Monday, 15 January 2018 20:01

LaMay and Reese

Friday, July 13, 2018  |  4:00 p.m.

LaMay & Reese met at a folk song gathering in 1998. They were drawn to each other's music and they soon began singing together.

It wasn't long before they gained a solid reputation for their original songs and old-style harmony, as well as their well-honed repertoire of their favorite traditional and contemporary songs.

They are excellent festival and concert performers, as well as workshop leaders and participants.

With Joe on his guitar, and Sherri on her banjo, their stories and songs resonate with their audience and their performances are sure to inspire the novice and please the traditionalist.

It has been said that Joe & Sherri "know a good song and write a good song." As a testament to their songwriting abilities, several of their original songs have been recorded and performed by other folk musicians and bluegrass bands, and they are perennial participants in festival songwriting workshops and concerts.

In support of their local community, Joe & Sherri host the monthly 3rd Friday Folk Coffeehouse at the Carnegie, the weekly Lake Cumberland Jammers, and the Somerset Songwriters group.

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on the web 
Monday, 15 January 2018 19:48

Bendigo Fletcher

Friday, July 13, 2018  |  5:30 p.m.

Folk music is not dead but it sure is different than it used to be.

Bendigo Fletcher possesses a resolute ruggedness that recalls the Kentucky wilderness that inspired it. As the region continues to reverberate from the release of their debut self-titled EP last year, the band has been busy at work sharing the stage with such acclaimed acts as Blackfoot Gypsies, Rayland Baxter, Dawg Yawp, Vandaveer, Ona, Quiet Life, Leif Vollebekk, Dead Horses, Family and Friends, and The Deer.

The band is currently in the studio committing to tape their highly anticipated debut full-length. If their live shows have been any indication, we can expect more of the same: contagious hooks, rich harmonies, and the very best that the American South has to offer - a genuine love for the earth and its people.

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on the web  |  on itunes
Monday, 15 January 2018 19:44

Joslyn & the Sweet Compressions

Friday, July 13, 2018  |  7:00 p.m.

Joslyn Hampton and her band, The Sweet Compression, combine to deliver a hook-filled mix of funk and R&B-flavored pop, in a series of single releases throughout 2018. The powerhouse vocalist, joined by her exciting group (Marty Charters - guitar, Steve Holloman - keyboards, Smith Donaldson - bass, Rashawn Fleming - drums, Joe Carucci - saxophone, and Jeffrey Doll - trumpet), will be supporting the releases with live shows throughout the region.

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on the web  |  on bandcamp
Monday, 15 January 2018 19:36

The Dead South

Friday, July 13, 2018  |  8:30 p.m.

They wear white shirts and black suspenders, black pants and travellers’ hats. They sing about murderous, estranged spouses and runaway lover cousins in a boot-stomping acoustic configuration that includes banjo, mandolin, cello and guitar, some whistles, hoots and hollerin’, and finger snappin’. Sometimes their fans dress up like them too and dance and sing the night away – but that’s not mandatory.

The Dead South is a four-piece acoustic ensemble based in Regina, Saskatchewan. With Nate Hilts' gritty vocals and aggressive guitar strumming, Scott Pringle's soaring harmonies and mandolin chops, Colton Crawford's blazing banjo licks and steady kick drum, and Danny Kenyon's prominent cello melodies, The Dead South blends elements of folk, bluegrass, classical, and rock which results in a unique, modern, and authentic blend of boot-stompin' acoustic music.

Some notable shows which include: showcasing at Reeperbahn Festival 2014, Canadian Music Week 2014, Regina Folk Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival, Gateway Music Festival, Juno Fest 2013 - 2014, Grey Cup Festival 2013 where they opened for Serena Ryder, Saskatchewan Party Premier's Dinner, The Works Art and Design Festival, All Folk'd Up Festival, Frontier Days Festival, Long Days Night Festival, Picker's Cup Festival, The Cathedral Village Arts Festival and many more..

The Dead South has continually pushed the energy of their live shows, as well as pushed what is possible between four ordinary acoustic instruments. The unique abilities and viewpoints of each band member make The Dead South an impossible band to duplicate.

