The music Kenny Thacker heard from his cradle was likely Grandpa whistling a Carter Family tune from the living room. When you were born into a Kentucky Bluegrass family like Kenny, music was what you did…evenings, weekends, at every family gathering, through the holidays, and more often than not...on the front porch. On the front porch, songs would spin off into stories, stories would spin off into songs and little boys were as welcome to join in as old men. Naturally, Kenny’s Bluegrass education was well underway before he was even big enough for school. By the time he learned to read and write, Grandpa (mama, and all the aunts and uncles) had made sure he was well versed in Uncle Dave Macon, Gid Tanner, Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. The front porch is where Kenny learned the two things that every Bluegrass man needs to know: how to sing a song and how to tell a story.
Early on, it was clear that Kenny had inherited his own healthy dose of musical aptitude. Uncle Ray watched the way Kenny moved back and forth between bass and acoustic guitar and decided to promote Kenny from the front porch to the stage, when he was just a pre-teen. Kenny made his performing debut on the upright bass with the Slone Family in the 70’s, at age 11. Uncle Ray was on the fiddle, while cousins Carolyn and Marsha aptly covered the banjo and guitar. The Slone Family were King Bluegrass recording artists and Kenny lugged that bass all over the Bluegrass circuit. The Slone family band played to warm welcomes at the Stanley Brothers Homecoming, Festival of the Bluegrass, Bean Blossom, Fan Fair, George Jones’ Possum Holler and of course, The Grand ‘Ole Opry. As Kenny continued to grow up in music, he recorded “Ramblin’ Round” with the Slone Family in 1976 and “Brothers” with Rome Records in the mid-80’s.
He started throwing his own stories into the mix, both on the front porch and on the stage and discovered he had also been heir to the storytelling gift. He just had that knack, that yarn spinning gift that kept folks coming back for more. Audiences started wanting the stories just as much as they wanted the songs as Kenny moved seamlessly between them. That early schooling in front porch storytelling was paying off.
Kenny had a personal encounter with God in the mid-80’s that changed his own story and he wanted to tell it. By the time he recorded his first project of original music, “Dancin’ With The Angels”, in 2000 , the stories and songs had woven together for him in a new way. With this music, he told a story worth telling to an audience with ears for him. He kept on telling the greatest Story of all time on his 2000 release with fellow musician, Rickey Lee Stone, “Breathtaking”.
Kenny is never going to forget where he came from. There is a big piece of him that is always going to want to be sitting on that front porch with Grandpa, singing old songs and hearing stories you’ve heard a million times, just like it was the first time. His newest project; aptly named. “On The Front Porch” is a tribute to his Grandpa and the music that shaped him. Every song but one is a song Kenny learned from his Grandpa. This music needs to be heard and Kenny wants you to hear it. The traditional Bluegrass standbys will make you a believer. Delivered in a style that shouts out to Buddy Miller and Alison Krauss, this is a front porch you will want to get on! With stellar interpretations by his Bluegrass buddies, Clay Hess, Buddy Greene, Ron Block, Tim Crouch and the Cox Family he double dog dares you to try to keep from grinnin’ while they’re pickin’.
A Kenny Thacker concert is truly a front porch experience. Tales will be told and songs worth singing will be sung. You’ll likely tear up at some point and you are sure to belly laugh. Pull up your seat, kick back and get yourself on the front porch, a good place for your ears and your heart.