Nashville, Tennessee is considered the home of Country Music. So when I was approached by Daniel Collins (Whiskey Soldier) to help develop a Kentucky Takeover that would showcase Kentucky Musicians during the SEC Tournament, it was a no-brainer. I’m in. Let’s make a new tradition and shoehorn Kentucky into Nashville!
After several phone calls and many emails, a date was set and the wheels began spinning quickly. Which is a positive sign for sure. The only drawback to scheduling during the SEC Tournament, is you don’t know seeding and game times. Turns out that Kentucky played at 6pm, when the Kentucky Takeover was to begin.
That slowed us down a bit at first, but it certainly didn’t rain on our parade. Once the Cats had a sizable lead over Bama, Marathon Music Works really began to fill up and the room came to life as the Kentucky spirits flowed into the beautiful massive concert hall.
The Kentucky Takeover is meant to be a showcase of some of the amazing talent that our Commonwealth has to offer. The show was developed with several Kentucky media outlets and even the Master Musicians Festival, which is held in Somerset, Kentucky every July.
First up was James Sayne & The Shoe Shine Boys. These folks are relatively new on the scene, so I was eager to hear what they had to offer. The best description that I can come up with is if Chris Isaak embodied the spirit of Hank Williams, Sr., it would sound a helluva lot like James Sayne. As the ladies say, “He’s a cool, tall glass of water.”
One of our favorite artists happens to be Mr. Jason Sinkhorn. Jason released his debut album, ‘Junction City, Kentucky’, in 2018. Around here, we like to refer to Jason as the Kentucky Troubadour. His style and class are spot-on, but the talent he possesses as a songwriter is what we love most about him.
I wanna share a little insight with you. Here in Kentucky, we have a musical family. There’s no scene. There’s genuine people lifting each other. The realization that our success is also theirs has permeated this family. It’s a beautiful thing.
I’ll use Jason as an example of what I mean. Jason was chosen to play the Kentucky Takeover at Marathon Music Works in Nashville. Coby Langham played bass for Jason at this show. Jason plays bass in Coby’s band. So what happens? Jason let’s Coby play one of his songs during his set. If that ain’t the perfect example of the music family in Kentucky right now, I don’t what is.
Oh, it also tickled me to death when they broke into “Blue Moon of Kentucky!”
Marlana Vanhoose is such an inspiring young lady. Her voice is so sweet, so soulful, so powerful and just full of love. This little lady sat down with her keyboard and sang her heart out. There is a reason this young lady has sang the National Anthem at tons of major sporting events. That reason is simple, she deserves it. Marlana performed several songs off her debut album and she even took on a giant vocalist as she performed the Phil Collins classic, “You’ll Be In My Heart.” If your heart is warmed by seeing a wonderful person doing what they love, look no further than Miss Marlana Vanhoose. Kentucky loves you, Marlana!!
I came into this event only hearing one song from Timmy Dunn and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. So I’ll tell you exactly how I feel about this young man after two songs. Timmy Dunn is polished vocally, he has the style, he has the songs, he has the stage presence and he has the drive to be a very successful artist. Nashville would be very wise to pay attention to this young man. I know I will be.
When Dan Collins asked me to pick an artist that represents Capture Kentucky and what’s happening in the Kentucky music scene, I knew that I wanted to use this opportunity to showcase an artist that wouldn’t usually be featured on a show like this in Nashville.
So Senora May was our pick to play the Kentucky Takeover. If you’re unaware, Kentucky is overflowing with talent. While there are more radio centered artists like Timmy Dunn, Tyler Booth and Everette, especially on this show, I felt the show needed an artist that represents the groundswell of what most folks label as Americana. To me, it’s just great music, but we’ll not sweat the details.
Senora May is an artist, in every sense of the word. She took to the stage alone to begin her set. After a few songs, she began introducing a few guests and eventually the band.
This was the third time that I’ve witnessed Senora perform. The first time I saw her was last September at Kickin It On The Creek. She was strong, confident and comfortable on that stage, but this time was different. There was an ease about her performance. She has really, really grown as an artist in the last six months.
Now I’ll be honest, I could write a book on her performance, but our mutual friend in Angela Oldfield said it best in a Facebook comment. “She is the perfect Kentucky ambassador! So fierce, so elegantly wild and wonderful!” What she said!!
Oh and Senora performed three of my favorites in “Family Tree”, Milk & Honey” and her newest song in “Elusive.”
I mentioned Everette briefly above. These young men hail from Bullitt County and have really honed their sound to what Nashville really enjoys. There were a few technical difficulties that frustrated vocalist Brent Rupard, which is totally understandable. So me being the people watcher that I am, I stepped back to see how the young man recovered. These moments are where you see the real side of a performer. Thankfully, within one song, it was all forgotten and from that point on, the set was very, very energetic.
Now living in Nashville, Everette is part of Broken Bow Records. These fellas have the hooks and the support to become household names in time. These guys are just fun, even when the subject matter may not be. Tracks like “Slow Roll” and “Relapse” will be staples of these fellas sets for a long, long time.
Taking the stage next was Jericho Woods. First though, I want to speak a bit about the folks that make up Jericho Woods. These folks are the best examples of Kentuckians that you will find. I would go to the ends of the earth for these folks. Just so happens that they’re all incredibly talented to boot.
The melodies that Josh Mitcham and his cousin Paul Priest create together are as smooth as Maker’s Mark, but they’re as fun as a bottle of Fireball on the beach. Listen, just watch the video below. You’ll see Jericho Woods turn into Lay’s potato chips, I’ll bet ya can’t consume just one!
Next up was the young man that I’ve known since he was probably ten years old. Tyler Booth is from Wolfe County in Kentucky. He grew up watching his Uncle rock out in Stitch Rivet, while his Dad managed the band.
He’s been around music his entire life. So it’s no surprise to many that this young man has Nashville’s Music Row buzzing. His performance included several of my personal favorites like “If We Make It To Mexico” and “Hank Crankin People”, but it was the three new songs that had my attention. “Back On My Boots”, “In My Blood” (Which was my favorite) and “My Kinda Party” were glimpses into the work Tyler has put in. This young man will go as far as he wants with that voice. Mark it down.
For a bit more of an in-depth look at my history with Tyler and his family, check out a previous article here.
Finishing up the night was Dustin Collins. Dustin is now living in Nashville as well. He and I have had some good conversations of late and I think this young man will have a breakout year in 2019.
The biggest takeaway that I saw from Dustin’s set is that he is a very comfortable performer on the stage. He knows his job is to entertain and he leaves every ounce of himself on that stage. He surprised me by singing his biggest song, “Cold Dead Hands” early in his set, but when he broke into Sundy Best’s classic “Home”, I couldn’t help but grin like the Cheshire Cat.
Listen, I’m proud of every single person that touched this event. From top to bottom and every side, this event was top-notch. For an event in it’s inaugural year, this show has nowhere to go but up. Let’s see where artists like Everette, Tyler Booth and Senora May are in a year. My money is that people will be kicking themselves for missing this lineup.
Dan Collins is a world class guy and I’m incredibly proud of the job he did with this show. I’d also like to thank him here for his service to our country.
Have I lied to ya yet? No? Okay, well take my word, this show will become a tradition and the talent we can funnel to Nashville is truly a winning situation for all involved. So start planning for next year, because you can bet your bottom dollar that Dan Collins and I have already started.
Our Cats have a little extra rest before the tournament, so come on out to Cosmic Charlie’s today for our Creedence Clearwater Revival show today!