Info

MoxieTalk with Kirt Jacobs

Kirt Jacobs is the host and producer of MoxieTalk, a talk show that gives an intimate look into the courage, character and defining moments of today’s most inspiring individuals.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
MoxieTalk with Kirt Jacobs
2022
August
July
June
May
April


2021
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
June


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: 2022
Aug 8, 2022

MoxieMoments brings you Samantha Fish, Contemporary Blues Artist-Bourbon & Beyond, on what Moxie means to her.

“You should always get outside of the box,” Samantha Fish says while discussing her boundary-breaking new album Belle of the West. “Challenging yourself is how you grow.”

After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world. Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer while releasing a series of acclaimed albums showing her restless creative spirit, consistently taking her in new and exciting musicals directions.

The New York Times called Fish “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.” Her hometown paper, The Kansas City Star, noted, “Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club” and observed that the young artist “displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit throughout their careers.”

Having already made it clear that she’s more interested in following her heart than she is in repeating past triumphs, Samantha Fish delivers some of her most compelling music to date with Belle of the West, her fifth studio album. The deeply soulful, personally charged 11-song set showcases Fish’s sublime acoustic guitar skills as well as her rootsy, emotionally resonant songwriting.

Such memorable new originals as “American Dream,” “Blood in the Water,” “Need You More,” and “Don’t Say You Love Me” demonstrate the artist’s knack for organic Americana songcraft. At the same time, a trio of cover tunes—R.L. Burnside’s “Poor Black Mattie,” Lillie Mae’s “Nearing Home,” and the Jimbo Mathus-penned title track—attest to her considerable interpretive skills as well as her varied musical interests.

“To me, this is a natural progression,” Fish notes. “It’s a storytelling record by a girl who grew up in the Midwest. It’s very personal. I focused on the songwriting and vocals, the melodies and emotion, and bringing another dimension to what I do. I wasn’t interested in shredding on guitar, although we ended up with a few heavier tracks. I love Mississippi blues; there’s something very soulful and authentic about that style of music, so this was a chance to immerse myself in that.”

Fish recorded Belle of the West in the relaxed, rural creative atmosphere of the legendary Zebra Ranch Studios in the North Hills of Mississippi with producer Luther Dickinson (of North Mississippi Allstars fame). She worked previously on her 2015 album Wild Heart. The studio team included some of the region’s most iconoclastic musicians, including Dickinson, solo artist and Jack White associate Lillie Mae (whose distinctive vocals are featured on “Nearing Home”), much-traveled juke- joint blues artist Lightnin’ Malcolm (whose featured on “Poor Black Mattie”), Squirrel Nut Zippers founder Jimbo Mathus, upright bassist and beloved solo artist Amy LaVere, Tikyra Jackson, Trina Raimey and Shardé Thomas, granddaughter of the legendary Southern bluesman Otha Turner.

“I wanted to do this acoustic-electric record and tap into the style and swagger of Mississippi,” Fish states, adding, “Any time you dive into another place, another vibe and a new group of people, you’re challenging yourself to grow musically. I felt very at home at a Zebra Ranch, and I’ve known Luther and Malcolm for years, so it was a very comfortable situation. When you’re making a record like this, it has to feel natural if you want people to respond to it.

Belle of the West follows on the heels of Fish’s March 2017 release Chills & Fever, which achieved top 10 status in the Billboard Blues charts. Here she expanded her stylistic arsenal to take on a set of lesser-known vintage R&B gems, with help from members of garage-soul stalwarts the Detroit Cobras. “Having these two very different records come out back to back this year has been liberating,” says Samantha.

The creative drive that fuels Belle of the West and Chills & Fever has been a crucial element of Samantha Fish’s approach from the beginning. Growing up in a musical family in Kansas City, Missouri, she became obsessed with music early in life, taking up drums before switching to guitar at 15. By the time she was 20, she had formed her trio and self-released her first album. She soon caught the ear of the renowned blues label Ruf Records, which in 2011 released Girls with Guitars, which teamed her with fellow axewomen, Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. The same year saw Ruf release Fish’s solo studio debut, Runaway. The album was named Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.

