Capture Kentucky was created as a creative outlet for my photography. I wanted the opportunity to try my hand at photographing as many different events and attractions as possible. I simply wanted to grow as an artist myself. I knew that I would eventually end up leaning on music, but what I didn’t know, was just how much Capture Kentucky would mean to everyone else.
On Sunday, August 12th, the musical community came out in full force and drove home just how much the work we do here means. This article has been a huge challenge for me because I want to make sure the community knows that the love they showered me with is truly appreciated.
Let me start with Austin Brashear. This young man is a co-owner of Austin City Saloon. He has been a strong supporter of Capture Kentucky since late last year. He saw the value of what I was doing and offered up any help I may need. He stood by his word and in February we hosted a “Rising Stars” series that featured Dillon Carmichael and Tyler Booth. Then, he allowed me to host a free event which was our first networking night.
On that night, the idea for this tribute show was born. I had been sitting on this idea for some time. I knew what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure that I could pull it off. So knowing that the ladies don’t really get as many opportunities as the fellas do, I thought long and hard before settling on a celebration of the Highwaymen and the women who loved them. When I sprang the idea, I saw the excitement in folks eyes and knew we were on the right track.
The first folks to say yes were Sean Whiting, David and Teresa Prince and Jen Tackett. I took the idea to Austin and without hesitation, he immediately said yes. Those gestures won’t ever be forgotten by me. Austin believes in me, therefore I believe in him and Austin City will remain at the top of the list for any events we do.
Next, I want to thank Justin Taylor for bringing his awesome food truck, Roll ‘N’ Smoke, to Austin City. He helped me take care of the artists, fed many folks and made quite a few fans himself. Justin is also a strong supporter of local music. So if you see his truck, stop by and enjoy it!
I want to say a quick thank you to all of the folks at Whizzbang Booking. Then I promise it’s onto the music. Whizzbang is made up of several individuals that are the team behind Tyler Childers, as well as Arlo McKinley and Short & Company. They have been a HUGE part of the success of Capture Kentucky and I sincerely love each and every individual there. So Ian, Michelle, Alexis, Chris, Dani, Keebie, Charles, Arlo, Jeremy and Tyler…Thanks for being amazing and believing in me!
As for the music, I just want to say, first and foremost, it was magical. Was it perfect? Not by a long shot, but that is exactly what made it perfect. The love and respect of music and the spirit of community brought us all together. It was truly more like a family reunion than a concert and an event that I will never forget.
The idea was simple, find a capable band and rotate vocalists all night. No band, no show. I immediately turned to my longtime friend, Ian Goff. Ian is a successful businessman nowadays, but he is also the bass player for none other than George Molton. Ian approached George with the idea and he loved it. George cut his teeth on Willie Nelson songs, so this show was right up his alley and it showed throughout their stellar performance. Almost every single artist took the time to compliment them.
Now Austin City Saloon has launched several careers. Names like John Michael Montgomery, Greg Austin, Montgomery Gentry, of course, George Molton and even Sturgill Simpson has graced the stage. So hosting this event there was truly the icing on the cake for me.
I chose to approach artists that I knew to be good caliber folks to perform. I didn’t go by any social media numbers or song play counts or albums sold. I wanted people that were talented and wanted to be a part of our community. I often say that Kentucky’s greatest asset is her people and that was exactly what I wanted to showcase and surround myself with. I don’t pat myself on the back often, but I hit a game 7 walk-off grand slam.
The room felt different than any other time that I have been there. It was truly a gathering of people who genuinely cared for each other and the music. I say that Capture Kentucky is about chasing Kentucky’s unbridled spirit, but I think we corralled it at Austin City. My heart is still overflowing with love. I said that I would like to do one of these shows per year, but if we did one in two weeks, I’d be ecstatic!
There were some amazing performances and the coolest part about attending a show where Dammit Man (Darren Campbell) and Kisha Justice attend, you can go back and relive them. I have watched every single video they posted at least twice and I will include a couple in this article for you, just in case you missed it.
With so many performers singing only one or two songs, it wouldn’t make sense to write an article about each song, so I’m going to pick a few moments where I felt the performers won over the audience and see where we end up.
The first big moment was our first performer. I met Jen Richardson at our networking night, along with her husband L.G. Jen chose to sing a Loretta Lynn song called “Fist City” and she totally nailed it. The song truly captures the fiesty side of Loretta and Jen did a great job with it!
Jen Tackett invited Mr. Sean Whiting up for a Waylon and Jessi duet called, “I Ain’t The One”. Jen’s huge personality fit the song better than I even imagined and as for Mr. Whiting? His voice is as powerful as the Mississippi River. Think Chris Stapleton during the Jompson Brothers era and you’ll have a pretty good idea of Sean. Definitely a great performance from two of my favorite sunburnt gingers!
