If you’ve been a fan of our site, you’ve likely seen us mention Healing Appalachia several times. We were able to cover the first event, and you can find our coverage from that event, here.
If you’re unfamiliar with Healing Appalachia, allow me to provide you with an overview of the mission and some reasons that this event is extremely important. Healing Appalachia is (now) a two-day music festival that takes place on the fairgrounds of the West Virginia State Fair in Lewisburg, West Virginia. The event benefits the Hope In The Hills charity. An organization that is dedicated to helping fight the opioid crisis that grips Appalachia.
In short, the day that 26 people overdosed in one day in Huntington, WV, things had to change and that was the spark needed to pursue meaningful help and eventual change. The throes of addiction are very difficult to treat, and there weren’t a lot of organizations that were focused solely on addiction. Especially in the Appalachian region of our Country, which has been one of, if not the hardest hit regions in the entire world. So with music and events as the vehicle, Hope In The Hills and Healing Appalachia were born from a tormented necessity, and that’s why Capture Kentucky made the nearly five-hour drive to shine a little light on the cause that’s near and dear to our hearts.
Have you ever heard a song or artist that you immediately knew where they’re from and what to expect? It’s not all that common, but when it happens, I often find there’s an unusually deep connection with that song or artist moving forward. It’s like they allow you to know who they are immediately. There’s no digging around, trying to figure them out. What you see, or in this case, what you hear, is exactly what you get. It’s those artists that I find incredibly refreshing, and endearing.
The Local Honeys give you that immediate introduction. With their new self-titled release on La Honda Records, these two ladies have embodied the history, the people, the music, the dialect, the kindness, the love, and the beauty of what it means to be a Kentuckian. When you push play, you feel at home, immediately.
**Photo taken at my first Local Honeys show back in 2017**
That feeling was no accident. As the first two women to graduate from Morehead University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Traditional Music Degree, Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs set a course to honor the traditional music that has been created here in Kentucky. As you’ll soon hear, that mission is accomplished, but with a twist. You can call this album a straight-up bluegrass album, but it’s much, much more. These ladies have struck a balance of traditional bluegrass that has an ever-expanding sound. You’ll hear banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, drums, an organ, and even a trumpet. Yes, you read that correctly, a trumpet.
Linda Jean and Montana have been on this trajectory for several years, and since their beginnings as a duo, one very important man has been a constant supporter, Professor Jesse Wells at Morehead University. There’s another reason that name may sound familiar, he’s also a member of The Foodstamps. The backing band of Mr. Tyler Childers. Jesse’s familiarity, knowledge, and unbelievable skill made him the perfect co-producer for this project. As a mentor, he’s almost an honorary Honey. His familiarity with The Honeys music and goals shine through like a mid-day’s Summer sun.
Lexington, KY – June 3, 2022 – Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs, better known as the beloved Kentuckian duo, The Local Honeys, have a gifted way with words—particularly the playful colloquialisms and regional idiosyncrasies from their home in the Bluegrass State—that simultaneously connects the past and present, old and new. They bind stories with warm vernacular that makes those in-the-know feel warm and welcome and those not, well, flat out curious to hear more. On Wednesday, DittyTV premiered The Local Honeys’ newest “Better Than I Deserve” from their upcoming self-titled album (out July 15th via La Honda Records), of which the title itself was an everyday motto of Hobbs’s Papaw; a positive answer for the oft-asked question, “How are you doing?” A moody two-step, “Better Than I Deserve” tells the story of Montana’s grandfather who was an orphan, a U.S. naval pilot, and a war survivor. “‘Better than I deserve’ was his motto in life and carried him through many hardships,” says Hobbs, who built the whole song around his iconic informal greeting.
Fans can pre-order or pre-save The Local Honeys ahead of its July 15th release at this link.
Their first release on La Honda Records (Colter Wall, Riddy Arman, Vincent Neil Emerson), The Local Honeys features ten winsome vignettes of rural Kentucky, conjuring 90’s alternatives sounds with hillbilly Radiohead lilts, soaring above layers of deep grooves and rich tones masterfully curated by longtime mentor Jesse Wells, a GRAMMY-nominated producer, musician (currently a member of Tyler Childers’ band The Food Stamps), and Assistant Director at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State.
With several Kentuckians currently occupying spots on most any music chart you look at, one would have to agree that Kentucky holds an embarrassment of riches within her musical arms. The love and support of her music family finds a new way to impress me on a daily basis.
So I want to re-introduce you to a young man that is about to make his own push and hopefully climbs his way up a few of those charts himself. Grayson Jenkins may or may not be a new name to you, either way you’re gonna find something you’ll like on ‘Turning Tides.’ That’s the brand new album from Mr. Jenkins, which drops everywhere on August 27th. (more…)
Fallsburg, Kentucky. A place that I had never set foot in before Saturday. Situated along Highway 23, near Louisa, Fallsburg has taken a major step forward in improving its tourism. As the Fallsburg Summer Stage was finally living up to its’ name by hosting a two-day music festival with some of the best musical talent around, but there was so much more to this little gem. Nestled in a beautiful valley, smack dab in the middle of an RV park, Fallsburg shined like the gem it is. Lots of space for parking and camping, but it was the music that brought on the smiles. There were wine tours and tastings with a shuttle. Several vendors on-site, including the always delicious Hillbilly Hibachi, the Bent Strings Beard Company, and the art of Jimbo Valentine. You could even attend their Haunted House once the music was finished. They gave you a lot of options and if you didn’t have a good time, that’s on you!
