By LARRY VAUGHT
How does a girl from Inez, Ky., who grew up a University of Kentucky sports fan end up in New York City playing country music?
For Annalyse McCoy, it’s a journey she has enjoyed and continues to enjoy even more now with the opening of the Opry City Stage — first-ever satellite location of country music’s highly regarded Grand Ole Opry in Nashville — on Broadway in Times Square.
“I grew up singing country music and doing musical theater as well. I went to school (for theater at Northern Kentucky University) and decided that New York had it all — acting, singing, playing music. But I never knew New York would get such a blossoming country music vibe. I was probably a little naive and also a little too confident to know better than to come to New York.
“I had visited New York a few times growing up. My parents were always very supportive and helped us see other parts of the world. But moving from Inez to New York was quite a change. It’s hard to make a living and hard to rise above the crowd.”
She met her husband, Ryan, in New York and they were part of the band “2/3 Goat” and also known as “Annalyse & Ryan” when they performed as a duo. Now the band is also known as “Annalyse & Ryan” as part of a rebranding process.
They’ll play June 7-8-14-21 at Opry City Stage as well as June 1 in Honesdale, Pa., and June 23 in Woodstock, N.Y., to open for Jimmy Vivino.
There’s also one other interesting note for Kentuckians here — she is a direct descendant of the McCoys of eastern Kentucky who feuded with the Hatfields. She says she grew up listening to stories about the feud and had a book at her house with the story of the McCoys passed on from her grandparents.
“It’s interesting to be part of that history. It was quite a bloody story at time,” she said. “It still comes up a lot when I am talking to people. I actually wrote a song (‘It’s in the Blood’) from the point of being a McCoy and being part of the tradition and pride of where you come from.”
She went to Northern Kentucky University on a theater scholarship, but her mother, father and brother all graduated from UK.
“I am definitely a UK fan, too,” she said. “I don’t get to go to a lot of games now, even when they play (basketball) up here because of our schedule. One of my best memories was back in 2012 when my family was visiting and we all went out and watched UK (on TV) win in the Final Four. But UK is definitely a big part of my family.”
Kentucky will be playing Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden Dec. 8th. “Annalyse & Ryan” do not have shows scheduled yet for the fall and winter, but the Opry City Stage has other performers with country music ties to Kentucky. However, if it worked out that that McCoy, a life-long UK fan, was performing that weekend it would be a perfect side trip for UK fans going to the game.
“That would be great. We’ll just see what happens,” McCoy said.