Donovan Howard is a singer-songwriter who has been writing for years, but didn’t get serious about performing until the last few years. He actually reached out to me on Facebook about his music and I saw his passion and wanted him to be a part of this show. He certainly did not disappoint either. Ian Goff told me later that Donovan was one of his favorite voices on the night.
I mentioned two young men earlier, Dillon Carmichael and Tyler Booth, they’re both hopefully well on their way to a career in music. Just behind them is Brad Hardin. Brad has been building his own name and style as a regular at Austin City. He delivered a trio of popular songs, “Lonesome, Onery and Mean”, “Ain’t Living Long Like This”, and “Are You Sure Hank Did It This Way”. He brought the ole Waylon growl and won over quite a few folks who hadn’t seen him perform before.
Now we talk about a young lady that was my secret weapon. Bek Smallwood fronts a band with her husband Tim, called Bek and the Starlight Revue. They live in Pikeville, so I knew quite a few folks had not had the chance to see her. So when she came to me looking for a song idea, I made her my ringer. A guilty pleasure song for me has always been “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter. I knew that song would take a huge voice and Bek was the only one that I KNEW in my heart could pull that one off. And pull it off she did. My goodness! Her voice even blew away my wife, who oddly enough, isn’t a big fan of live music. Mission Accomplished.
Dan Conn made the trip from Western Kentucky and performed my second favorite Willie Nelson song, “Time Of The Preacher”. He delivered a great, smooth version and totally hit a homerun.
Now that brings me to my absolute favorite Willie Nelson song, “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground.” Jeremy Short is known more for his skills as a blues guitarist as the frontman for Short & Company, but make no mistake, he made me and many others feel every emotion in an absolutely beautiful song.
My friend Cameron Jayne came all the way from Nashville to perform. He did so because he is a great person and wanted to be a part of this night. I have been a bit of a mentor to Cameron for several years. His voice is way higher than Mr. Johnny Cash, but he tackled “Ring Of Fire”, and finally got the crowd to sing-along. I’m not going to lie, that was a very proud moment for me on a personal level.
Two of my favorite people on this planet had the most fun of anyone on that stage. David and Teresa Prince performed the Johnny and June hit, “Jackson”, as well as Waylon’s “Stop The World (And Let Me Off)”. Ole Laid Back was throwing karate moves and dancing a jig with his Honey and every single person had a smile on their face. It was my favorite performance on the night!
Maggie Noelle is a young lady that I truly believe will be a star someday soon. She is the vocalist for Magnolia Boulevard and was a bit reluctant to do the show at first. The reason is that folks have constantly asked her to sing Janis Joplin songs and she just wants to be Maggie. Once she found out that I was more interested in her putting her own spin on the original Kris Kristofferson version of “Me & Bobby McGee”, she understood what I was up to. She came on the stage and blew the band away. They had more fun than anyone during her performance and when she finally hit the gas on the vocals, I don’t think there was a hair in the room that wasn’t standing straight up. My goodness. We are extremely lucky to have Maggie and Magnolia Boulevard around right now!
No night dedicated to such iconic artists would be complete without the Willie Nelson and Ray Charles classic, “Seven Spanish Angels”. I recruited a rocker Cameron Clark for the part of Ray and George Molton took on Willie. Even bringing out his impressive impersonation of Willie’s vocal style. Folks didn’t know what to expect, but they certainly got their money’s worth out of their performance.
Grayson Jenkins sounded better than ever and Eric Bolander brought out “Just A Good Ole Boys”, but I want to talk a bit about Chelsea Nolan. I had the honor of taking some promo shots for her a month or two ago. I asked her just to be natural and sing a song. She blew me away with an original that will hopefully be released soon, but on this night, Chelsea sang Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man”. Occasionally glancing at her man, she absolutely KILLED IT! If you don’t like Chelsea Nolan as a person, it’s probably not her fault. She is so genuine and that was definitely shining through her performance.
We ended the night with one talented trifecta in Nicholas Jamerson, Arlo McKinley, and George Molton.
Nicholas chose the classic “Silver Stallion” by The Highwaymen. He will be the first to admit that the outlaw country vibe isn’t really his wheelhouse, but in my opinion, he did a great job on a pretty difficult tune. He made his name in Sundy Best, but I’m really eager to see where his solo career takes him. He certainly has our support!
Arlo McKinley, known for his “Lonesome Sound” took on the Kris Kristofferson penned “For The Good Times” and the self-loathing tear-jerker in “I Never Go Around Mirrors”. Delivering as only he can, Arlo’s voice was haunting and the folks in attendance loved it.
I asked George Molton to close out the night for me. I felt it only fitting, given the fact that he had done all the heavy lifting all night. George is such a great guy and his band is top notch, so they brought us to the end of a family reunion that most everyone didn’t want to see end.
The artists that were still around gathered on the stage for a quick group photo and you can bet your bottom dollar that the photo below will forever be a favorite for me.
I hate to sound like an a$$, but if you missed this show, you missed out on an experience like no other. All I can say is next time, you’ll want to come be a part of something magical!