I was unable to attend on Friday night, but I was able to make it on Saturday and thankful to be able to bring y’all along with me. Friday was headlined by Cincinnati’s Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle, along with Sean Whiting, and Nolan Taylor. While Saturday featured Cincinnati’s Arlo McKinley, Huntington’s El Dorodo, and Ashland’s Cole Chaney.
Cole Chaney was up first with an acoustic performance. You may have seen my article where I reviewed Chaney’s ‘Mercy’, his debut album. If not, you can read that here. Cole is one of the brightest young stars that Kentucky has to offer. His journey may have just begun, but rest assured it’s gonna be one heckuva ride, and on Saturday, he came to make a statement. Because he knew the enormous amount of talent to follow.
You might have seen The Local Honeys open for Colter Wall or Tyler Childers. If not and you’re behind, start with the double-side single they released today on La Honda Records. “Way down in the hole where he earns his pay, it’s dark and unforgiving. Digging this coal and digging his grave, he’s dying to make a living.” Talk about direct, “Dying To Make A Living,” along with its double-single counterpart “Octavia Triangle,” pulls no punches in painting a grim, realistic picture of life lived working underground. Sonically, this double-single from The Local Honeys represents two sides of old-time music— one led by phase-shifted electric guitar and the other by clawhammer banjo, both a beautiful complement of the other. Both tracks were released today via La Honda Records (home of Colter Wall, Vincent Neil Emerson) and can be purchased or streamed right here. Hear more about the origin of “Dying To Make A Living” and “Octavia Triangle” from The Local Honeys in this behind the scenes video.
In Their Own Words: “‘Dying to Make A Living’ is a song we first heard a few years ago from Rich & the Po’ Folks at the Seedtime on the Cumberland festival in Letcher Co., Kentucky. They were performing a traditional adaptation of the song, written in 2006, by WV Hill and AJ Mullins of the band Foddershock in Southwest Virginia. The song is a prime example of the continued collaborative nature within this region. Traditional music is an evolving art form, living and breathing in generations as they come and go. This song is an honest and brutal commentary of the working men and women dying to make a living at the expense of their bodies to power the world outside of Appalachia.”
Kentucky music is where it’s at. Even during a pandemic, Kentuckians keep cranking out music that somehow, someway, continues to change the musical landscape. Look no further than the bluegrass release from Sturgill Simpson that debuted at number one on the Billboard Charts, or even the politically enlightened release from Tyler Childers. Chris Stapleton is slowly introducing the world to his next release as well. So there is no shortage of powerful Kentucky voices making the world a better place.
I present to you now, yet another powerful Kentucky voice, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Allow me to make that trio of Southeastern Kentuckians into a quartet for ya by introducing you to Johnson County native, Sean Whiting. Whiting’s voice is as powerful as the diesels he once drove for a living and you’re gonna walk away from this article as a fan. (more…)
Cincinnati, OH – For many Kentuckians, the name Arlo McKinley is immediately recognized as a stellar songwriter that is able to deliver like few others can even imagine. Arlo’s transparency is his secret weapon and his ability to be brutally honest is the reason why so many relate to his stories.
If you aren’t familiar with Arlo or his music, then allow me to introduce you to your new favorite artist. I am not kidding.
When you speak of an artist that has “paid their dues,” Arlo is the perfect embodiment of that sentiment. McKinley is a Cincinnati native that has made his own way. He’s played nearly every imaginable venue from Cincinnati to Huntington to Lexington to Nashville. He’s even been involved in several shows that Capture Kentucky has been a part of.
February 28th, 2020. A date that will be looked back upon as historians continue to tell the tales of both Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers. Time will determine which artist becomes more legendary, but make no mistakes, both will be Kentucky royalty for the foreseeable future.
While both artists have paved their own pathes to success, their names are often synonymous with each other. Is that fair? Only slightly. Sturgill Simpson did help produce both ‘Purgatory’ and ‘Country Squire’, but until this ‘Good Lookin’ Tour’, no one could ever say that these two Kentuckians rode one another’s coattails. (more…)
Okay, be honest, Pikeville Kentucky is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about New Years Eve festivities. That thought belongs to a city square in a metropolis up north that has a population larger than the entire state of Kentucky. A party made famous by Dick Clark and carried on today by Ryan Seacrest and a host of other celebrities, but today on New Years Eve 2019 THE party is in Pikeville Kentucky! Because this New Years Eve here in Pikeville, Tyler Childers has gathered family and friends for the third and final sold-out party at the Appalachian Wireless Arena. He had fellow Kentuckian Darrell Scott start the party then Todd Snider and his band kept it going.
Darrell Scott may not be a household name to the casual music fan but I don’t think this Pikeville crowd were casual music fans! As he walked center stage to the mic the Pikeville crowd started cheering and didn’t stop until he finished his last song. Darrell is a singer/songwriter from London, Kentucky and like I said the casual fan may not recognize his name but you will know some of the songs he has written. Like his second song tonight “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” that has been recorded by several artist including Brad Paisley and Patty Loveless and used several times during the run of the TV series “Justified”. Or maybe “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” recorded by Travis Tritt. That’s just naming a couple, the list of artist that have recorded his songs is long and impressive! Tonight, however, was about Mr. Scott, his guitar and a New Years Eve audience that was eating up everything he gave them! (more…)