Nestled in central Kentucky is a small community by the name of Lawrenceburg. Some may recognize the name for its world-famous bourbon, Wild Turkey. However, the music coming from Anderson County has been taking notice to the ears of those throughout the state. Two young ladies have been making a name for themselves for building a dream of music. Sisters Rayna Warford and Ramsey Nicholson have combined their vocal talent and instrumentation to form the duo, R&R.
Growing up, Rayna and Ramsey always knew that they wanted to sing. “Mom has videos of us singing when we were two years old,” Ramsey recalled.
According to Rayna, “our mom and dad have been our biggest supporters with our music. They have encouraged us to enjoy singing and performing. I remember mom having those videos and there I was singing ‘Hello Darlin’ by Conway Twitty. It was my favorite song ever. I just loved it.”
“I would sing ‘country as a turned up bean’ (Daddy’s Money) all the time,” Ramsey said laughing at the memory.
However, it was the encouragement of their mom, Regina, to take piano lessons that they each started to learn instruments. Rayna started when she was 7 years old taking piano lessons to instill a base knowledge of music. It was in middle school when she honed her skills on guitar. “I wanted to be Terri Clark because this was ’95. I wanted to grow up and be like Terri Clark – have my cowboy hat and play guitar,” Rayna said.
“I wanted to play piano, but my mom said my fingers were too short,” Ramsey noted. “I asked mom for a mandolin for my sixteenth birthday and I got it. It was literally two weeks from my birthday and we had a gig singing at a Revival at a church. I decided I wanted to play on that song and I did. A few months later, I entered a talent show and was going to sing ‘Cold Day in July.’ I get to the place and find out it was a Bluegrass music talent contest. I wasn’t very good and then I messed up. A judge came up to me and said that she enjoyed my vocals.”
The instruments have helped enhanced their vocal capabilities with their performances. The duo has contemplated having a band, but for now they will continue being a duo. Their vocals helped them win other contests throughout their life. For Rayna, it was a talent show at the age of 5 and singing “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood.
Early influences with their music included the likes of Loretta Lynn, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Conway Twitty, Faith Hill, Reba, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris for the young duo. The first song Ramsey remembers performing on stage was “You Ain’t Woman Enough” by Loretta Lynn at the Burgoo Festival at the age of 4. They can thank their mom for exposing them to many styles of music thanks to her huge collection.
From playing at church to local fairs, they would soon perform at Backroads American Music Theater of Central Kentucky, to even at Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen in Tennessee. In 2015, WFKY invited them to perform an acoustic set on the singer-songwriter stage of the Froggy Field Party. Singer-songwriter Aaron Lewis was watching them from the side as they did soundcheck and performed. He later provided positive feedback to the duo.
R&R’s relationship with WFKY Froggy KY Country of Frankfort has proved to be a special one for the girls. Their first original song, “I’m Free” was originally released on Froggy during the Local Music Show. Rayna recalls that they were excited to hear it being played on the radio. “I remember that we were with our family at home waiting to hear it on the radio,” according to Rayna. “We were so excited as it was the first time our original song was on the radio.” On Sunday nights, the radio station hosts a Local Music Show, capturing the talents of Kentucky artists on the airwaves.
It would be their hometown of Lawrenceburg that they would debut their song, “Lawrenceburg,” at the Hometown Country Bearcat Madness. It is a special pep rally featuring all the sports teams in Anderson County. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event.
So far fans have provided positive feedback on the duo’s live performances, as well as recordings. Their latest album, “Lawrenceburg: A Life That’s Good,” is their first studio recording to be released for purchase. The album includes two original songs, “Lawrenceburg,” and the emotional “Your Last Day.” The duo show potential in their talents from songwriting, singing, and performing.
Recently, they released a video highlighting the small town life in “Lawrenceburg.” It has gained a lot of attention of those that have lived in the community, but also beyond the state lines. You can check out the video by going here.
Even though they have small town dreams, they have bigger aspirations. “We look forward to writing more songs and work on an EP for the future,” Ramsey said. Rayna followed up by saying, “We want to push more of original material that affects people.”
Jessica Bray 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, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.