Based out of Louisville, Kentucky, singer/songwriter Joan Shelley's warm and mellifluous voice evokes both the deep south and west coast, drawing from both old-time country and '60s folk. A talented songwriter and prolific performer, Shelley splits her time between solo outings and collaborations with other area musicians like Daniel Martin Moore and Joe Manning, with whom she issued the albums Farthest Field (2012) and Outside Stay Outside (2014), respectively, and with the old-timey music trio Maiden Radio, which also features the talents of Julia Purcell and Cheyenne Mize. Shelley released her solo debut Ginko in 2012, followed by the No Quarter-issued Electric Ursa in 2014, the latter of which saw her working alongside fleet-fingered guitarist Nathan Salsburg. 2015's Over and Even found Shelley and Salsburg delivering an evocative set of country-folk originals that flirted with English and Irish traditional music. For her eponymous fifth studio LP, Shelley, Salsburg, and James Elkington headed up to Chicago to record with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy behind the board.
Energetically honoring the sound of traditional bluegrass and mountain music, with threads of singer-songwriter, rock and jam band music woven throughout, The Wooks are as at home on a festival stage as they are in a barn in the heart of Kentucky's horse country. The Wooks are CJ Cain (guitar), Galen Green (mandolin), Arthur Hancock (banjo), Roddy Puckett (bass) and Jesse Wells (fiddle). Inspired by legends and trailblazers like Crowe, Whitley, Simpson, Bush, Stapleton and Rice who cut their teeth on stages throughout the bluegrass region, The Wooks translate the sights and sounds of the people, hills, bars, roads and creeks around them into songs and shows that captivate. With both respect for their heritage and innovative originality, The Wooks are the natural evolution of a sound that has always been there.
Tee Dee Young
Tee Dee Young, a blues legend in his own time, definitely has the blues and loves “firing down on that guitar.” While playing his own unique style of the blues, his dynamic stage presence, exciting harmony and energy will put you in the mood for dancing. Young’s playing and singing are authentic to the genre but oblivious to current industry trends. His guitar is a weapon, wielded with total authority, assailing the listener with his sheer virtuosity. He writes and performs his own music, while covering music written by other artists. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Young has been performing and playing for audiences for years and has opened up for and performed with legendary and acclaimed blues and R&B musicians such as Johnny Rawls, Guitar Shorty, Big Bill Morganfield, Albert King, Lil “Howling ” Wolf, Sir “Mack” Rice, Eddie Floyd, Malina Moye, Al Green, Denise LaSalle, Aretha Franklin, Cameo, Lakeside, James Brown, Alexander O’Neal, Vesta Williams, Miki Howard and many others.
1200’s performances are known for being uncategorizable, featuring something everyone will love. Whether performing as a DJ, full band or piano soloist, no genre is off the table. Jecorey "1200" Arthur is an award-winning educator, composer, performer and curator from Louisville, Kentucky. His performances range from Forecastle Festival to the 92nd Street Y Musical Introduction Series, to collaborations with the Louisville Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. Arthur dedicates his work to community as an event curator for City Collaborative, Speed Art Museum, Louisville Downtown Partnership and many more organizations. He is currently the music specialist at Hite Elementary where he teaches general music and directs performance ensembles. Through his 1200 performances, he is breaking down barriers in music education both on and off stage.
Brett Ratliff's home place is Van Lear, Kentucky, the historic coal camp that gave birth to Loretta Lynn. Having been mentored by the masters of the area—George Gibson, Rich Kirby, Paul David Smith, Lee Sexton, and Jamie Wells among them—Ratliff is often the traditionally trained musician on stage with country, acid honk-a-tonk and cow punk. He has toured the region and the world with groups such as Clack Mountain String Band, Dirk Powell Band, Giant Rooster Sideshow and Rich & the Po’ Folk, and has played alongside the likes of Woody Pines, Chris Stapleton, Foghorn Stringband, Jean Ritchie, Mike Seeger and Art Stamper. Today Ratliff teaches traditional Kentucky repertoire at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington, Swannanoa Gathering in Swannanoa, North Carolina, Sore Fingers Week in Oxfordshire, England, Augusta Heritage's Early Country Music Week in Elkins, West Virginia, Cowan Creek Mountain Music School in Letcher County, Kentucky and elsewhere.
Johnny Conqueroo is a highly kinetic blues-rock trio from Lexington, KY. After releasing their first EP in 2015, the band drew the attention not only of local and regional audiences (selling out venue after venue), but also industry professionals. Currently partnering up with veteran producer Tom Zutaut (Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Tesla, etc) and engineer David Barrick (Kentucky Headhunters, Black Stone Cherry, Vince Gill), a new record is in the works. Momentum has only continued to soar with their fanbase outgrowing venues and the reach of social media inspriring booking requests in new markets.
While 2016 is looking to be a watershed year for these dudes, it is important to look at the grassroots support and organic exposure from 2015, which pushed their EP towards the top of the regional charts in both air-play (WRFL College Radio) and record sales (Independently owned "CD-Central"), leading to a popular "WRFL-Live" performance on Thanksgiving eve. As word spread, and EPs changed hands, eventually even R & R Hall of Famer Billy Gibbon's took notice