This isn’t Nicholas Jamerson’s first rodeo, but it is his second.
The singer-songwriter hailing from Prestonsburg returns to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena on Feb. 9 to headline the touring concert rodeo Bulls, Bands and Barrels, his first time doing so since headlining the event’s 2017 iteration as a member of Appalachian rock ‘n roll duo Sundy Best.
However, this time around Jamerson is headlining the event as a solo artist as he makes a name for himself after the duo’s March 2018 split.
The transition to a solo act has been difficult according to Jamerson, who says he’s had to work to rekindle relationships with fans, promoters and other industry folk who are familiar with the Sundy Best name but not his as much.
“It’s been an interesting transition going from Sundy Best to this,” said Jamerson. “People get used to you pushing the Sundy Best name, so all of the sudden when you begin to push Nicholas Jamerson some people have a tough time getting on board.”
One way to remedy the situation is to churn out a batch of new music, which Jamerson has done with a voice as smooth as molasses running thick amidst an Appalachian and country music backdrop.
Even prior to Sundy Best’s official break-up, Jamerson had been hard at work on new material, releasing full-length solo debut “NJ” along with the Brennen Meek collaborated “Star City Sessions Volume 1 and 2,” the later of which includes performances from Gregg Erwin of Magnolia Boulevard, Laid Back Country Picker and Wes and Aaron Smith of Brother Smith, among others.
While all of the projects were recorded in Jamerson’s hometown of Prestonsburg inside the Mountain Arts Center, plans are already in the works for his next project have the artist heading further south to record. Later this month Jamerson, joined by the Smith brothers, will head to Dacula, Ga., to record at the home studio of singer-songwriter Levi Lowrey.
Jamerson says the decision to record just north of Atlanta was due to him wanting to break out of the Eastern Kentucky bubble.
“It’s too easy to get into a comfort zone,” said Jamerson. “The MAC is only 20 minutes from my house. I just wanted to get out and do something new.”
Eastern Kentucky musicians will be on full display throughout Bulls, Bands and Barrels, with festivities including performances from Fallsburg’s Laid Back Country Picker and Campton’s Tyler Booth. The lineup continues the event’s Eastern Kentucky pipeline, having had Tyler Childers headline the event in 2018 after the previously mentioned Sundy Best filled the role the year prior.
Jamerson will be flanked yet again by the Smith brothers for his closing set, ready to bring a fiery country flare to the stage that matches the intensity and thrill of the event’s accompanying rodeo.
“You don’t always know going into a show what the vibe and energy from the crowd will be like, but I know it’ll be amped come Saturday,” said Jamerson. “It really is like riding a wild horse, and I’m ready to hop on.”
If you go
What: Bulls, Bands and Barrels rodeo featuring musical performances from Nicholas Jamerson, Laid Back Country Picker and Tyler Booth
When: 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9
Where: Kentucky Horse Park, Alltech Arena, 4089 Iron Works Parkway
More info: BullsBandsAndBarrels.com