Back in the spring, I received a surprise that a writer wanted to feature me and my website, Kentucky Country Music, in their magazine that is sent to 5 states in the south. The magazine is sent to rural electric and telecommunication customers, including several here in Kentucky. Needless to say, I was very surprise to see the feature in one of the magazines, Foothills Connection, out of Staffordsville, Kentucky. Many thanks to Anne Braly for the interview and featuring me. It is an honor and I really appreciate it! Below is the page feature, as well as the interview below the photo.
Music is Her Life
A Q&A with Jessica Bray, a blogger from Kentucky who writes about her love of country music.
Q: What will readers find at your blog?
JB: Kentucky Country Music is a personal journey of stories, interviews, road trip adventures, music history, reviews and more from my perspective.
Q: When did you begin blogging and how has it changed your life?
JB: I started writing in high school and then at Berea College for its newspaper and national publication, “Appalachian Heritage.” The blog started in 2009 as a way to share my travel and concert experiences. I wanted to be able to show a positive image of Kentucky and the Appalachian region. Because of the blog, I have been fortunate to have met and interviewed legendary artists like the Oak Ridge Boys and have been given opportunities to attend red carpet events for Derby Eve and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. WFKY also allows me to do a country music news segment each week.
Q: What does music bring to your life?
JB: I have gained a lot of close friendships through music. One of those friendships has been with Sunny Sweeney. Because of her, I was able to go backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and meet Little Jimmy Dickens. Music brings back memories to different points in my life.
Q: Do you play an instrument?
JB: I broke my wrist when I was 10, so it makes it hard to play anything. I do have a mandolin, but I ended up collecting autographs on it instead of playing.
Q: Do you think it’s important to raise children with an appreciation for all kinds of music?
JB: It’s important for children to be exposed to the different styles of music. Whether it’s country, pop, rap or even polka, each style reflects a different culture or religion in our country. You also learn that the roots of country music come from bluegrass, Appalachian folk and even rock ’n’ roll.
Q: What’s your favorite kind of music?
JB: Country music with the deep influence of Appalachia. I grew up on a farm listening to Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, George Jones and Waylon Jennings. During my college years, and even now, I loved researching the roots of country music, as well as the craft of a good song.
Q: What was the first concert you attended and where?
JB: My parents took me to see Conway Twitty at Tombstone Junction, an old-time amusement park that unfortunately closed. A lot of country music singers played there, including Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.
Q: What would be your dream concert if you could get a group of musicians together?
JB: I have always said it would be neat to have Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and Angaleena Presley in concert. All three Kentuckians have made their mark recently in music.
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.