Kentucky musician Tom T. Hall – photo by Jessica Blankenship
Sometimes it is in their blood, but not everyone is destined to be a country music legend. For those from Eastern Kentucky, there is a lot of history and country music legends that call Kentucky home. Traditions and songs have been passed on through generations. However, so many schools are facing tighter budgets that sometimes eliminate music programs.
Today, Governor Steve Beshear, along with Olive Hill native, Tom T. Hall, introduced the Country Music Highway Road to Fame Arts Education Fund. The nonprofit organization formed in conjunction with the Road to Fame, a yearlong program to find and showcase new and emerging talent along the Country Music Highway. The Fund’s aim is to provide financial and educational support to music and arts programs in area schools. The fund will be administered via the Bluegrass Community Foundation. This program will help music education in schools without using a single dollar of taxpayers’ money in Kentucky.
The Country Music Highway Road to Fame Arts Education Fund will help Kentucky students learn how music can bring joy to their lives. The Road to Fame contest will be looking for the next superstar from the same region that brought Loretta Lynn,Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Skaggs, Dwight Yoakam, The Judds, Patty Loveless, and Keith Whitley.
The “Country Music Highway Road to Fame” competition, set to begin in mid-March, will tap Eastern Kentucky’s musical roots to find the next generation of talent. The winner of the 2012 “Road to Fame” competition will receive a scholarship to participate in career development and coaching under the direction of PCG Nashville valued at $25,000, an acoustic guitar and a plaque recognizing their achievement. The contest will be open to aspiring artists 13-35 years of age from the 15 counties that border the Country Music Highway (US Route 23). Those counties include Letcher, Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, Boyd, Greenup, Harlan, Petty, Knott, Magoffin, Morgan, Elliott, Carter, and Lewis. Details of the contest will be released on the “Country Music Highway Road to Fame” website. Potential contestants and interested parties should visit www.cmhroadtofame.com and register to receive announcements as they are made.
“I’m really excited about the competition because it will show that some of the best talent can be found in the hills of Eastern Kentucky,” said Country Music Hall of Fame Member Tom T. Hall about the talent residing in his home area of Kentucky.
“The Country Music Highway means so much to me. I grew up in that special part of Kentucky, as did so many of my friends who have also been fortunate enough to find careers in country music. And now the Country Music Highway folks have launched a great project they’re calling “The Road to Fame,” said Naomi Judd in an earlier statement. “Keeping music alive on stage and in schools is close to my heart. I encourage everyone to get behind this project. Please join me in supporting the “Road to Fame” and the difference it will make in the lives of our friends and neighbors.”
These initiatives announced today are already receiving support from corporate sponsors. The first to come on board are the Gibson Foundation, Crawdad’s Classics Gourmet Flavorings, PCG Nashville, Vietti Chili, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, TourSEKY, and Ray, Foley and Hensley Accounting.
For more information, contact: www.cmhroadtofame.com
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.