Confederate Railroad first rolled onto the national country music scene in the early 90s with its unique style and sound.
Headed by founder and frontman Danny Shirley, the former backup band for both David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck got their big break by signing with Atlantic Records. The first single from their debut album ("Confederate Railroad") was "She Took It Like A Man". It went to No. 26, a preview of what was to come. "The next two singles, "Jesus and Mama" and "Queen of Memphis" went to the top of the charts. Three more huge hits followed, "Trashy Women", "When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back", and "She Never Cried". "Trashy" would lead to a Grammy nomination and become their signature song. That album with six hits and nearly three million sales brought Confederate the Academy of Country Music's Best New Group Award in 1993 as well as numerous nominations from the Country Music Association and the British Country Music Foundation.
The second album, "Notorious", produced one of the group's most popular songs "Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind" which became a No. One video as well. "Elvis and Andy" and "Summer in Dixie" would further establish the Railroad as one of the most versatile acts in the business. This album would sell more than one million. Their overal totals are 18 charted hits and five million albums sold.
From rowdy country to raw emotion, a Confederate Railroad concert today covers a wide range of feelings. Young people will be there rocking to "Trashy Women", while their parents and even grandparents will likely be singing along to "Jesus and Mama". The band plays 100 or so dates each year. Whatever the venue, they are right at home...be it a fair, a club, or a biker show. Shirley, the lead singer and vocalist, and his mates, Mark Dufresne on drums, Mo Thaxton on bass and vocals, Rusty Hendrix on lead guitar and Joey Recker on keyboards and vocals are obviously having fun right along with their appreciative audience. At the end of each show, the band stays around until every fan who wants an autograph, or to pose with the group for a picture or just say "hello" is taken care of.
The Kentucky Headhunters created a hybrid of honky tonk, blues, and Southern rock that appealed to fans of both rock and country music. The origins of the Kentucky Headhunters lie in 1968, when Fredand Richard Young began playing together with their cousins Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney at the Youngs' grandmother's house. Mark Orr also later joined them. The first incarnation of the band was called the Itchy Brothers, and the group played together informally for over a decade. After about 13 years, the bandmembers began launching separate careers: Richard Young went off to write songs for Acuff-Rose, while Fred Young began touring with country beauty Sylvia. Martin became a member of Ronnie McDowell's band, while Kenney dropped out of music. In 1985, Martin decided to reassemble the Itchy Brothers. When Kenney declined to rejoin the group, Martin remembered Doug Phelps, whom he had met while on tour with McDowell. Phelps joined the new project, which was named the Kentucky Headhunters. Besides Martin and Phelps, the band also included the Young brothers and Doug's brother Ricky Lee Phelps.
The Headhunters started playing twice monthly on The Chitlin' Show, a program on Munfordville, Kentucky radio station WLOC. From these 90-minute performances, the Headhunters built up a following. They sent an eight-song demo to Mercury, and soon after, the label signed the group. The original demo tape was remixed, and became the basis of the band's first album, 1989's Pickin' on Nashville, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews upon its release and quickly became a hit. "Dumas Walker" reached number 15 in the spring of 1990, followed by the group's biggest hit, the number six "Oh, Lonesome Me." In 1991, the Headhunters released their second effort, Electric Barnyard. The album received mixed reviews, couldn't muster a single, and sold weakly. In summer 1992, the Phelps brothers left the group to form Brothers Phelps, a more traditional country group.
The remaining Headhunters brought ex-Itchy Brothers Anthony Kenney and Mark Orr to the group, and the rehashed lineup released Rave On! in 1993. The album marked a progression toward bluesy Southern rock, which came to fruition later that same year with That'll Work, a collaboration with former Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson. In 1996, Doug returned on lead vocals, and a year later the band issued Stompin' Grounds. Songs from the Grass String Ranch followed in 2000, and Soul appeared in spring 2003. Big Boss Man was released in 2005 and Flying Under the Radar in 2006, both from CBUJ Entertainment. Dixie Lullabies, the group's 12th album, and first studio recording of new original material since 2003, appeared from Red Dirt Records in 2011. In 2015, the Headhunters released another collaborative album with Johnnie Johnson, Meet Me in Bluesland, drawn from unissued sessions recorded in 2003, two years before Johnson's death. Just before entering the studio to record their next studio LP, bandmates Richard and Fred Young lost their father. That loss, combined with the excitement of the band's first European tour, added an emotional poignancy to On Safari, which was released in 2016.
The Kentucky Headhunters, declared "the great American rock 'n' roll band" by Billboard magazine, began their professional journey in 1968 when brothers Fred and Richard Young and cousins Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney formed the Southern blues-rock band Itchy Brother. The band morphed into The Kentucky Headhunters in 1986. Their first album, 1989's Pickin' On Nashville, was released by Mercury Records and surprised the world, becoming a bona fide hit, selling over two million copies. The album won a Grammy Award, three Country Music Awards, an American Music Award and an Academy Of Country Music Award. It spawned four consecutive Top 40 Country hits. Currently, the band is made up of Richard Young, Fred Young, Greg Martin and Doug Phelps.