Coby Langham and Sean Whiting — two singer/songwriters from Danville and Paintsville respectively — have seen their fair share of open roads from behind the wheel of commercial trucks.
The time spent alone driving has provided inspiration for many songs which each artist will showcase when they join forces for a Jan. 5 collision of country, rock and soul at The Burl.
A lifelong native of Danville, Coby Langham’s first musical memories are of his great-grandmother playing the organ, It wasn’t until his teenage years that Langham picked up a guitar and played with friends. The music was put on the back burner upon graduation.
Re-energized to give music another go, Langham began writing and performing again nearly four years ago after connecting with area artists Jason Sinkhorn and Zane Hilton. The trio eventually formed the foundation of Coby Langham and the Citizen Band with Sinkhorn on bass and Hilton on guitar. The Citizen Band’s resulting sound is one of the honky tonk, foot stomping variety.
A truck driver by day, Langham enjoys his time on the road, saying he uses time along to think about his life experiences and the experiences of those he’s close to, which opens a door to many song ideas.
“I think trucking is an old-school profession,” Langham said. “They might have robots driving our trucks before too long, but until then I’m enjoying my years on the road.”
Langham’s time as a trucker along with a push from Sinkhorn and Hilton to pursue music again, have yielded “Years on the Road,” a new EP from Langham and the Citizen Band produced and engineered by J. Tom Hnatow at Lexington’s Shangri-la Productions.
Along with Robby Cosenza on drums, Hnatow also loaned his talent to the record on pedal steel and keys. Duane Lundy also helped to mix and master the EPs six tracks.
Langham says those planning to attend the show don’t want to miss Sean Whiting.
“(Sean) has one of those big classic rock and roll voices that will floor you every time you hear him… If people are coming to the show to see us, they need to make sure they don’t miss Sean’s set because it’ll be hotter than socks on a rooster.”
Born in West Virginia, Whiting moved to Kentucky at 3, growing up in Paintsville. Whiting recalls music constantly being around during his childhood, with his grandfather often having friends over to perform. His grandfather recognized Whiting’s ability to sing and keep rhythm, even at a young age, constantly pushing him to perform in front of crowds.
Whiting set musical aspirations aside during his teen years. A student at Johnson Central High School, he graduated in 1994, just two years before country music star Chris Stapleton. Though the two weren’t well acquainted, Whiting and Stapleton have share many similarities as vocalists, both featuring powerful, rangy voices set in a country and southern rock and soul aesthetic.
Until recently, Whiting worked as a commercial truck driver, much like Langham, as a means of supporting himself, his family and his artistic pursuits. Shortly after being laid off from his trucking job in 2016 Whiting opted to chase after music and in 2017 he released “Finally… The Beginning,” a nod to the debut release from the artist decades after first beginning to play.
After two years of touring the area and writing new music, Whiting is preparing to release a follow-up to “Finally… The Beginning” called “High Expectations.” The album, recorded with Kenny Miles of Wayne Graham at Fat Baby Studios in Whitesburg, has been pushed back from a previously scheduled Jan. 5 release following Whiting’s recent signing to Louisville-based Eastwood Records.
However, the show will still go on, as Whiting looks forward to sharing the stage on the evening with Langham.
“Coby’s songwriting is about as honest as anything you’ll hear,” Whiting said. “He’s been through a lot in his life and he conveys it so well with his voice and his songs. Us coming from similar backgrounds only adds to the fact of how truly blessed we are to be able to share our music with the world.”
If you go
What: Coby Langham and Sean Whiting concert with Laid Back Country Picker and Jason Sinkhorn
When: 9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5
Where: The Burl, 375 Thompson Rd.
Tickets: $10, theburlky.com