History, News

Exploring the life of musician Dora Mae Wagers

One of the early banjo pioneers in Kentucky country and folk music would be that of Laurel County native, Dora Mae Woodall Wagers.  Dora Mae Woodall Wagers was born on July 14, 1927, in Laurel County, Kentucky, to Harry and Nancy Woodall.  She was raised in the community of Hazel Patch in northern Laurel County.  She was the wife of Ford Wagers and mother to 5 children. Dora Mae Wagers first began playing claw-hammer banjo…

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Concerts, History, Music Venues, News, Road Trips

Renfro Valley legacy reaches its 80th season

In 1939, John Lair founded Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, nestled along the rolling hills off US-25 in Rockcastle County.  Prior to major interstate construction, travelers would arrive by horses and family cars to listen to the sounds of country, bluegrass, and gospel.  Renfro Valley would become known at the Country Music Capital of Kentucky.  In 2019, it is celebrating its 80th year of performances. For 80 years, Renfro Valley Entertainment Center has provided musical entertainment.…

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History, News

Keith Whitley exhibit coming to Country Music Hall of Fame

Keith Whitley has been added as a special exhibit with the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville beginning May 3, 2019. The Sandy Hook, Kentucky, native has influenced so many over multiple generations of music in bluegrass and country genres. The exhibit encompasses Whitley’s entire career, from his bluegrass roots to his success as a singer in a traditional style of country music with #1 hits “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “When You Say Nothing…

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History, News

October in Kentucky Country Music History

Here are a few notable things that happened during the month of October in Kentucky Country Music History: Oct 1, 1935: Singer/guitarist Ray Sanders is born in St. John, Kentucky. He lands on the country charts more than 10 times in the 1960s and ’70s as an artist and plays on the Ray Price hits “The Same Old Me” and “Under Your Spell Again.” Oct 1, 1995: Willie Nelson presents the 10th anniversary Farm Aid…

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History, Interviews, News

Karl Shannon set to retire after 4 decades in radio

For over 45 years, Karl Shannon has been one of the most recognizable voices on the radio airwaves.  With his legendary career, he could write multiple books on what he has seen and heard behind the microphone. It all began when Karl Shannon left college after one year and took a job working at WSAC at Fort Knox in 1972.  That first job would help land a lifelong career in broadcasting. According to Karl, his…

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History, News

Kentucky banjo picker Lee Sexton featured in film

Nestled in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky lies the community of Linefork. It is there where retired coal miner, Lee Sexton calls home, alongside his wife, Opal. Even at 90 years old, he continues to preserve the mountain music heritage with his unique banjo picking style. His music and life is a featured subject in a new independent film called “Linefork.” “Linefork” follows the daily rituals of Lee and Opal Sexton as they live in…

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History, News

Sturgill Simpson honored by Kentucky Legislative officials

On Monday, March 20, 2018, during the Kentucky Legislative General Session, Sturgill Simpson was honored with House Resolution 251.  The resolution was sponsored by Woodford County native, Representative James Kay, who also serves in part of Franklin and Fayette County. Sturgill Simpson was present, alongside his family, during the reading of the resolution at the Kentucky State Capitol.  Below is the official resolution which passed unanimously among the Kentucky House of Representatives. A RESOLUTION honoring…

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History, Interviews, News

Naomi Judd discusses the impact of ‘Grandpa’

Naomi Judd recently sat down and discussed the meaning and impact of The Judds hit song, “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days.) The song has resonated in a lot of music fans hearts. It has stood the test of time to become a classic song in the country music field. It became their sixth number one hit.  Check out the exclusive look back on the song from Naomi Judd: I can literally remember…

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History, News

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Lily May Ledford

Kentucky country music legend and banjo picker, Lily May Ledford Today marks the 100th birthday of Lily May Ledford.  She was born on March 17, 1917 in Pilot, Kentucky.  She began her career in music after being discovered at a talent contest in Chicago by John Lair.  Mr. Lair was the creator of Renfro Valley Barn Dance, which continues to this day here in Kentucky.   Lily, along with Evelyn “Daisy” Lange, Esther “Violet” Koehler…

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History, News

The story behind Grandpa Jones Ginseng Hoe

Grandpa Jones Ginseng Hoe – photo by Jessica Bray Kentucky natives, Grandpa Jones and the banjo-picking comedian David “Stringbean” Akeman, were nationally famous entertainers, and close friends.  They lived near one another in a rural area a few miles north of Nashville.   They hunted and fished together for years, and they also roamed the mountains in search of ginseng, the mystic herb which has for generations been dug in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and…

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