The YouTube Rabbit Hole: #ShareTheLex Edition

I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. I also lived there from 2007-2009. I lived in nearby cities Richmond and then Danville from 2010 until July of 2013. Although I’m not there to enjoy it, it warms my heart to know Lexington is experiencing something of a renaissance of late. I think it’s great that VisitLex has taken a cue from Kentucky for Kentucky–to whom we owe a big debt of gratitude for slowly bringing more national attention to our kickass commonwealth–and launched a fun and funny viral campaign centered around a hashtag. Check out this hilarious #ShareTheLex video:


One of my goals in life, and something I’ve slowly been working on in my free time, is compiling a history of the Lexington, Kentucky music scene. It’s always been a little disappointing that the Lexington scene has never risen to the prominence of an Athens or a Louisville. However, if you do a little digging, you’ll find that for decades Lexington has had a rich music scene that has often been on the verge of receiving national attention.

One of Lexington’s closest encounters with the big leagues came in the form of a band by the name of Velvet Elvis. Velvet Elvis recorded an album for Enigma Records with Mitch Easter (who also produced the early REM records) in the mid-’80s. Their sound recalls both REM and Husker Du–two of the great heavy-hitters of 1980s college/indie rock–so it’s a little sad that Velvet Elvis never managed to breakthrough. Check out this live video:


If anyone knows where I can track down any of Velvet Elvis’s records, I would be eternally grateful. Here’s one of their music videos:


Speaking of 1980s college/indie rock, one of my newer favorite bands from the L-E-X plays in the tradition of Husker Du and Mission of Burma, but today. The band is Salad Influence, and they rule. Check out a set they played at the WRFL (Radio Free Lexington) studios:


Another near miss for Lexington was Paul K and The Weathermen. Interestingly, there was a brief period in the mid-’90s when future Wilco stickman Glenn Kotche manned the kit for The Weathermen. During that period, the band released in an album produced by The Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker. Check out a snippet from the Paul K doc A Wilderness of Mirrors in which Kotche is interviewed:


Another Lexington mainstay is The Blueberries. I first discovered The Blueberries years ago when my old band The Watching Stars opened for a two-piece that–if my memory serves me well–consisted of head-Blueberry Otto Helmuth on guitar and vocals and Tim Welch, formerly of Paul K & The Weathermen, on drums. I think I’m remembering that right, but regardless, I was so taken by the power pop songs I heard that night that an internet search after the show led me to discover The Blueberries. Here’s a video of The Blueberries in concert:


Of course, no discussion of Lexington’s music scene is complete without mentioning The Infected. Fronted by Nasty Nate for over twenty years, The Infected are the punk kings of Lexington. Former-Deanimator axeman Junkyard Jack Hogg played lead guitar for Nasty Nate’s crew in the late ’00s. He is featured on their Awake In Our Own Graves EP. Check out two of the songs from that record:


Finally, there’s Lexington’s one true success story: Sturgill Simpson. Sturgill actually hails from nearby Woodford County, but his old band Sunday Valley called Lexington home for a number of years. Here’s a video of Sturgill and his band playing a couple of songs in a brewery:


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