Kentucky musicians release “Our Breathitt” honoring region’s heritage


JACKSON, Ky. — Released on Feb. 27, 2020, the Our Breathitt is a compilation album featuring original music and songs by artists Scott Allen, Jonathan Chapman, The Handshake Deals, and Kate Driskill.  

Created through Our Breathitt—a community collaboration that focuses on arts and culture, health, and education—the album is inspired by the lives, stories, and heritage of people in Breathitt County, Ky. written and recorded after a series of musician-led workshops in the community. 

Coordinated by musician & music therapist Cheyenne Mize, including musicians and community members Scott Allen, Jonathan Chapman, The Handshake Deals, Ryan Allen (Magnolia Boulevard) and Kate Driskill—workshops were lead with community partners including Nim Henson’s Geriatric Center, The Sapling Center – Jackson, Breathitt County High School, Breathitt County Public Library and Breathitt County Senior Citizens Center to inspire new and original music. 

“It was a pleasure and honor to spend time in Breathitt County, with the musicians involved in Our Breathitt and all the people we were able to work with through this process,” said Mize. “The richness of this place comes through in every note and word on this album. I’m so excited for more people to know the beauty of this gem of a place in Kentucky.”  

“The process of Our Breathitt was a great experience in collaborating with local musicians and Breathitt County youth,” said Laura Gregory, Casey Papendieck and Cory Shenk of The Handshake Deals in a joint statement. “We enjoyed getting out of our usual music routine and getting into local classrooms to play tunes for and with students who graciously shared their stories about where they are from and what they hope for in life. Music is an incredible universal language that brings together generations and cultures. We made new connections and friends and hopefully made an impact through storytelling and music in our community.”

“Working on this project taught me new ways to write songs and create music. It opened my eyes to the heart of my community and brought me to love where I am even more,” said Kate Driskill. 

“Every artist involved brought their unique sound and style to the table during the creation and recording of this project,” said Jonathan Champan. “I think the album has a little something for everyone.  Chances are…you are going to find one or two songs that really grab hold of you.” – Jonathan Chapman 

Our Breathitt was organized by IDEAS xLab, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. A portion of proceeds from album sales will support additional arts workshops in Breathitt County. 

Listen to and purchase Our Breathitt at BandCamp.

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