Black Wind Howlin’ (2013) and Wild Heart (2015) followed, winning considerable critical acclaim and further establishing Fish as a prominent presence in the blues community. Wild Heart reached the top slot on Billboard’s blues chart. She also collaborated with blues-rock veterans Jimmy Hall and Reese Wynans on The Healers’ 2013 project. In addition, she jammed onstage with blues icon Buddy Guy and guested on Devon Allman’s album Turquoise.

Fish continues to maintain the same hardworking, prolific approach that’s carried her this far. “I think I’ve always had that,” she says. “Music is my life, so what other choice do I have but to go out and make music? We do tour quite a bit, and maybe it’s kind of crazy to put out two dramatically different albums in one year. But I like to work hard. This is who I am, and this is what I do, and when I’m writing and recording and touring is when I feel the most like myself. And now we have a moment where people are paying attention, so I have to make the most of it. I feel like I have a lot to say right now, so why not say it?”

Her musical future is an open road as far as Samantha Fish is concerned. “I’m never gonna be a traditional blues artist because that’s not who I am,” she asserts. “But it’s all the blues for me. When Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf came out, what they were doing didn’t sound like anything done in blues before. So you have to keep that kind of fire and spirit. I will never do Muddy Waters better than Muddy Waters, so I have to be who I am and find my best voice.

Aug 7, 2022

MoxieMoments brings you Katie George, Sportscaster & 2015 Miss Kentucky USA, telling us about a note she'd write to her past self and how she wants to be remembered.

Katie George sees her daily challenge to make herself and others better.

Louisville-native Katie graduated from Assumption High School, where she played volleyball for Coach Ron Kordes. She received several volleyball sports accolades and was featured in the 2010 Faces in the Crowd in Sports Illustrated magazine. Among her many accomplishments and recognitions, Katie led her team to the Regional 7 Tournament Championship twice, was named in Under Armour’s All-American Watch List, and was also named Region 7’s Player of the Year.

Katie came to the University of Louisville volleyball team and quickly moved to a starting position. She spent her summer overseas for the USA National Collegiate Team, winning the silver medal at the European Global Challenge Tournament in Pula, Croatia.

Having no previous experience in beauty pageants, Katie was crowned Miss Kentucky USA In 2015 and competed in the Miss USA pageant, finishing in the top 15.

Aug 6, 2022

MoxieMoments brings you Robert Curran, Artistic Director of the Louisville Ballet, telling us about their personal inspirations.

Trained at The Australian Ballet School & having enjoyed an exciting & fulfilling career with The Australian Ballet as a Principal Artist, Robert took the passion & discipline he developed as a dancer & set his sights on diversifying his knowledge, skills & abilities.

With education and experience, he continually expanded his ability to move his own body on stage &, through this, move an audience through a wide range of emotions. Beyond his dancing career, he strives to move people towards a satisfying encounter with dance.

Robert is motivated by the form that a dancer gains from training in the traditions of classical ballet, where respect & discipline can facilitate breathtaking strength & freedom.

He is also inspired by the innovation that forms the function of any artist, that being to bravely & boldly express oneself through art for the greater good of a community.

As Artistic Director, Robert contributes to the Global Arts Community, enriching his knowledge of the art form to which he has devoted his life.

He is excited by & committed to the Louisville community with its great respect for the arts and its exciting perspective on the future.

Aug 5, 2022

MoxieMoments continue with Chef Dallas McGarity, the Executive Chef & Owner of The Fat Lamb Modern Kitchen & Bar & Portage House Restaurants, telling us about his biggest triumph.

More about Chef McGarity, He grew up in rural South Carolina; his mom & mamaw instilled a passion for food early. After going to culinary school at Johnson & Wales University & working in Charleston, SC, for many years.

In 2004, he moved to Louisville and was encouraged that the food scene had much to offer a young chef & fell in love with the city.