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on the web  |  on itunes
Monday, 15 January 2018 19:19

JD McPherson

Friday, July 13, 2018  |  10:00 p.m.

Undivided Heart & Soul (2017) “I was having nightmares every night, thinking, ‘Wow, they’re going to hate this,” says JD McPherson.

When he talks about his new album, Undivided Heart & Soul , there’s no glimmer of self-adulation, or even the confidence one might expect of a veteran artist. Instead, there’s a snapshot of McPherson’s creative process bringing the record to life, a journey filled with fear and change, then boldness, and, eventually, catharsis.

The best rock music has a story to tell. This record chronicles a series of upheavals, frustrations, roadblocks, and kismet—a cross-country move, failed creative relationships, a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, and learning to love making music again by letting go.

McPherson calls moving his family from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to East Nashville a decision based “on opportunity” and one he was reluctant to make but notes the profound influence the city has had on his new crop of songs.

“Up to this point, I thought I knew what I was doing with songwriting, that I don’t do this or that,” McPherson says. “Writing with people who co-write for a living...maybe I saw myself as John Henry, and them as the steel-driving machine.”

Along with collaborations with fellow Oklahoman Parker Millsap, Butch Walker, and Aaron lee Tasjan, McPherson’s selections for Undivided Heart & Soul include many deeply personal themes: “Let’s Get Out of Here While We’re Young” shares writing credits with longtime bandmate Ray Jacildo and McPherson’s wife Mandy. He also delved into character profiles, both fictional and based on real-life experiences, stories McPherson has held onto but never thought of as fodder for songwriting, such as the Las Vegas bus station interlude detailed in “Style (Is a Losing Game).”

“That seems like a pretty normal thing for a singer-songwriter to do, to write about personal experience, but I really have never done that,” McPherson says. “It felt great but it also was tough at the same time. The thing is, John Henry is trying to beat the machine because he’s in awe of it. It was a lot of me saying, ‘You’re really good at this, and I have a hard time doing it.’”

With a group of soul-baring tracks taking shape, McPherson and crew scheduled studio time to help force the issue. It quickly became apparent that these sessions were not going to work, bringing McPherson’s momentum to a halt.

To clear his head, he flew to Los Angeles at the invitation of friend and longtime supporter Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, who was also recording at the time. McPherson, Homme, and his Queens bandmate Dean Fertita played around with some songs, with Homme pushing McPherson outside of his comfort zone in a no-stakes environment.

“His thing was, ‘I’m going to throw all kinds of crap onto your songs that you’re not going to want to hear, and you’re going to play ridiculous stuff you wouldn’t normally do,’ and Dean was kind of the calming presence,” McPherson says.

McPherson calls the getaway “the most fun I’ve had since I was 15 years old” and returned to Nashville with a clear head, internal filters successfully stifled, ready to move forward.

That fresh perspective in tow, McPherson learned that the long-shot “backup” studio, the legendary RCA Studio B in Nashville, was willing to host his band for the making of the record. RCA Studio B was fundamental to the creation of the “Nashville Sound,” and the ghosts of some of the greatest songs in history live within its walls: Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” and Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” among them.

Artists who choose to record at Studio B are met with a rigorous list of requirements, including using a recording method appropriate during the studio’s heyday. Since the studio is a working museum by day, the entirety of McPherson’s workspace had to be reset at night: Load in all equipment in the late afternoon, work until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., and leave no trace nightly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

“Those rules would probably turn a lot of bands off, but they turned us on, 100 percent,” McPherson says. “I really love walking into a classic studio as much as I love getting my hands on a really old guitar. I like knowing that something was used for a long time and has good things in it.”

But this isn’t an old Nashville record, by any measurement, nor is it the record McPherson set out to make, with credit due to co-producer Dan Molad (also the drummer for Lucius).

