The world is seeing a musical shift, a revolution, a renaissance, a renewal and a revival and Kentucky artists are leading the charge. Artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers command music lovers attention. The latest sensation that is destined to follow their lead is Ian Noe.
While nothing is ever really a sure thing in music, it’s safe to put some bets on Ian Noe and his music. Ian’s music will never be heard on terrestrial radio, it’s too authentic. His music will never be on an Avenger’s soundtrack, it’s too real and his music may never top the mainstream Billboard charts, but dropping in at number 47 on the Emerging Artists Chart, poised to make a decent Top 200 debut next week, is not an easy task. With that momentum and time on his side, Ian could (and hopefully he does) prove me wrong. I’d likely never be any happier about being wrong.
Furthermore, what is evident is that Noe’s music has struck a chord with fans of real music. If the internet has done one thing right, it’s given the power to choose the music they want back to the fans, not what has been force fed through MTV or terrestrial radio.
Noe’s authenticity and relatability are precisely why his music will last well beyond the careers of the skinny jean wearing, pop stars disguised as “Country.”
A lot of what makes Ian Noe and his music unique, is the environment that he grew up in. As many Eastern Kentuckians do, Ian moved away to Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville. He tried starting a band, but was drawn back home with the promise of a decent job. Jobs are scarce in Beattyville and cities have a way of humbling a fella that isn’t used to the hustle and bustle of city life.
Beattyville is located in Lee County. I’m a lifelong Kentuckian and I spent some time in neighboring Breathitt County growing up. Yet, I’ve only been to Beattyville once. That was to visit my Grandmother’s sister. If you’ve ever been to Beattyville, I’d venture to say that your reasoning was similar. The area is somewhat of a forgotten corner of Appalachia and is often cited as one of the poorest counties in the United States. (more…)
I have written several articles about when artists return home to Kentucky, but in my lifetime, none will likely be bigger than Chris Stapleton playing Rupp Arena. As a fellow Eastern Kentuckian, Rupp Arena to us, is like the Ryman. It’s our Mother Church. It’s an arena named after Coach Adolph Rupp and is the home of our beloved Kentucky Wildcats in downtown Lexington. For a Kentucky artist, that was born in this city, to rise in popularity and be able to sell-out over 17,000 seats at Rupp Arena is unheard of. Unchartered territory, even.
The Kentucky Headhunters, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Backstreet Boys featured a couple Kentuckians, John Michael Montgomery and Montgomery Gentry had some great success. But Chris Stapleton is the only singular artist to have sold-out Rupp Arena as a headliner to be born in Lexington. At least to my knowledge.