As I was traveling the 20 or so miles along Highway 80 between Hindman, KY and the Prestonsburg exit of Highway 23. I was thinking about Sundy Best and all the other country acts I’ve photographed this year, Travis Tritt (twice), Charlie Daniels, Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers (twice) and Elizabeth Cook.
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a rock and roll guy, not much on country music. Back in the day I listened to Hank Jr., some Kenny Rogers and I do consider myself a Garth Brooks fan (but who isn’t?), but after being exposed to so much country music this year I’ve got to admit that I’m slowly coming around. Don’t get me wrong I’m not about to throw out my rock music collection, but my mind is definitely a bit more open than it used to be.
I was excited to be back at the MAC (Photographed Tyler Childers there a few weeks ago). The reason for my excitement, other than the quality music, is the lights! I know, you’re saying the lights? As a photographer I get really excited over quality lighting at a venue, and the MAC, in my opinion, are second to none with their lighting setup.
Putting aside my excitement over the lights, this night at the MAC belonged to Sundy Best and the Animal Alliance of East Kentucky. This show was a benefit concert for the Animal Alliance of East Kentucky, who is based in Paintsville, KY just short drive from the MAC.
AAEKY promotes the importance of spaying/neutering and campaigns for free/low cost spay/neuter opportunities. After a few comments from AAEKY president about the organization and what they do, it was time for some music.
This was a night full of surprises that included a dog (Ransom) wondering amongst the crowd and eventually up on stage, a toddler on stage who had a song sang to her and Nick and Kris traded instruments, at least for the first part of the set. Nick Jamerson and Kristofer Bentley make up Sundy Best, a duo from right here in Prestonsburg, KY. The last time I saw them in concert, Nick was on guitar and Kris kept time on the cajón, but they switched things up for the first few songs.
Nick left the stage while Kris performed a few solo songs; he wasn’t alone on stage, his sidekick Ransom was close by. He sang several songs, but the highlight for me was a song he said he’d just recently wrote about his dog Ransom.
Nick came back for his turn at a few solo songs. Mid-way through his set he began talking about his young niece, who was in the audience with Nick’s mother. He asked his mother to bring his little niece up on stage. He had recently written a song about her and it was great watching him sing it to her and her reaction to being on the stage and her uncle singing to her.
The big MAC crowd had enjoyed everything up to this point, but Sundy Best was about to kick it into another gear! Kris, and yes Ransom, came back to the stage, Kris sat down on his cajón and it was on! They played many of their biggest hits including “Lily”, “Mountain Parkway” and closed the show with my favorite of their songs “I Wanna Go Home”, although “Mountain Parkway” is right up there as a personal favorite.
This was a great night for the MAC and the Animal Alliance of East Kentucky, Sundy Best didn’t disappoint!