You will never mistake the Kentucky HeadHunters for any other country band. This simple fact has closed some doors for this group over the years. But far more opportunities have come for this country music menagerie. The roots for this Edmonton, Kentucky group run deep. The current evolution of the group takes the form of members Doug Phelps, brothers Richard and Fred Young, their cousin Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney. For those who don't recall, the Kentucky HeadHunters evolved from an earlier band called 'Itchy Brother'. When the itching stopped around 1980, the Young brothers and Greg Martin joined the Phelps brothers (Ricky Lee and Doug) to create the HeadHunters. In late 1989, the Kentucky HeadHunters recorded a tasty eight song cassette that wrangled the group a contract with Mercury Records. The Kentucky HeadHunters' debut CD, 'Pickin' On Nashville' was actually an exact duplicate of their eight song recording with two songs added. In 1992, the Phelps brothers left the band to form Brother Phelps. But time has brought Doug Phelps back to the band, and the band has brought its country audience a new set of tunes from a completely original country perspective. The new Audium Records release, Soul, is filled from top to bottom with examples of the same originality that brought this band to the attention of the music world years ago.

The Kentucky grown musicians, who devised their name as an off shoot of Muddy Waters’ legendary band  have always been proud to forge new musical ground more that just a little left center of the Nashville trends.  They’ve made their mark as a controversial band—as influenced by heavy metal and the blues—as they have been by the bluegrass of their heritage.  Fans are used to ‘hunting’ through the record bins to find Headhunter product; never knowing if the CDs will show up in Country, Southern Rock, Blues or Rock categories.

 “Soul” is the Headhunters at their ultimate best. The blues are so thick they float to the surface amidst a pot boiling musical recipe that bubbles noticeably with some of the groups collective favorite influences:  Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jeff Beck Group, ZZ Top, Nazz, Johnny Winter, The Allman Brothers,  Free, and Led Zeppelin. 

Wanting to reach into the roots of blues music, The Headhunters invited the best blues pianist in the world, 73-year-old Johnnie Johnson, to play on this project.  Johnson, who was on stage with the Rolling Stones in Houston, TX the evening prior to the recording session, didn't hesitate. He jumped on a plane in Houston, landed in Kentucky, and laid down his signature piano sound for the The Headhunters…. True, ageless, historic, “Soul.”

Grammy nominated Jimmy Hall had just returned from touring with Jeff Beck and quickly answered the Headhunters call to record, as did Reese Wynans (Dickie Betts Band) and legendary saxophonist, Jim Horn. In a recent interview, The Headhunters admit they were apprehensive going into the sessions that produced their newest project with such an eclectic group of musicians, but within hours of arriving in the studio, it was obvious the climate was right.  The result:  The band calls it the most honest and passionate Headhunter music in years.

If the Kentucky HeadHunters were ever gone, it doesn't look like they went that far away since their music has only gotten better.

Take a look at the Kentucky HeadHunters website for new information about tour dates and new releases here:

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