After working at several Louisville fine dining places as Executive Chef, he was ready to open a restaurant as Executive Chef & Owner. With the help of his wife, Laura, The Fat Lamb ModernKitchen & Bar opened in Nov. 2016. The small, open-kitchen concept has received a great response from the highlands neighborhood within which it is located & continues to serve both local patrons & visitors upscale comfort food with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.

In March of 2018, Chef Dallas was approached to purchase Portage House Restaurant in Jeffersonville, IN. The riverfront view of the old house that the restaurant sits in was so charming that he & his wife decided it was time to expand. As a result, Portage House re-opened on March 23rd, 2018, with a new menu & new owners.

Portage House & The Fat Lamb continue to provide exceptional cuisine & fantastic service with unique atmospheres.

Since then, Chef Dallas has also taken on the Louisville food service operations at Copper & Kings Distillery with Alex&nder, the 3rd-floor lounge/bar serving a creative menu that changes frequently.

With all these different projects going on & a family life to maintain, Chef Dallas continues to support the community by doing many charity events each year & trying to give back to the community whenever possible. Dallas has received such Honors and Awards as:

  • Food Network’s Chopped Champion
  • Four-time James Beard House Dinner Invitee (2006, 2009, 2011, 2014)
  • Louisville Business First Forty Under 40 Honoree (2017)
  • Euphoria food & wine festival participant Greenville, SC (2013 -present)
  • Charleston wine & food festival participant (2015)
  • Atlanta food and wine festival participant (2012)
  • Lou. Chapter ACF Chef of the year (2013 & 14)
  • Sophisticated Living Magazine featured chef
  • Food & Dining Magazine featured chef
  • Slow Food Bluegrass member & supporter

Charitable Contributions & events Dallas has contributed to are: Bourbon & Bowties, Taste of St. Raphael, Home of the Innocent Backyard BBQ, Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Conrad Caldwell house; Gilda’s club; Highland Presbyterian Weekday School, Mama-to Mama; JCPS Chef’s Club for Elementary Students, State Fair Cooking demonstrations; March of Dimes; APRON Inc; Bloom Elementary School; Louisville Leopards among many others.

Dallas & his lovely wife Laura & 2 children reside in Louisville.

Aug 4, 2022

Explore our first moxie moment with Rob Dietrich, the Master Distiller & Blender of METALLICA | BLACKENED™ American Whiskey, giving his best piece of advice.

A little “back-story” on how BLACKENED came to be as follows:

BLACKENED began as a collaborative effort between Metallica & Master Distiller & Blender Dave Pickerell.

Sadly, Dave passed away in late 2018, shortly after the launch of BLACKENED.

In 2019, Master Distiller Rob Dietrich joined the team as Master Distiller & Blender taking the helm as Master Distiller & Blender in Dave’s passing and guardian of Dave’s legacy blend.

As unapologetic masters of the craft in their respective fields, they’ve built world-renowned legacies by carving out new spaces and bringing their singular, incendiary perspectives to everything they touch. Unlikely collaborators on the surface, their shared creative fire and dedication to craft make them anything but.

Together, they’ve created BLACKENED – an unconventional whiskey of uncompromising quality.

Rob serves as the guardian of Dave’s original recipe and brand steward moving into the future. He’s widely known for his ability to fuse traditional distilling methods with unique artistry.

Rob is well-regarded for his unique limited-release, cask finish expressions such as Snowflake, Sherry Cask, and more.

Rob is responsible for every aspect of production and is committed to maintaining the original recipe, artisanal methods, and handcrafted approach to creating world-class whiskey.

Rob Dietrich initially learned the art and science of distilling from legendary Jess Graber, whom he proudly calls his mentor. His passion for music was honed across 10 years spent in the music business with Bill Graham Presents as a freelance agent for various venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and The Fillmore in San Francisco and managing tours and festivals.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and served from 1992 to 1995.

His two tours in Somalia and relief operations in Haiti helped shape his life-affirming philosophy.

Aug 2, 2022

Eric is deeply passionate about raising awareness of mental, physical, & sexual abuse within Independent Baptist Churches & is currently producing a documentary on the subject.   

