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.
Today one of the hottest bands from central Kentucky is Fifth on the Floor. With Fifth on the Floor’s latest album, “& After,” you ponder on the meaning of the album given the latest news that they are dissolving as a band shortly after the release of the album. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with lead singer, Justin Wells, about the album and band.
One interesting feature of the album was intertwining “Whiskey” and “Wine” from their previous released album, “Ashes and Angels.” This time, Fifth on the Floor enlisted the help from singer-songwriter Lucette. In regard to this arrangement, Wells indicated that he “couldn’t find a better juxtaposition, which is what I was going for, between my vocals and her vocals. She is so sweet and angelic, and so pure. Her voice is so amazing. I love how that song turned out with the huge ending.”
Another cut, “Missing the Morning” is a slower, less rowdy take than the previously released version from years ago. Justin Wells had been singing the song acoustically at various shows. After the response from fans, he decided to go into the studio to recut the song in an acoustic version. For Justin, “that song was my dad’s favorite song. “It just seemed like the original version of was too radio rock, and it felt weird that way. But those were my favorite lyrics I’d ever written at the time.”
Jason Parsons sings with all of his heart in “Angels in the Snow.” It is like he went into the studio and sang like it was the last song he would sing period. The emotion and feeling of heartache is easily heard in the tune.
For the song “Moving On,” you can easily tell the influence of George Jones and Vern Gosdin. They were able to sing a happy song, but make it sorrowful. You could say the same for a song sung by Tammy Wynette or Dolly Parton. According to Justin, “I wrote that song after a breakup that had hurt me and had me down in the dumps. It was never supposed to be strong sounding. It ended up we tracked those records at 3 in the morning. You can tell in my vocals that I sound like I’m at the end of my rope to give that feeling of the song.”
Everything with the album, “& After,” connects back to “Ashes and Angels.” You could consider it as a bonus feature of that album. With the previous album, the cover was of a funeral, whereas the new album all that is left is a tree. You could consider it a tree of life as things change and people grow. Only 1,000 cd copies will be available of the album, so be sure to get a copy of it.
In the eight and a half years that Fifth on the Floor has been in existence, Justin Wells is the only original member since the beginning. Perhaps the end of the band is an end of an experience of a rowdier musical style that was hard to define what music genre is Fifth on the Floor. However, it won’t be the end of a brotherhood of musicians that are talented both separately and together. With the closing of Buster’s and the end of Fifth on the Floor, it will be hard to fill some big shoes in the central Kentucky music scene.
You can still get a chance to see Fifth on the Floor on Saturday, January 17th, at Cosmic Charlies in Lexington. Fans can also check them out on tour with Matt Woods. Be sure to check out their website at www.fifthonthefloor.com to pick up their latest music and merchandise.