Senora May's Sweet Thing Jamboree 2019
Words fail to give due justice to the incredible ladies and their music that filled the Steam Engine Session Room January 26th for the historic all-female lineup at Senora May's Sweet Thing Jamboree. But I will say that I hope, no I pray, that this is the first of many such events that highlight the women in Appalachian Music.
The best way to give you an idea of the magnitude of awesome on display is to let you hear them for yourself. So please, take some time and give these women your time and a fair listen.
You'll be glad you did!
Jeri Katherine Howell
From her website: Jeri Katherine Howell is an Americana singer-songwriter and rhythm guitarist from Frankfort, Kentucky who commands each performance with her sweet and soulful voice, thought-provoking lyrics, and joyful presence. "From an early age, Jeri Katherine has shown a remarkable sensibility to express a wide range of emotions in the traditional styles of Americana, Appalachian, and Roots music," states Brian Baker - longtime fan and folk music enthusiast. "For many years, there has been no need to add such words as 'new' or 'up and coming' when describing Jeri Katherine, but more appropriate to simply say that she is one of the finest Americana singer/songwriters in the country."
Anna Kline of Grits and Soul
At the heart of Grits & Soul are Anna Kline and John Looney.
Their seamless harmonies and stirring melodies will tear your heart in two. For seven years now, the duo has traveled the globe spreading the gospel of Southern sound. Their partnership converges at the crossroads of bluegrass and classic country, Southern soul and blues.
Chloe Edmonstone is a force to be reckoned with in the current music scene of our region! Although she is a founding member of the old time string band Locust Honey, you can often see and hear her playing and singing with John R. Miller and other well-known artists. During the all-girl festival, Chloe led a 6 member band and wowed the crowed with her fiddle skills playing alongside Senora.
Melody Youngblood is a singer-songwriter originally from the pacific northwest now living in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Berea Ky. Her songwriting expresses deep vulnerability and tenderness that cuts to the heart of old wounds and deep seated personal struggle. She participated in a program called “The Americana Project” Which is an innovative arts education program since she was 16.
She has a new cd available titled "Sweet Isolation." You can hear the title track in the video below.
Jenn Shouse has the voice of an angel, incredible song-writing abilities and is a master musician to boot! She rarely performs without her husband Chris Shouse, who is equally talented. (You may remember Chris from The 23 String Band). But on this rare occasion, Jenn took the stage alone. She still left with the hearts of every person in the audience. She and Chris often appear at area festivals, but in case you aren't a concert or festival enthusiast, visit their website and purchase their cd called "Gray Space." It is a SOLID favorite here at Pickup Country.
Laura Gregory is not your ordinary artist or musician. And we LOVE her that way! She plays drums, accordion and on occasion, she even plays upright base for a band called The Handshake Deals. They are a Wolfe County, KY/Red River Gorge area based band comprised of Laura Gregory, Casey Papendieck, and Cory Shen. Trust me when I tell you that you haven't seen anything quite like them and they sure know how to bring a fun and energetic show!
From Whitesburg, KY, these ladies call their music "contraceptive rock" and rock indeed they did. The floor of the Steam Engine Session Room was bouncing from fans dancing along to the performance of Slut Pill. Comprised of lead singer and guitarist Mitchella Phipps, bass guitarist Carrie Wells and Paulina Vazquez on drums, the band can really rock it out!
Straddling the junction of the Ohio River and the Mississippi, Waldon was born in Ballard County, Kentucky, and raised in one the county’s even smaller, unincorporated communities, lovingly named Monkey’s Eyebrow. The destination has been spotlighted by NPR and Roadside America, but the Western Kentucky town is about as “rural America” as it gets. Waldon’s family roots in the Bluegrass State date back over ten generations, from tobacco farmers to cattle raisers, and a general cast of real strong-spirited characters. “Farming and planting tobacco were some of the first jobs I had growing up,” she says; but dating back even farther, to some of her very first memories, is her relationship with music. Inspired by ‘a melting pot of influences’, Waldon took notes from a wide variety, spanning from legends like Merle Haggard and Mavis Staples, to bluegrass luminaries Ralph Stanley and Ricky Skaggs, and songwriting greats John Prine, Bob Dylan, and Townes Van Zandt. When she picked up the guitar at 13, she never looked back.
Luna and the Mountain Jets
Always a favorite, Luna and the Mountain Jets is an Appalachian rock band from Eastern Kentucky. The core of the group is the husband and wife team of Teresa (guitar vocals) and Dave Prince (guitar/mandolin/vocals).As a duo, they draw material from their three CDs of original songs, which ranges from electric folk to Americana/twang rock. Teresa kept the crowd at Steam Engine fired up through their set, all the while sporting a Senora May shirt. If you have opportunity to see David and Teresa Prince in concert, whether as Luna and the Mountain Jets or as Laid Back Country Picker and Honey, you are sure to have fun!
Senora started our day playing the first set when a scheduled artist was unable to make it. And she closed our night with the same bright smile, sweet voice and exuberant energy she shared nearly eight hours later! Senora May is quickly rising to the tip top and beyond of the current music scene. Her songs are original but provoke a nostalgia, a longing for simpler times and a reveal a genuine grit the Estill County, KY native possesses.
Her album "Lainheart" is a standard and a favorite at WSKV. Give it a listen and it will be your favorite as well. And please agree with me as we pray that Senora will take the lead and continue hosting The Sweet Thing Jamboree for years to come. The first one certainly felt historic enough to repeat.
Fun Stuff to Know!