Music intertwines the heart and soul of people. It paints a picture. It evokes an emotion. Music has been a major part of my life ever since I was a young child in rural Laurel County in southeast Kentucky.
It began with a song. My earliest musical memory would be listening to Conway Twitty sing “Hello Darlin.” That distinct voice made an impression on me. He would be played through the radio static as I would join my dad on many of a straw haul. I spent many summers out on the road traveling north to gather a load to bring back to the beautiful horse farms of Kentucky. We both had a love and appreciation of Conway’s music. I couldn’t help but feel a part of my youth leave when Conway passed away.
Through my love of concerts and photography, I began going to new places and meeting new faces thanks to music. I have met quite a few of my closest friends via those opportunities.
Even though I cannot sing, play a note on a guitar, or write music – I can write ABOUT it. I became a music journalist through college and eventually outside of college. My love of history and getting to know others has given me a desire to know more. (I got to thank my momma for my gift of gab!) In the end, I knew not only more about the song, the singer, but about myself.
I hope through my articles and interviews, I’m able to trace a path in music history. I hope that something I wrote will be looked upon in future generations as a piece in time.
Music was there during one of the worst years in my life. Whoever said turning 30 is fun needs to be slapped. In 2010 when I did turn 30, a close family member, Karin, passed away and I went through a divorce not long after that. Even though I was alone, I didn’t feel alone through the lyrics and notes. Music provided better (and cheaper) therapy for me than going to a psychologist. It also provided comfort in knowing everything will be alright.
The most memorable moment in my life happened last fall when Dolly Parton surprised my family on the Nate Berkus Show by dedicating “I Will Always Love You” in memory of my sister in law, Karin. This was a humbling experience and we were honored that she would want to meet us.
Music touches people in different ways. From birth to death, the saying that the song remembers when holds true in my life. I might not be a composer of lyrics, but I’m a composer of words. I might not be able to play an instrument, but I can take my camera as an instrument to capture a moment in time.
Keep the music playing. Musicians, songwriters, and more need our help. MusiCares® helps and supports the people who dedicate their lives to making the music I blog about. Please join the Be A Part of the Heart MusiCares® mosaic at https://beapartoftheheart.com/ and be entered for a chance to win a trip the 2012 GRAMMYS®!”
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.