LEXINGTON, Ky. – The time has come for Kentucky fans to vote on a band to play the season-opening Kentucky Football Pregame Concert.
The Opening Act contest will culminate in three days of voting on Twitter this week, with eight musical acts competing for the right to play before the Wildcats host Central Michigan on Sept. 1. The contenders are:
Joslyn & The Sweet Compression – After growing up singing in the church choir, Joslyn Hampton cultivated her powerful and dynamic voice in stage productions at Kentucky State University. She teamed with her stepfather Marty Charters, a touring guitarist who has shared the stage with legends such as Junior Wells, Van Morrison, and Buddy Guy, to compose a captivating set of tunes and assemble an ace band. Joslyn & The Sweet Compression has become a headlining favorite at Central Kentucky music festivals, and clubs and events around the region. The band is poised to engage fans across the country with its hook-filled mix of funk and soul.
Avery Glenn Crabtree – Crabtree is a 40-year-old Kentucky native raised in Powell County who now lives in Lexington. He started playing shows at the age of 17 and through the years has fronted many different bands as well as filling in on lead guitar. Slowly honing his vocals, along with his front-man, lead-guitar, band-leader, and songwriting skills, Crabtree has shared the stage with artists such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Shooter Jennings, Doug Stone, Jason Michael Carroll, Joe Diffie, Aaron Tippin, Craig Wayne Boyd, Eddie Montgomery, Jamey Johnson and many others. He is an independent artist, songwriter, guitar player, vocalist, entertainer, manager, publicist, producer, son, husband and father.
Magnolia Vale – This country, sister duo from Lebanon, Kentucky, has recently released its EP on iTunes, “Sunburn”. The EP reached the top 10 within the first week of release. Magnolia Vale also released a single with an up-and-coming independent artist, Taylor Ray Holbrook, called “What If.” This single also climbed the iTunes country music charts and reached the top 20. Only 20 years old and soon to be juniors at Eastern Kentucky University, they are trying to share their love of music with everyone. Their identical looks are undeniable, and you can definitely feel their connection through their music with their family harmony. They have performed at various events, such as the Dallas Cowboys pregame show, local events, and festivals in their hometown and surrounding counties, and even received first place in the “Eastern Kentucky’s Got Talent” competition. Although Magnolia Vale is a country act, the duo brings all genres to the table.
Jericho Woods – From Breckinridge County, Kentucky, Jericho Woods is a band of veteran musicians who wed their state’s bluegrass, honky tonk and country roots into an aural stew that reflects the soil of their region and the music they grew up on. They often describe their sound as half-Grand Ole Opry and half-Muscle Shoals, but it’s more complex than that.
Isle of Eight – Isle of Eight is an indie-rock band made up of four Lexington natives. They combine the island guitar shapes and rhythms of Nick Bernard, the melodic and punchy bass lines of Austin Vitucci, the high-energy drumbeats of Dale Devore, and the creative lyric writing of Isaac Craft.
Brother Smith – Brother Smith is a young six-piece band native to the Greater Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky area. Led by brothers Wes and Aaron Smith, the group has created a unique blend mixing the heart of country, the creativity of funk and the passion of soul. Brother Smith’s humble beginning as two brothers with a passion for music quickly grew into a family with desire and ability to convey that same emotion through a larger sound. This organic and soulful approach breathes life into sounds of the yesteryear. Brother Smith’s influences range from the Eagles, Boston and Steve Miller Band, to James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Kirk Franklin. Brother Smith has also had opportunities to share stages with Sundy Best, Moon Taxi and many more.
Insulated – Insulated Is comprised of four Kentucky boys who were born to boogie: Drew Aud (lead vocals, lead guitar), Dave Brown (bass), Coty Burton (drums), Brandon Crawford (guitar). After playing their first show at the age of 9, they now have 16 years and hundreds of performances under their belts and continue to lay it down every single show with the same enthusiasm and passion! They have toured the South, opened for countless national acts and can play anything from classic country to your favorite hard-rock hits. Insulated is independently recording their first original album, which is expected to release winter of 2018.
Jordan English Band – English, a Lexington native, has been surrounded by music since he can remember. His love for the art grew naturally from being around musically inclined friends and family, having headphones practically glued to ears, and his insatiable desire to tinker around with every instrument he could get his hands on. All these facets propelled Jordan to pursue his love affair with the magic of music. “Sing Love” is Jordan’s first independent release.
These eight musical acts will compete in a three-round tournament with the winner decided by fan voting on polls tweeted by @UKAthletics. The four quarterfinal matchups will be on Tuesday, with the semifinals and finals following on Wednesday and Thursday. The eight finalists were selected from an impressive group of nominations based on performances submitted and social-media following with the family-friendly atmosphere of the Kentucky Football Pregame Concert Series in mind.
Concerts will once again be held on the plaza outside Gate 12 of Kroger Field. A schedule for this year’s concerts will be released at a later date.