It’s the decaying of what once was that gives life to what will be. In Kentucky, the decay of the coal industry and the husks of communities, lives, and families it has left in its wake has made life hard for many in the Bluegrass State. Even for those lives and communities not affected directly, they still feel the weight of hardship and broken hearts that hangs in the air.
If there is one silver lining, it’s that the hard times of Kentucky have gone on to help inspire some of the most meaningful country music we’ve heard in the last decade. The mournful romanticism captured by artists like Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers, and Kelsey Waldon are fueling the country music insurgency. Times may be tough for many, but the spirit of Kentucky lives on, and manifests itself in music like it has since the early settlers first put stakes down in the state.
The 17-year-old Rhyan Sinclair proves this Kentucky wave of country music is no anomaly. It’s broad-based, and multi-generational. She like a chute of new country music life rising from the soil. But don’t slot her as just another name in a gaggle of artists emerging from Kentucky. She has the voice, the style, and songwriting to stand out, and at an age when most are busy navigating the throes of post adolescence, not penning songs that put them in superior standing compared to many writing songs in that state just south of the Kentucky border.