|Sturgill Simpson - Photo by Rick Diamond|
In 2014, the Kentucky music scene has had quite a few success stories. As a whole, our music has been featured on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, The Tonight Show, the Grand Ole Opry, and many points in between. As a Kentuckian, music fans have to say that they are proud of the musicians that represent our state in a manner that signifies the beauty of life in Kentucky.
Chris Stapleton has had quite a few songs cut by other artists, including Luke Bryan who cut "Drink a Beer." Stapleton has been featured on quite a few background vocals in various songs. We are all hoping that he will release his new album sometime in the near future. Be sure to check him out live in concert. He and his wife are unbelievably talented.
Angaleena Presley released her solo album debut, "American Middle Class," this fall. It bleeds Kentucky and southern charm. She was featured on David Letterman, as well as Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. Many critics have praised her work. Fellow Kentuckians Patty Loveless and Chris Stapleton appear on the album as well. Go buy it today.
Sundy Best is another product of far eastern Kentucky that has gained national attention. They have played on the Grand Ole Opry several times and have gained new fans over the year. They have released a couple of albums. I highly recommend listening to their song "Home."
One musician that has garnered the attention of multiple outlets has been Sturgill Simpson. Oddly I saw him play for about 30 people at Zanzabar in Louisville this past April. A couple of months later, he's working up festivals and headlining his own tour, selling out places. NPR, New York Times, and many other publications praised his work. Sturgill would go on and appear on multiple late night tv shows. He also won an award with the Americana Music Association and is up for a Grammy. He is proof that the music listener yearns for that traditional country music sound.
Kelsey Waldon of western Kentucky has gained momentum with her latest release, "The Goldmine." Her song "High in Heels" struck a chord with the brutal honest lyrics. She has appeared on Music City Roots in Nashville and is making a name for herself in Nashville.
Fifth on the Floor has been very busy being road warriors. One of the highlights was opening for George Thorogood for select sold-out shows. They recently released their album "& After" providing a different sound than the rowdy bar room sound that fans are use to. Stay tuned for my interview with lead singer, Justin Wells, on the album and upcoming shows.
A few other notable figures in the Kentucky country music scene that you should take note of include George Molton, Rayna & Ramsey, Jamie Tingle, Larry Williams, Gordon Crowe, John McHugh, and J.D. Shelburne. Each has been gaining momentum while playing venues across Kentucky.
It will be interesting to see what 2015 has in store for music from Kentucky. There is quite a bit of talent within our bluegrass state. Support your local music scene and check out these acts live.