“There’s a pretty broad gap in our tastes, what we do and what we’re into,” McPherson says. Where he’s as likely to lean on The Cramps as he is Irma Thomas for inspiration, Molad’s left-field production suggestions included a Casio synthesizer and running a Fender Rhodes through a tape delay. (McPherson nixed the former; the latter became the signature sound of one of the record’s tracks.) “We ended up learning a lot from each other, and he did a lot of stuff I’d have never thought to do.”

During the song “Let’s Get Out of Here While We’re Young,” JD sputters the line “We’ve worn out all the songs we’ve sung.” This is not a statement McPherson takes lightly.

“This record was difficult for me to make, difficult to write, difficult to record. It took a lot for me to say that I can’t force these songs to be the way people are expecting,” McPherson says.

Undivided Heart & Soul is a statement record, one that asserts McPherson as he is now, battle-weary but stronger than ever.

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on the web  |  on itunes
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:54

Kentucky Americana Women Songwriters

Saturday, July 14, 2018  |  12:00 p.m.

Chelsea Nolan
Born and raised in Stanton, KY, nestled in the hills of the Red River Gorge, Chelsea Nolan is inseparable from the area in which she was raised and the music that surrounded her hometown. Playing music beside her big brother Josh from early on, she moved from piano to guitar to drums, never leaving music alone. Raised around a community of folks where “everybody’s somebody had at least one instrument”, she developed her drive for songwriting at parking lot jams on Tuesday nights and gatherings where folks told stories, laughed and always played music. High school found her with scholarship offers for marching bands, but she didn’t want let her passion become her work, “writing papers on quarter notes.”

Songwriting was a natural evolution of her musical passion, and a personal experience for Nolan, “Every song I write has some truth behind it.” While a natural behind the drums, she brings her guitar to the mic with her to share her songs with her crowds. Strong and powerful, her voice drives home the immediacy of her lyrics, with sharp wit and some humor throughout. Her songs help her get by, and she has the need to share that with her listeners. “This is how I fix things for myself. And hopefully it helps other people fix their own stuff too.” She sees her songs as “A vessel to become the best part of someone’s day.”

Her influences include classic artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, John Prine, Goose Creek Symphony, and Bonnie Raitt. Her writing is perhaps best influenced by John Prine, while her singing is clearly influenced by the Boss. When she hits those big notes full on in the face, though, you know she is channeling Bonnie and Janis. Her brother and fellow musician, Josh Nolan, is also a huge influence on her musically in every regard.

Chelsea Nolan has appeared on stage all over the bluegrass area, including Well Crafted, Kickin’ it on the Creek, Mercury Ballroom, Manchester Music Hall, Willie’s Locally Known, The Burl. She regularly collaborates and shares the stage with fellow Kentucky artists Tyler Childers, Sundy Best, Senora May, and her brother Josh Nolan.

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Madison Lewis
A 15 year old female independent Americana musician and songwriter from Southeastern Kentucky who writes and composes music with moving lyrics and distinctive chord progressions sure to keep the audience’s interest. Her music reaches the darkest depths of the oceans and brings a light to any melody she embraces.

Lewis is no stranger to the spotlight. She has performed at an array of venues across the South, including the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN, Eddie's Attic and Grocery on Home in Atlanta, GA, the Lyric Theatre for the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, and a host of other stages in Kentucky. On December 9, 2017, Madison became the 47th Eddie's Attic Singer/Songwriter Shootout winner as well. In a world of cookie-cutter similarities and those jumping on musical bandwagons, Madison chooses to bring music to the table that is uniquely her own. Her songwriting and vocal style proves she is following her own creative course. The best musical creations are the ones that are unique, and Madison is exactly that.