His accompanying podcast, Preacher Boys, launched in Jan. 2020, quickly surpassed 200k downloads in just 9 months!

As Host & Creator of The Preacher Boys, he sits down with brave survivors who shed light on DECADES of physical, mental, & sexual abuse within the Independent, Fundamental Baptist movement,  as well as a 2nd Podcast called Film School’d-that has featured directors, actors, writers, academy award-winning FX artists, & more film industry experts.

Since 2013, he has fulfilled various media production roles, including as a videographer, photographer, writer & graphic designer. His work has taken him to over 20 states & 13 different countries & has included a documentary film, an 8-episode mini-series, several commercials.

Jul 11, 2022

Dr. Khiani is 1 of 5 siblings & is the son of Jaikrishin & Veenu Khiani.

Kamal specializes in Diagnostic Radiology with Subspecialization in Musculoskeletal Radiology.

He is a unique individual with degrees in BOTH engineering & medicine, graduating Summa Cum Laude with Masters in Electrical Engineering from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 1997 & the UofL School of Medicine in 2002.

Before those 2 massive academic achievements, in 1995, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering.

He then completed his pre-med training @ the UofL-affiliated hospitals from 2003-04, & his Radiology Residency @ the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA., from 2004-08 & his Musculoskeletal Radiology fellowship @ the Yale University School of Medicine from 2008-09.

In addition, he graduated valedictorian (that’s 1st in class) from his 1990 Fern Creek High School graduating class, & if all those educational milestones were not enough to keep him busy, he enjoys Ballroom Dancing, Golf, Basketball, movies, board games & spending time with his beautiful wife Jamie, & his 3 beautiful daughters Anjali, Raina, & Ellie as well as his son Lukis.

Kamal was instrumental in finding a solution to a rare disease called severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). For short- a variation of the so-called “Bubble Boy Disease” that made Raina wildly susceptible to fungal, bacterial & viral infections. As a result, she needed a bone marrow transplant, which was apt to kill her.

Jun 27, 2022

The Whitney/Strong Organization is a non-profit focused on responsible gun ownership & ending gun violence by taking a non-partisan approach to legislation in Ohio, Kentucky & on the federal level by acting on data to implement educational opportunities & funding research to find science-based steps to reverse the pervasiveness of gun violence.

Impassioned after surviving a Sept. 6, 2018, mass shooting in Cincinnati, OH., Whitney cofounded Whitney/Strong with her husband, Waller.

Under her leadership, Whitney/Strong has executed a # of responsible gun ownership solutions, including securing the 1st hearing on gun safety legislation in Frankfort in over a decade & with a bipartisan coalition of KY. State Senators.

Joining Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to announce the STRONG Ohio legislation, responding to the community call of “Do Something” after the Dayton Oregon District shooting in 2019.

Distributing over 12,000-gun locks across KY. & OH. thanks to a partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics & the support of the National Shooting Sports Fdtn.

Before her calling, Whitney was employed by Fifth Third Bank for 15 years as VP, Digital Lending Product Mgr.

In 2018, Whitney & her team launched the 1st omnichannel digital lending application in the industry.

A wife & a mother of 2, Whitney earned both undergraduate & graduate degrees at the Univ. of Louisville.

She enjoys traveling to new locations with her family, musical theatre, college basketball, & getting outdoors.

Jun 13, 2022

Gant Hill & Associates (formerly Venterra Realty), founded in 2002, specializes in enhancing the best interests and outcomes of its clients that own, invest, lease &/or operate real estate.

Having served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute, based in Chicago, IL, and as the Region 7 VP, overseeing the CCIM chapter activities in seven Midwest Chapters, Gant takes his leadership role seriously.

Prior to his appointment to those respective roles, he was President of the KY. CCIM Chapter, overseeing membership of over 215 commercial real estate professionals. Gant has been active in non-profit organizations that are consistent with his passions–real estate & education.

In honor of his community service & professional accomplishments, Gant was named as 1 of the 2004 Louisville Business First’s “Forty Under Forty” and nominated to the 2008 Leadership Louisville Class.

