, Perry etc… you’ll find more talent than you know what to do with.
To conclude the show, all the band members came out and did a spectacular cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. To top it off, Tyra came out and helped them perform while wearing a Journey shirt herself! I give that performance a 10/10. If you’re ever around Prestonsburg and you hear about the Kentucky Opry Junior Pros playing, please do yourself a favor and go see the future of music! No disappointments within a 3,000-mile range. That is the most truth you’ll ever hear. No doubt.
Tyra Madison made her way on stage and my oh my, how she wowed the crowd! She was grooving the whole show. Dancing, laughing, having the best time in the world. I could tell she was so happy to be home and perform in front of people she knew and loved. She currently resides in Nashville, TN, but I’ll say this. For anyone that has grown up in Eastern Kentucky and decides to move away, the strangest feeling comes over you. You want to come back home. You want to feel that peacefulness and feel that love again. It’s a feeling that is indescribable. Part of me feels that Tyra was homesick and she wanted to come back and experience the home life again.
Tyra had a strong set for the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg! Performing songs such as “Right Girl, Wrong Time”, “Hostage”, “Weekend” among others. What was superb was her band went into a Bill Withers song, while she was changing, and let me tell you, that band from Nashville, TN knows how to jam! It was funky, it was groovy, it was everything that soul is all about. I’d love to hear that band turn lose one good time! I guarantee you 100% they could jam until the cows come home.
After she changed outfits, she sat down to do an acoustic set, paying tribute to the man that started it all for her, her Papaw. The song was called “Papaw” and after listening to her sing this, I could tell the love she had for this man. It was heartbreaking because he is no longer with us, but it was a beautiful song and I thought it was very cool of her to pay tribute to a special person that helped her every step of the way.
Overall, Tyra Madison put on an astounding performance at the Mountain Arts Center! I was ecstatic I got to attend this performance. I loved everything about this show and rate it 10/10. One more thing I want to mention, despite the Covid still being around, she walked out to the lobby, meeting every single fan who wanted to talk to her and take pictures. She did not leave until the last person was finished. It’s the down-to-earth musicians like this that makes me happy to be a music fan.
Go see a live show and support the live music coming back! We need to keep the music alive! Music is a healer. Don’t let it die!