Madison’s highly-anticipated debut album, Back to the Blue, was released on September 22, 2017. Produced by music industry veteran and accomplished music educator, Ken Holbrook, the project also boasts renowned musicians like Todd Phillips on upright bass, Michito Sanchez on percussion, Steve Bryant on electric bass, and Daniel Carwile on fiddle. Back to the Blue is a unique depiction of the life of a young girl who has been exposed to musical influences and experiences well beyond her years. Madison’s blend of genres would best be described as gypsy jazz blues with southern soul. Being compared to the likes of Tom Waits and Amy Winehouse, she undoubtedly exhibits maturity in the same field as these seasoned songwriters.

on the web  |  on itunes

June Burton
June Burton comes from a family of Somerset folk-singers, notably her great-grandmother, who could “sing all day and night and never sing the same song, twice!” Whether living in Iowa or Florida, the highlight of her family's year was a visit to her grand-parents' Plato, Pulaski County farm, where her cousins all sang, together. As a teenager, she began collecting and writing songs and playing guitar. After moving to Kentucky, she continued singing and dancing, first, with the Somerset, High Folk-Dance Group and then, the Berea College Country Dancers. Later, after moving to Houston as a ballroom-dance teacher, she wrote songs and performed with the music duo “Somerset,” (her partner, Ian Thompson was from Somerset, England) and an a-capella 4-person group, “Nobody's Reel.” Now, back home in Somerset, she continues writing and playing music with her husband, Jimmy D. Seville, and others, as the “June Burton Experience.”

Maggie Noelle
Raised in the heart of the Appalachia, a small town girl from Clintwood Virginia - at the tip end of Eastern Kentucky, Maggie Noëlle was highly influenced by the roots of mountain music. Along with the soulful sounds of strong female vocals like Bonnie Raitt & Susan Tedeschi, Maggie rings in her own mix of mountain soul music.

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Monday, 15 January 2018 18:53

Grayson Jenkins and the Resolutions

Saturday, July 14, 2018  |  1:30 p.m.

A native of the rolling hills and coal mining communities of rural western Kentucky, Grayson Jenkins is a singer-songwriter who now calls Lexington, KY his home. Grayson’s music reflects his influences from all genres, whether it's country, folk, rock, or bluegrass. His lyrics are inspired by the words of Mark Twain, who always said, “Write what you know.” In keeping with this motto, Grayson’s songs pay homage to the things most important to him—family, friends, and a life without regrets.

His latest studio album, Cityscapes & Countrysides, was released in April 2017 and has garnered attention from radio and press in the region. The project is a collection of songs written by Grayson during a time of transition and coming of age. It shows growth from his first release as a songwriter, musician, and band leader.

Grayson maintains a busy performance schedule, both as a solo performer and with his full band. In 2017, he performed over 150 shows in eight states as an independent artist. Moving forward, Grayson will continue to travel the country playing his songs and winning over new fans each night.

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on the web  |  on itunes
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:51

Dawg Yawp

Saturday, July 14, 2018  |  3:00 p.m.

Dawg Yawp is a folk-based duo that combines sitar, guitar, synth and drum samples alongside beautiful harmonies. Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan are lifelong friends that attended Berklee together, only to return to their native Cincinnati to focus on the project. Their debut EP Two Hearted quickly earned them acclaim and radio play, in addition to festivals like SXSW and national support slots. Their debut self-titled LP, released 10/14/16 via Old Flame Records, has started generating national praise from NPR Tiny Desk Concert to Conan O'Brien's Team Coco, Consequence of Sound, WXPN, KCRW and beyond. 

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on the web  |  on itunes  |   Conan O'Brien Team Coco
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:35

Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound

Saturday, July 14, 2018  |  4:30 p.m.

"Already a peer/fan favorite, McKinley and the Lonesome Sound are guaranteed to attract a wealth of new listeners with their official debut album, which will likely inspire plenty of end-of-year love as well." - Brian Baker, CityBeat

This Rock/Folk/Soul group from Ohio/Northern Kentucky brings together the influences of artists like Neil Young, The Band, Otis Reading, Circle Jerks, The Ramones, Larry Sparks, Keith Whitley, Chamberlain, Whiskeytown, Gram Parsons, Misfits and George Jones.

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Monday, 15 January 2018 18:26

The Felice Brothers

Saturday, July 14, 2018  |  6:00 p.m.

The Felice Brothers’ new album Life in the Dark, due June 24 on Yep Roc, is classic American music. At once plainspoken and deeply literate, the band’s latest features nine new songs that capture the hopes and fears, the yearning and resignation, of a rootless, restless nation at a time of change.