In 2010, he was named a Louisville Connector–(1 of 123 selected out of 6,000 local nominations)- and then chosen to be a 2011 Bingham Fellow, as well as being named the #20 Most Powerful & #8 Most Powerful under 45 by Louisville Magazine.

Gant resides in Louisville & has a daughter named Norah & a son named Phillip.

Jun 6, 2022

As President and CEO of Greg Coker Development Inc., Greg’s mission is to develop the individual, team & organization. Considered an expert in human behavior & organizational dynamics, his vision is due to reading his books attending his keynotes/workshops; participants are moved to achieve higher levels of performance & their organizations better places to work after graduating from W. KY. Univ. with an undergraduate & Master’s degrees in organizational communication & psychology, he joined the powerful D.C. lobbying firm of Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, representing some of America’s top cos. & managing campaigns ranging from U.S. Senate to POTUS. Still, in the immortal words of Happy Chandler, “I never met a Kentuckian that wasn’t trying to get back home,” Greg heard the call to return to the Bluegrass joining the telephone Co., BellSouth, & what is now AT&T, with responsibility for lobbying K.Y.’s state legislative delegation & K.Y.’s 6-member Congressional Delegation & both U.S. Senators. While lobbying K.Y.’s federal delegation, Greg Coker formed a close friendship with then-Congressman Ernie Fletcher, which led to an opportunity to join Fletcher’s campaign for gov. & an eventual position in his administration as the Commissioner of the K.Y. Public Service Commission regulates the state’s top public utilities. After a 4-yr. a stint in public service, he returned to corporate America, joining an energy co. responsible for the public affairs for a 6-state area, in what Greg Coker keenly describes as having been hired by a great leader & fired by a great manager; this led him to start a journey that continues today as an author, motivational speaker, workshop leader & exec. coach.

He is the author of Building Cathedrals: The Power of PurposeSoft Skills Field Manual as well as  Healing the Wounds: Forgiveness & Reconciliation in the Workplace. His clients include Gnrl. Motors, McDonald’s, AT&T, Vanderbilt Univ., TVA, Duke Energy, State Farm & high-performance individuals who benefit from his personal coaching. He has been featured in national magazines, public radio, podcasts, and television programs. His workshops and keynote speeches include The Power of Purpose, Leadership & Management, Communication, Teamwork, Culture, Customer Satisfaction, Stress Management & Problem Solving. He conducts Emerging Leadership programs in 5 states & speaks across the U.S.  Greg Coker and his wife Nicki reside in Bowling Green KY. & have 2 children & 1 granddaughter.

May 30, 2022

A little “back-story” on how BLACKENED came to be as follows:

BLACKENED began as a collaborative effort between Metallica & Master Distiller & Blender Dave Pickerell.

Sadly, Dave passed away in late 2018, shortly after the launch of BLACKENED.

In 2019, Master Distiller Rob Dietrich joined the team as Master Distiller & Blender taking the helm as Master Distiller & Blender in Dave’s passing and guardian of Dave’s legacy blend.

As unapologetic masters of the craft in their respective fields, they’ve built world-renowned legacies by carving out new spaces and bringing their singular, incendiary perspectives to everything they touch. Unlikely collaborators on the surface, their shared creative fire and dedication to craft make them anything but.

Together, they’ve created BLACKENED – an unconventional whiskey of uncompromising quality.

Rob serves as the guardian of Dave’s original recipe and brand steward moving into the future. He’s widely known for his ability to fuse traditional distilling methods with unique artistry.

Rob is well-regarded for his unique limited-release, cask finish expressions such as Snowflake, Sherry Cask, and more.

Rob is responsible for every aspect of production and is committed to maintaining the original recipe, artisanal methods, and handcrafted approach to creating world-class whiskey.

Rob Dietrich initially learned the art and science of distilling from legendary Jess Graber, whom he proudly calls his mentor. His passion for music was honed across 10 years spent in the music business with Bill Graham Presents as a freelance agent for various venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and The Fillmore in San Francisco and managing tours and festivals.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and served from 1992 to 1995.

