By Chris Egan
The Kentucky Project connected with Todd Lipscomb of the band the Kentucky Struts to chat about music, horses, and of course Kentucky.
For those who may not be familiar with The Kentucky Struts, please tell a little about the band and yourself.
KYS is a five-piece band from Cold Spring, Kentucky. Our sound and love of Americana music stems from our exposure to family bands on our boyhood trips to Bluegrass Festivals. In many ways we study and absorb influences like Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Gram Parsons and The Band and come off, at times, like Tom Petty. Our original material attempts to express the values of home, family and friends.
The band is described on your website as “unabashedly Kentuckian.” What elements of your, and the rest of the band’s, life in Kentucky show through in your music?
I think that comes from the instilled pride of Kentuckians. Meet a UK fan, or a Kentucky farmer, or even other Kentuckian musicians. There’s a thorough nature to their being.
The band is from Kentucky and that’ll never go away. I’ve since migrated across the big Ohio River to nurture my kids’ future as a potential artists and musicians. My boys study Bach and Mississippi John Hurt as a result. But, as they say, “You can take the boy out of Kentucky, but you can’t take the Kentucky out of the boy.” That is all too true.
The idea for The Year of the Horse project was wonderful in so many ways! What lead to the development of that project; a unique, extended, and quite intriguing way of releasing an album?
My wife and I both grew up around horses. And as I spend countless hours with the band and with music, I aspired to a project that would bring our worlds closer together; she being a visual artist and I, a songwriter. My overall goal for the Year of the Horse was to release the album as a community, not just as a band—with some songs.
That album was also released in support of horse rescue in Kentucky. How did you learn that there was a need for help with horse rescue in Kentucky and about the organization “Speak up for horses”?
My wife chose Speak up for Horses as a charity to focus on for the project and I curated the artists involved. I learned a lot during the process, and have since not engaged at all in events like The Kentucky Derby. How Kentucky is that?! 😉
The Kentucky Struts also provided a song and played live for the concert: Music for the Mountains 2, a benefit to help stop and raise awareness of Mountaintop removal coal mining. Tell us a little about how you came to be involved in that?
We first got involved with the Music for the Mountains project through our good friend Keith Neltner, who, at the time, was creating illustrations that address the profound issue of blasting the tops off of mountains—and its affect on the communities that deal with it. We followed his art to the first MFM concert and were amazed of the turnout and support. With that newfound knowledge and a few road trips down through Tennessee and the Carolinas, the first hand experience lent sobering evidence of the issue and we were first on-board for Music for the Mountains 2.
Are there any other issues affecting Kentuckians that you feel aren’t getting the attention they deserve?
In general, I try to support and promote farms and farmers. I’m inspired by their work ethic and overall community involvement. And I think, in some ways, I can relate to the lonesome nature of their craft.
Are you currently working on any new music?
Yes. KYS has a few demos in the making. But I’ve actually been spending a lot of time on a solo project that’ll likely include some of the Struts, as well as a cast of other great Northern Kentucky musicians.
Playing live anywhere soon?
Not until late summer. We’re taking some time off. We’ve booked some outdoor gigs and we’re being considered for Buckle Up Fest this summer in Cincinnati.
When can we expect your solo project, and the KY Struts new material to be released?
No release date planned for either project. But the first drop will be off the solo project in the form of a small batch 45 single in collaboration with Neltner Small Batch, hopefully by summer.
Where is your favorite place to play live in Kentucky?
The Southgate House Revival
What makes the Southgate House Revival different and better than any other place you play in KY?
Southgate House is the first place that gave us a chance. We kind of see it as home base and will promote it and the good people that run it proudly.
Thanks to Todd Lipscomb and the Kentucky Struts for their participation, great music, and efforts to make Kentucky ever better!
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The track the Kentucky Struts submitted to the Music for the Mountains 2 disc: