RIVAL SONS Closes Out Back 2 Back Nights In Whitesburg, Kentucky [Review & Photo Gallery]

Rival Sons

I’m back at the Appalshop Theater for day 2 of the two night stand, Rivals Sons, Welles and tonight’s special guest SIMO. If you missed last night’s show it was a truly special night! There were fans here from at least 17 different states; most of those folks have stayed the night around Whitesburg to be a part of this second show.


Kicking this second night off is JD Simo and his band SIMO. The talented guitar driven band SIMO has played Whitesburg several times over the years, all previous shows before tonight had been at Summit City Lounge downtown. For anyone not familiar with JD and his band Joe Bonamassa (Black Country Communion) stated this about JD Simo “JD is one of the best out there right now!” A fact those in attendance on this very night were about to find out! For 30 minutes he was on fire! If I can gauge the reaction of those that saw him correctly he made a lot of new fans from his amazing performance! His set was short but it highlighted his incendiary guitar playing abilities. Be sure and check him and his band out.



In direct support of Rival Sons on this short tour is a band out of Arkansas called Welles. With Jesse Wells on guitar and vocals they have a great sound. Welles is very young and judging from their stage presence they seem a little unexpierienced, but I imagine that will change after this tour with Rival Sons, they will grow pretty quick and gain expierience. With songs like “Life Like Mine”, “Codeine” and their latest single “Seventeen” give Welles a listen you just might like what you hear!

I spoke with the promoter Greg Napier before the show and he advised that me that Rival Sons vocalist Jay had promised a different set list from the first night of a two night headlining showcase. There were a couple repeats from the night before, but no one in this audience cared a bit, Rival Sons could have played the exact same set list and it would have been perfect. I spoke with Miley, Todd and Dave before the show asked them if they got some sleep; all said they had and were ready to go (none of them had slept much before the show last night, driving in from Nashville after putting the finishing touches on the new album). Nothing else about the new album, I did read a quote from Todd (keyboards and vocals) in which he said “Well there’s a polka tune, a Hungarian waltz and a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover, no seriously I think you’re going to really dig it” he said that with about as straight faced as one could! That’s about all the information I heard about the new album. Everything’s top secret at this point.

Rival Sons

After what was about a 45 minute wait, the rumor was that Jay was a little under the weather, if he was it didn’t show in his performance at all! They opened with “Keep On Swinging” and didn’t let off the gas until they closed with “Open My Eyes”. The 12 song set list included a lot of my personal favorites, “Secret” (which Jay confirmed what I had always thought – the line “Bring me a jar full of shine” was inspired by his trip here in 2013, he said it was a beautiful experience and that’s what keeps him coming back!) along with several others “Pressure & Time”, “Electric Man” and “Jordan” to name a few. “Jordan” always has been a personal favorite but more so in the last few months, I lost my daughter this past December and the song really hits home. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried as Jay sang the song; it was a powerful moment for me personally.

Actually the entire show was powerful, I’m stoked that I got to cover both nights! It’s not often you get to see a band of this caliber in such a small venue as the Appalshop Theater. Hats off to Greg Napier and The Evening With Concert Series for making this happen! As always get out and support live music be it local bands or national touring bands coming through your area.

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Thomas Biggs

About Thomas Biggs

Call me Tom, but I’ll answer to most anything! I’m an award winning nature photographer trying his hand at concert photography. I’ve been shooting professionally for the last 15 plus years. Always been a lover of music, the last 6 years in the pit has taken that love to another level! Hope you enjoy my images and writing as much as I do creating them!

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