His two tours in Somalia and relief operations in Haiti helped shape his life-affirming philosophy.

May 23, 2022

Join Kirt Jacobs as he talks with the crowd at Railbird!

May 16, 2022

The blues is music for all time—past, present, and future—and few artists simultaneously exemplify those multiple temporal moments of the genre like North Mississippi’s Cedric Burnside.

The Mississippi Hill Country blues guitarist and singer/songwriter contain the legacy and future of the region’s prescient sound stories. At once, African and American and southern and Mississippian, these stories tell about love, hurt, connection, and redemption in the South. His newest contribution to this tradition is I Be Trying, a 13-track album treatise on life’s challenges, pleasures, and beauty. “Life can go any kind of way,” Burnside says. He would know with almost 30 years of performing and living blues in him.

Burnside’s blues inheritance, the North Mississippi Hill Country blues, is distinct from its Delta or Texas counterparts in its commitment to polyrhythmic percussion and its refusal of familiar blues chord progressions. Often, and especially in Burnside’s care, it leads with extended riffs that become sentences or pleas or exclamations, rendering the guitar the talking drum like its West African antecedent. Riffs disappear behind and become one with the singer’s voice, like the convergence of hill and horizon in the distance. Sometimes they become the only voice, saying what the singer cannot conjure the words for. Across some nine individual and collaborative album projects, Burnside’s voice eases seamlessly into, through, and behind the riffs spirit gifts him, carrying listeners to a deep Mississippi well. There is a mirror there in the water of that well, in Burnside’s music, that shows us who and what we have been, who we are, and what we might be if we look and heed.

The 42-year-old Burnside was born in the blues as much as he was in funk, rock, soul, and hip-hop. These latter sensibilities are reflected across his work as he drives Hill Country blues into grooves that lend themselves readily to an urgent, modern moment. But he is also keenly his grandfather’s grandson, who he studied so carefully over a decade playing with him that he came to know him better than his self. The elder Burnside bluesman, the hill country blues luminary RL Burnside, and his wife Alice Mae wrapped their Holly Springs land and family in warmth, joy, and music. RL Burnside, alongside collaborators and contemporaries from David “Junior” Kimbrough to Jessie Mae Hemphill and Otha Turner, cultivated the sound and feel of Black North Mississippi life and offered it up to the world. Cedric observed and absorbed this art world intently and with wonder as a child, declaring to himself, this is the music I want to play, and I want to do that for the rest of my life. Moreover, this was the offering he, too, wanted to make and the life of service to the spirit through blues that he wanted to live. By age 13, he was on the road with his “Big Daddy” Burnside, playing drums, being raised by the music and the road, and developing the next, electric generation of the Hill Country calling and sound.

Burnside’s two Grammy-nominated album projects— the 2015 Descendants of Hill Country and 2018’s Benton County Relic—were capstone statements for a lifetime of musical labor channeling the blues spirit on drums, guitar, and vocals in the North Mississippi Hill Country tradition. I Be Trying, Burnside’s second release with Alabama’s Single Lock Records, is another unfolding of his influence and voice as an architect of the second generation of Hill Country blues. This album pushes just beyond his long-time roles as Hill Country blues collaborator, torchbearer, and innovator into the artist’s inner life rooms. Written in reflection on and off the road in 2018, the album responds to the confusion and anger he felt in the years after a series of deaths in the family and a host of other interpersonal hurts, some he dished out and some he took. The album opens with an acoustic lament, “The World Can Be So Cold,” that encapsulates the tenderness of this pain and then quickly rallies and pleads with the Lord for help on the rousing second track and the album’s first single, “Step In.” The title track, on which Burnside is accompanied on background vocals by his youngest daughter Portrika, is a plea for grace and forgiveness from a man “still learning and trying to be the best me.” Burnside’s signature approach and contribution to the Hill Country genre—electricity, intention, and timeless timbre—is seamlessly complemented by star collaborators Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell, and North Mississippi All-Stars guitarist Luther Dickinson, and principal collaborator Reed Watson on drums.

