During the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival in Winchester, Kentucky this past weekend, country music fans were treated by the talents of James Otto and Jamey Johnson. Both have performed in Kentucky several times but this show proved to be one for the record books. According to festival organizers, around 15, 000 of fans attended the concert that proved that traditional country music is back on the market.
Opener Jennifer Webb and Uncle Elijah took to the stage early on as fans in the crowd gathered in the field. They sang the current hits of country music with their own flavor to get the crowd ready. Uncle Elijah has performed at the Daniel Boone Festival each year and has become a country standard each year.
James Otto followed up with a country groove that made the women swoon. Taking on the style of Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap, Otto sang hits off his latest album, as well as his soon to be released, Since You Brought it Up. The crowd was on its feet during the hour set featuring songs, “Ain’t Gonna Stop,” “Drink and Dial”. He also added a little bit of Ronnie Milsap with the crowd singing along to “There’s No Gettin’ Over Me.” Otto concluded his set with the most played tune on radio, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.” With a promising career, country music fans should take note to the talent that Otto has both on record and live.
With country as pure as the white shirt he was wearing, headliner Jamey Johnson wasted no time getting down to business. Picking up his guitar and strumming the opening strands of “High Cost of Living,” fans knew they were in for a country adventure. Doing what he does best, Johnson went sraight into one song after another with very little talk. Instead, he let the music speak volumes to the fans. Johnson sang all of the cuts off of his “That Lonesome Song” album while intertwining them with cover hits and unreleased material. The only thing missing was his latest radio hit, “My Way to You,” in which he opted to play “Back to Macon.” Fellow songwriter, Lee Thomas Miller from Nicholasville joined Jamey on stage to perform on guitar on “In Color,” a song that Miller, Johnson, and Otto cowrote and received many accolades. Johnson invited the Kentucky audience to join in and sing along to the lyrics midway through the song.
After performing for two hours, Johnson simply sat his guitar down and raised his cup to say thanks for coming. However, with the ongoing chant of “Jamey, Jamey”, fans were greeted once again by the band and Johnson. They performed an encore over an hour filled with hits such as “Tulsa Time,” “Old Habits,” “Dinosaur,” “Midnight Rider,” “Outlaw Women,” “Give It Away,” and “For the Good Times.” The crowd was completely silenced as they heard the powerful vocals during the tune Johnson sang as a child in church, “Near the Cross.” Johnson concluded the show with a powerful rendition of “The Ride,” as made famous by David Allan Coe.
Johnson and Otto proved to take fans on the perfect ride down the country music trail. The show will be one that fans will be talking about for years to come.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.