Life in the Dark also coincides with The Felice Brothers’ 10th anniversary as a band. Hailed by the AV Club for a sound at once “timeless, yet tossed-off,” they’ve released plenty of music over the past decade, often on their own without a record label, but the new album is the fullest realization yet of the band’s DIY tendencies. Self-produced by the musicians and engineered by James Felice (who also contributed accordion, keyboards and vocals), the Felice Brothers made Life in the Dark themselves in a garage on a farm in upstate New York, observed only by audience of poultry.

“The recording is definitely rough around the edges and cheap,” James Felice says, laughing. “It was liberating and really cool to do. It allowed us to untether ourselves from anything and just make music.”

Because of makeshift studio set-up, the music they made was necessarily stripped down, emphasizing acoustic instruments and spacious arrangements on songs that showcase the sound of a band playing together live, with echoes in the music of Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and rural blues.

“We tried to make it as simple and folk-based as possible, because we were working with limited resources,” singer and guitarist Ian Felice says. “We wanted to take all the frills out and make it just meat and potatoes.”

Still, there are hints of seasoning: among the folk and blues touchstones, the band took a certain inspiration from Neil Young and the Meat Puppets, too. Ian Felice says he was trying to channel the spirit of Meat Puppets II on opener “Aerosol Ball” — “They played kind of weird, freaky folk music, so there’s a connection there,” he says — while James Felice says listening to Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night was like getting permission to make Life in the Dark.

“If you listen to that record, it’s fucking crazy,” he says. “We listened to that to know that what we were doing was legal and had precedent. If Neil Young could make a record that sounds like that, we can make a record that sounds like this.”

He’s referring to the wild, whirling accordion and big, loose rhythm on “Aerosol Ball,” mournful glimmers of electric guitar and fiddle on “Triumph ’73” and the ramshackle, blues-rock feel of “Plunder,” full of grainy lead guitars, blasts of organ and a shout-along chorus inspired by the rhythm of Shakespeare’s “Double, double toil and trouble” incantation in Macbeth. Though The Felice Brothers often share songwriting duties, the band gravitated toward Ian Felice’s songs for Life in the Dark.

Along with Shakespeare and the Meat Puppets, Ian Felice absorbed the essence of writers from Anne Sexton to Anne Frank, Raymond Carver to Dr. Seuss, on tunes with clear, if unintentional, political undertones. “It’s just what was going on when I was writing the songs,” Ian Felice says. “It’s a pretty politically charged climate right now.” To say the least.

The singer’s characters on “Aerosol Ball” exist in a dystopian culture bought, and ruled, by corporations; while “Jack at the Asylum” catalogs cultural ills including climate change, economic inequality and the numbing aspects of televised warfare, themes that recur again on “Plunder.” He wrote the title track after re-reading The Diary of a Young Girl, the journal that Frank kept while in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. “The idea of living in a dark attic unable to fully grasp what is going on in your life and feeling powerless to change it seemed like a relevant metaphor for me at the time,” Ian Felice says.

Elsewhere, he offers his own interpretation of classic American archetypes: “Triumph ’73” follows a young man on the cusp of adulthood desperate to ride his motorcycle away from the life changes overtaking him, while the ballad “Diamond Bell” tells the story of a folk heroine gunslinger in the vein of Pretty Boy Floyd or Jesse James, and the hapless, lovestruck kid she ensnares. “It’s part-love song, part-adventure story, part-tragedy, told in the Mexican folk tradition of singing about bandits,” Ian Felice says. “I think it’s one of the most straight-ahead narratives I’ve written.”

The band, also including Josh Rawson on bass and Greg Farley on fiddle, spent about a month recording Life in the Dark in the late winter of 2015. James Felice learned engineering on the fly — “I literally had a book, like, ‘Where do you put the mic? How do you mic the kick drum?’” he says — and the band managed to nail most of the tunes within a few takes.

“There wasn’t too much agonizing, just the joy of playing music,” James Felice says. “We had an audience of chickens, and an audience of each other, and we were just really enjoying making it.”

The resulting album is more than just classic American music — it’s a parable for modern America.

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