With lessons to impart, Burnside strips down the sound with precision so there can be no misunderstanding, allowing for space and breath where otherwise chords and reverb might be present. This portion of the offering is a guidebook for life’s dark times, set to mostly minor riffs and pulsing bass and percussion rhythms that immediately set in the soul like the gospel. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, “Ask the Lord for revelation/so [you] can see clearer” and “keep on pushing as hard as [you] can,” he advises to a march on “Keep On Pushing”; “Be careful who you talk to/ain’t no telling what they might do” he warns on “Gotta Look Out” over a menacing bass eighth-note couplet on the one and three. Recorded over a few sessions at Royal Studios in Memphis with lifelong friend and fellow North Mississippi descendant Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, I Be Trying is Burnside boiled down by a wave of fiery blue anger from descendant to relic to human.

What is left, and this is everything, is a resonant kind of love. Buoyed by his readings of Lao Tzu and rumination on his own life choices and hurts, Burnside says he is “trying his best to implement love” in his life and relationships with others. “There’s not enough love shown in the world. People have a lot of regrets. The world needs more love.” In the places where love glistens on the album’s surface, like in the harmonies on the anthem groove “Love Is the Key” or in the smooth, purposeful falsetto sliding over the strings on the final track, “Love You Forever,” Burnside’s desire for us all to “really just try to come closer” is palpable.

But this is the blues, so love is necessarily double-edged. On two covers, one of RL Burnside’s “Bird Without a Feather” and another of Junior Kimbrough’s “Keep Your Hands Off Her,” which Burnside titles by its signature opening threat, “Hands Off That Girl,” there is hurt and fear, quiet menace, and outright danger. “Dark,” he admits, “but what people go through.” Flashing this side of love’s sword, Burnside reminds us of the complex, raw, blues people legacy that undergirds his art. Still, he says on the soaring “Love Is Key,” which is his thesis as of late, “a life filled with love is the key/yes it is.”

Blues is an embodied practice that frequently crosses the boundaries of reality and fiction, and as such, Burnside appears as himself in Bill Bennett’s Tempted (2001), a New Orleans-set thriller; Arliss Howard’s Mississippi-based romantic comedy Big Bad Love; and Craig Brewer’s Tennessee-based drama Black Snake Moan (2006). However, he also can become something other than himself. In 2021, Burnside played the title character in Don Simonton and Travis Mills’ story of Texas Red, a Franklin County, Mississippi juke joint owner who was hunted by a mob for a month after defending himself from an attack and eventually caught and killed. Burnside brings a bluesman’s haunted gravitas to the role, balanced about life and death and freedom even in the most unspeakable moments. Like his music, this role is ancestral blues work that honors the dead and their legacies to teach and heal new generations.

Burnside recalls chopping wood and hauling water as a child, and these days he is in his garden growing food and contemplating getting some chickens. This penchant for cultivation and innovation that has always characterized his music spills over to the land, especially in this moment of shift wrought by pandemic life. On a hunting trip to Montana, Burnside connected to nature and his interior life in a new way. This feeling, one of opening, was a revelation to him. It underscores his love strivings and, along with his studies of the Dao, even changes how he structures and writes songs. It is a process of “realizing what was already there,” he says, of remembering. Love is vital, and love is work.

Burnside’s turn inward has him considering his place in the family legacy of professional blues musicians. He is a proud father of three daughters, ages 22, 18, and 15, all of whom can play drums and guitar, and is looking forward to more collaborations like the one with the youngest Burnside daughter on “I Be Trying.” Striving for transparency with his children about his own life, he lets them know not to be too hard on themselves. He says Big Daddy always cared for his family, including his 13 children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Despite his touring schedule, Burnside is deeply grateful for his capacity to support and be present for his children. He says, “I have been there, and I will be there.” That’s for sure about the past, present, and future of the North Mississippi Hill Country blues, too.

May 9, 2022

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Liz Cooper never dreamed she would be the Folk-Blues Singer-Songwriter she is today, with her distinctive voice — and androgynous, salty, caramel drawl — captivates one’s soul it has been said.

