Tyler Childers is leading a Kentucky music revival set to take FloydFest by storm

By Matt Wickstrom

Tyler Childers. Photo by Emma Delevante

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Grammy award winners, Hollywood collaborators and legends with over a half-century in the music industry under their belts won’t be the only artists converging on the Blue Ridge Mountains for this week’s 18th annual FloydFest from July 24-28. A strong Kentucky contingent is expected to join the likes of Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, Lukas Nelson, Phil Lesh and others on the mountain, bringing the Kentucky music revival front and center to one of the region’s biggest musical gatherings.

From newcomers Dark Moon Hollow to rising country superstar Tyler Childers, get the scoop on the Kentucky wave set to take FloydFest by storm below.

Dark Moon Hollow

Dark Moon Hollow

Beginning to take form in early 2018 was Dark Moon Hollow, a Lexington-based troupe combining elements of the region’s rich history in bluegrass music with a honky tonk country flare. The group is led by Brett Horton (guitar/vocals), a Sandy Hook, Ky., based musician who cut his teeth playing just west in Morehead on Poppy Mountain in various groups including Horton Holler, a duo with Magnolia Boulevard’s Ryan Allen. Joining Horton in Dark Moon Hollow are Trey Reinhart (guitar/dobro/vocals), David Fish (bass) and Thomas Keathley (banjo), who together produce a newgrass sound that pulls equally from Kentucky greats Sam Bush and Bill Monroe as it does Flatt & Scruggs and Old and In the Way.

Dark Moon Hollow will perform at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 26, on the Ferrum College Workshop Porch and at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, on the Pink Floyd Garden Stage.

Driftwood Gypsy

Driftwood Gypsy

Lexington cross-genre collaborative Driftwood Gypsy have crafted an infectious, hip-shaking concoction of musical euphoria behind a wave of trippy, jam rock-draped instrumentals and the soul-stirring harmonies of Dereck O’Neil Oldham and David “Chill” Napier. Known for their unpredictable and lively shows, each Driftwood Gypsy performance is different than the last, leaving those who bear witness at the peak of anticipation from first meaty bass line to the last a cappella echo. The group – which is rounded out by Conrad Dillinger (drums/vocals), Severn Edmondson (keys/vocals), Jason Adams (guitar/vocals) and Creek Sayles (bass) – has been hard at work much of the first half of 2019 on new material, setting the stage for what’s sure to be a couple of wacky and wild sets at FloydFest.

Driftwood Gypsy will perform at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, and 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, on the Pink Floyd Garden Stage.

The Wooks

The Wooks. Sarah Cahill | KY Cahill Photography

Bringing a fresh take on Kentucky rhythm and roots music to FloydFest will be The Wooks, a Lexington-based ensemble who’ve found bountiful success despite phases of transition since their formation in 2014. Led by Central Kentucky music veterans Roddy Puckett (bass) and C.J. Cain (guitar), the group has traversed the country performing it’s blend of boot-stomping bluegrass including at Rockygrass, where they won the band competition in 2016; the Telluride bluegrass Festival where they reached the band competition finals in 2017; and New Orleans’ Hogs for the Cause, among others. The group continues to experiment and expand their catalogue with the recent additions of Harry Clark (mandolin) and George Guthrie (banjo), who are beginning to take a more prominent role within the band by singing their own new and original songs rather than just filling space. The songs join those from the band’s latest album Glory Bound which came out last fall and was produced by J.T. Cure, a fellow Kentuckian and bassist for Chris Stapleton.

The Wooks will perform at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26, on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage and at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, and 8:15 on Sunday, July 28, on the Pink Floyd Garden Stage.

Magnolia Boulevard

Magnolia Boulevard. Photo by Kim Blackburn | Kim Blackburn Photography

It’s safe to say that Magnolia Boulevard, the Lexington group mashing up sounds of southern rock, jam, blues, funk and Memphis soul, has been turning heads ever since forming in early 2017. Whether it be the piercing vocals of Maggie Noelle, the way Gregg Erwin makes his guitar talk as it oozes emotion, the timely flourish of keys from Ryan Allen, the precision and attention to detail of drummer Todd Copeland or the hot and heavy bass lines and wide-eyed grin of John Roberts, the band is evidence of the sum being greater than it’s collective individual parts as the group exhibits an unparalleled interplay and willingness to explore between players that creates for a lively and entertaining live show that changes with each performance. That X-factor has caught the attention of some of the music industry’s heavyweights, with the band earning an endorsement from PRS Guitars following founder Paul Reed Smith coming across the band at an event in Lexington in May 2018 and more recently Paradigm Talent Agency.

Speaking of turning heads, Magnolia Boulevard returns to FloydFest after putting their stamp on last year’s event, taking home top prize in the gathering’s On The Rise competition. The group will look to make more waves in their return with sets at 10:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, on the Pink Floyd Garden Stage and at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage.

Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers. Photo by David McClister

One can’t talk Kentucky music without mentioning arguably the biggest modern day champion for the state and it’s artists in Tyler Childers. Not only is the Eastern Kentucky native putting out some of the most authentic, lively and poignant country music on the circuit currently, but he’s using his expanded following and platform to bring attention to other artists from the region. Those who’ve purchased the artist’s debut Purgatory will quickly recall the liner notes within that include a recommended list of artists recommended by Childers that includes local and regional acts such as fellow 2019 FloydFest performers The Wooks along with Colter Wall, Town Mountain and “Whoever is playing in your local waterin’ hole.”

Childers’ FloydFest appearance will come a week prior to the release of Country Squire – the artist’s highly anticipated follow-up to Purgatory – out Aug. 2 via his own Hickman Holler Records, under exclusive license to RCA Records. Childers one set at FloydFest will be at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26, on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage.

The Kentucky-bred FloydFest artists join the aforementioned Brandi Carlile (2019 Grammy winner of Best Americana Album for By the Way, I Forgive You, Best American Roots Song for “The Joke,” and Best American Roots Performance for “The Joke”), Kacey Musgraves (2019 Grammy winner of Best Country Album for Golden Hour, Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy,” Album of the Year for Golden Hour, and Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies”), Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real (consultant and contributor to the soundtrack of feature film A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper) and Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band (founding member and bassist of The Grateful Dead) along with Margo Price, Hot Tuna (electric and acoustic), Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass featuring Love Canon, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Motet, Jade Bird, The War and Treaty, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, American Aquarium, DJ Williams’ Shots Fired, New Orleans’ Suspects, Acoustic Syndicate, Songs from the Road Band, The Saturators, Lillie Mae, Kaletta & Super Yamba Band, Becca Mancari, Trout Steak Revival, Jon Stickley Trio, Mountain Heart, Yarn, Front Country, Pert Near Sandstone, Old Salt Union, The Yawpers, Bella’s Bartok, Circus No. 9, Honeysuckle, The Broadcast, Erin & The Wildfire, Sean McConnell, L.A. Edwards, 2018 FloydFest On the Rise runners up Travers’ Brothership, Acid Cats, Arkansauce, Downtown Abby & The Echoes, Marvelous Funkshun, Mason Via & Hot Trail Mix, The Northerners, The Volts, Tuatha Dea, Vintage Pistol, Elise Davis, Virginia Gentlemen, Pumphouse, Blue Mule, Chupacabras, Dead Reckoning, Dharma Bombs, Gote, Jordan Harman, Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers, Music Road Co, My Radio, Soulacoustix, The Floorboards, The Jam and The Wildman, among others.

For more information visit FloydFest.com.


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