I’ve been blessed to be able to work with Master Musicians Festival. I was given the honor to be their staff photographer this year by Tiffany Finley. Many of you know Tiffany, but for those that don’t, she is the President of Master Musicians Festival. She is also an avid supporter of local music and all things Kentucky.
What makes Master Musicians Festival (MMF) so unique? The Festival is ran by ALL volunteers. That’s right. ALL volunteers. From the local roller derby tending bar, high school football teams setting up and tearing down the stages, marching bands providing golf cart rides to folks like the Don Franklin family of dealerships putting up sponsorship money, Somerset comes together and shows everyone else how it should be done.
With that army of volunteers, MMF has an economic impact of 3 million dollars. That’s absolutely incredible and astonishes me even after typing it.
This will be the 26th year that MMF has taken place and they handpick the artists. So since I’ll be there this year, I thought it would be fun to put together a top 15 list of performances that You should definitely try and take in.
There are a few tickets still left, so pick up your tickets here and enjoy the show.
1. Senora May is no stranger to the readers of this site. Her brand of Americana is beloved by many here in Kentucky and she’s quickly climbing the ranks in popularity. See why she was our pick to represent Capture Kentucky in Nashville at the Kentucky Takeover. (Eastwood Records Stage – Friday – 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM)
2. Nicholas Jamerson has completely reinvented himself since his days in Sundy Best and I for one could not be happier about that. Nicholas has emerged as a wonderful storyteller with a lot to say, so go lend him your ear, you’ll be glad you did. (Main Stage – Friday – 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM)
3. Our buds in Jericho Woods are some of the best in the business. Their live show is always spot-on, much like their harmonies. Bring your boogie shoes for these folks. (Eastwood Records Stage – Friday – 8:00 PM – 8:30 PM)
4. Charley Crockett is an artist that is a difficult one to pin a genre to. He’s part Americana, part Country, part Soul and 100% unique. On a personal level, Charley is the artist I look most forward to. (Main Stage – Friday – 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM)
5. Cedric Burnside has toured the world, first with his legendary Grandfather R.L. Burnside. Now as a solo artist. If you enjoy the blues with a side of realism, Cedric is your Huckleberry. I’ll meet ya at the rail for Cedric! (Main Stage – Friday – 10:00 PM – 11:15 PM)
6. Make sure you’re in the gates early on Saturday because you’ll see one of the more unique and fun moments of the weekend. Eric Bolander, John Clay, Tim Delonjay, Darrin Hacquard and Tim Lancaster will be onstage together trading stories and songs. (Main Stage – Saturday – 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM)
7. Do not miss Abby Hamilton, Jen Tackett, and Wonky Tonk. This session is likely one that could’ve slipped under your radar, but now you have been put on alert. I’ll see ya there! (Eastwood Records Stage – Saturday – 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM)
8. The Josephines are one of the more energetic bands that will be playing MMF and the fellas from Bowling Green have been on tour with Black Stone Cherry, so these fellas have been studying the current masters of Southern Rock. Protect your face, otherwise these gentlemen are going to do their best to melt it. (Main Stage – Saturday – 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM)
9. Take the stroll over to the Somersessions Tent to experience one of the strongest voices you will ever experience. Sean Whiting will mesmerize with a sonic assault like no other. Be prepared to meet your new favorite artist. (Somersessions Tent – Saturday – 5:45 PM – 6:15 PM)
10. Lost Dog Street Band are based in Muhlenberg County here in Kentucky. Armed with songs that often explore what makes us humans, LDSB makes you want to pull up to a fire, sip some bourbon and enjoy the ride. For now, you’ll have to pull up to a stage, but you can bet the ride will be just as wonderful. (Main Stage – Saturday – 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
11. There’s only one Laid Back Country Picker and if there’s ever a chance to watch him perform, you just don’t pass it up. Laid Back and his Honey are delightful people and wonderful performers that always deliver. (Eastwood Records Stage – Saturday – 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM)
12. Over at the Somersessions Tent, do not miss siblings Chelsea and Josh Nolan perform. These two are the best kept secrets in the Kentucky music community. Seeing one is great, seeing them both together has epic written all over it. Expect great storytelling and shenanigans galore on Saturday. (Somersessions Tent – Saturday – 7:15 PM – 7:45 PM)
13. I’m a huge fan and supporter of the young men in Johnny Conqueroo. These fellas know what it means to rock and roll. They just dropped a new song and video, so be sure and check that out below. (Eastwood Records Stage – Saturday – 8:30 PM – 9:15 PM)
14. Sometimes when an artist performs and the crowd really gets into it, folks will say that, “They took us to Church!” You can write it down now, The War And Treaty will take us to Church. Two powerful voices equipped with songs that will lift your spirits and demand you stomp along all night long. (Main Stage – Saturday – 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM)
15. This one should be painfully obvious, but do not miss the chance to see Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. There are few that do it better than Mr. Isbell and his band. I witnessed his stripped down acoustic set last Fall and I very much look forward to seeing the full band. (Main Stage – Saturday – 9:15 PM – 11:00 PM)