Still, the interplay with bandmates Grant Prettyman on bass and Ryan Usher on drums fascinates.

In fact, from a young age, everyone believed she was going to be a professional golfer.

Golf was just a hobby for her, though; music had always been a passion.

She only pondered and dreamed of it, but it wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she decided she wanted to pursue music as a career.

So, leaving behind her friends, family, and college golf scholarship, Liz Cooper packed her things and moved to Nashville, TN.

Known for her unique guitar picking and haunting tone, she is steadily making a name for herself in the music industry.

Liz is a self-proclaimed “the happiest girl,” Liz ironically describes her lyrics as dark and soulful.

Growing up on classic rock artists like The Grateful Dead and The Band play into Liz Cooper’s music.

May 3, 2022

A native of rural western Kentucky’s rolling hills and coal mining communities, Grayson Jenkins is a singer-songwriter who now calls Lexington, KY, his home. After attending the University of Kentucky and working there for four years, Grayson walked away from his salaried job in 2017 to chase his dream as a full-time musician.

With his recent ‘Cowboy Dream’ EP, Grayson is poised to reach even more ears and hearts in the coming year. This release will be the first in a wave of new music recorded with an A-list band. The team included: Miles Miller (Sturgill Simpson), Jesse Wells (Tyler Childers), Nicholas Jamerson, Kenny Miles (Wayne Graham), and many more.

A late-comer to the music world by most standards – Jenkins played his first show and wrote his first song at 21. Now 28, Jenkins has two albums under his belt and feels more focused and energized than ever about his music. His lyrics are inspired by the words of Mark Twain, who always said, “Write what you know.” In keeping with this motto, Grayson’s songs pay homage to the things most important to him—family, friends, and a life without regrets.

John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Petty, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and many others have influenced his unique brand of Kentucky country music. His latest studio album, Cityscapes & Countrysides, was released in April 2017 and has garnered attention from radio and the press in the region.

Grayson maintains a busy performance schedule of 125+ shows a year, both as a solo performer and with his full band.

As he grows as an artist and writer, look to see more great things from Grayson Jenkins.

Apr 25, 2022

Samantha (Sam) Fore is a first-generation Sri Lankan-American from Lexington, Kentucky. She started her pop-up restaurant in 2016 after traditional Sri Lankan brunches in her home outgrew her dining room. Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites™ pop-up menus include Sam’s spin on Southern classics and riffs on her mother’s time-tested recipes. Tuk Tuk is one of the few representations of Sri Lankan cuisine in the United States and reflects Sam’s Sri Lankan upbringing in the American South. Her work has been featured in Food & Wine, Taste of the South, and Fine Cooking magazines. She was selected as one of Southern Living magazine’s 2020 Cooks of the Year and was named as one of Plate Magazine’s 2018 Chefs to Watch. She also serves as Director of Technology for the LEE Initiative.

Apr 18, 2022

Being Master Distiller is something Brent Elliott says is hard to call a job because, to him, “it’s a privilege and a passion to be a part of Four Roses.”

A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Brent became Master Distiller at Four Roses in September 2015. He is uniquely qualified for this role… after all, he’s been involved in Producing Four Roses premium Bourbons since he began with the company in 2005.

As the Distillery’s Director of Quality, Brent’s years of experience with Four Roses include everything from applying his Chemistry degree in production, managing barrel inventories, production planning, to selecting barrels for special Single Barrel bottlings and Limited Edition products. Brent applies his on-the-job experience to his role of Master Distiller, ensuring that each Four Roses product has the fruity, smooth and mellow character, along with a hint of spice, that the brand has become known for around the world.

Every stage of the production process is critical, and you’ll find Brent’s heart and soul in every one of them.

Named Master Distiller/Blender of the Year at the 2020 Icons of Whisky America award ceremony,

Brent Elliott is particularly proud of Small Batch Select, the distillery’s newest permanent product-line extension since 2006, and the most significant addition to the storied history of the brand since he became master distiller.

Apr 4, 2022

Kirt attended the Railbird Festival in Lexington, KY. Come see who he got a chance to talk to.

1