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Local Music Mondays is a weekly segment produced by WUKY's DeBraun Thomas. Check here for archived episodes, extended interviews, and extras.

Local Music Monday: Ben Sollee

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On this week’s Local Music Monday, WUKY’s DeBraun Thomas features an internationally acclaimed artist with deep Kentucky roots.

Ben Sollee is a Lexington native who grew up has been around musical his whole life. A graduate of Lexington’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Sollee first started playing around town in different coffee shops. Sollee it wasn’t until he joined the house band on Woodsongs that he truly got to get his feet wet.

“So I played as part of the stage band for that for some 200 broadcasts, sat on the banks of the river, the musical river that is and watched and listened to folks like Odetta and Roger Mcguinn, and Chris Thile and Ralph Stanley and all these amazing artists come through and tell their stories and perform their songs and I think there could have been no better education or school for me.”

As a cellist, Sollee’s music stands out as he blends soul and folk on a traditionally classical instrument. While using the cello in a way that can be seen as unconventional, Sollee says he’s using it as a gimmick or to stand out, but that he’s using the cello because it fuels his passions.

“There’s been cellists along the path that have done it, but so far there haven’t been any that necessarily went out and made a career as a singing folk cellist and I think that’s one of the things I enjoy about it, but I don’t do it because it’s not exploited, I don’t do it because it’s fertile ground cause I don’t know if it is, I do it just because I find it really accessible and inspiring to use the cello.”

Ben Sollee will be performing on Friday August 22nd along with Coralee & The Townies and Josh Nolan at WUKY’s Phoenix Friday downtown at Phoenix Park.

DeBraun Thomas fell in love with radio at a young age but only had interest in working in radio after learning Funk musician Sly Stone got his start in radio. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Thomas moved to Lexington in 2009 to attend the University of Kentucky and pursue a career in radio. Thomas joined WRFL in 2009 and through the UK school of Journalism, Thomas had 2 features air on WUKY. In October of 2012, Thomas began interning at WUKY and produced the Unghosting of Medgar Evers. In August of 2013 Thomas became a staff member at WUKY and since that time, Thomas regularly produces the weekly segment Local Music Mondays which highlights local musicians in Lexington. Thomas hosts the Crunkadelic Funk Show which airs Saturday nights at 9pm and also produced a documentary on the 50th anniversary of the March on Frankfort. In addition to producing and hosting a radio show, Thomas also explores his other passion as a musician in Lexington.
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