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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: Travis Young

Travis Young

This week DeBraun profiles Travis Young of the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers.

Travis Young is a native of Georgetown, Kentucky who moved to Lexington while attending Transylvania University. After graduating, Young spent a few years overseas before returning to Lexington, but it wasn’t until after he had been back in the Bluegrass that he decided to embrace his Kentucky roots.

“When I’m living abroad, when I’m living in Ireland, I’m filled with interest and wonder in the place that I’m living in, I want to learn everything I can about it, but while I’m back here at home, I take everything for granted, so the thought actually crossed my mind, what extremely distinctly Kentucky thing could I learn while I’m waiting for the next great opportunity, I decided there was nothing more Kentucky than the banjo, I went out, rented a banjo from them and started taking lessons from a local banjo player named Tim Lake, that opportunity did come around and I got a job teaching English in Japan.”

Shortly after moving back to Lexington, he was recruited by Joel Serdenis and started the band the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers. The group has been part of the Lexington music scene for the last decade, but has had its share of changes. Young says while the transition between lead singers was a tough one, the band has evolved into something completely different.

“One song went from a straight ahead Bluegrass song, to a gospel number, one song went from straight ahead bluegrass to Blues, we tweaked things and rearranged things and wrote completely new material, that was probably the biggest transition, but that’s happened in smaller versions on other occasions since, but it’s all about reinvention, we started as four guys, all acoustic, banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and acoustic upright bass and now we’re an eight piece band.”

After having played at many different music festivals, Young and the band decided to put on their own festival, the Moonshiner’s Ball. The festival is being held again this year at Homegrown Hideaways in Berea. Young says the goal of the festival is not just to bring a community together, but to build something for all Kentucky musicians.

“Can we make a big stage that’s run by artists and by artists who came up in this scene and know the struggles that come along with that and have felt the pain of being a Kentucky artist and that will always be looking to grow and build the Kentucky music scene, even as the festival grows, so that eventually, like those other festivals we discussed, we’ll be putting our Kentucky artists side by side with national artists and I think at that point people will realize there’s not that much of a difference.”

Travis Young performs with the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers. The band will be performing on May 16th at the Moonshiner’s Ball. More information about the band can be found here..

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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