The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. Kentucky is normally included in the group of Southern states (in particular the Upland South), but it is sometimes included, geographically and culturally, in the Midwest. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states to be officially known as a commonwealth. Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 it became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th largest state in terms of land area, and ranks 26th in population.
Kentucky is known as the "Bluegrass State," a nickname based on the fact that bluegrass is present in many of the lawns and pastures throughout the state. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, the most miles of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48 states, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, and the nation's most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horses, horse racing, bourbon distilleries, bluegrass music, automobile manufacturing (including the best selling car, truck, and SUV in the U.S. market), tobacco, and college basketball.
The breadth of music in Kentucky is indeed wide, stretching from the Purchase to the eastern mountains.
Renfro Valley, Kentucky is home to Renfro Valley Entertainment Center and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and is known as "Kentucky's Country Music Capital," a designation given it by the Kentucky State Legislature in the late 1980s. The Renfro Valley Barn Dance was where Renfro Valley's musical heritage began, in 1939, and influential country music luminaries like Red Foley, Homer & Jethro, Lily May Ledford & the Original Coon Creek Girls, Martha Carson, and many others have performed as regular members of the shows there over the years. The Renfro Valley Gatherin' is today America's second oldest continually broadcast radio program of any kind. It is broadcast on local radio station WRVK and a syndicated network of nearly 200 other stations across the United States and Canada every week.
Contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman is a Paducah native, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Everly Brothers are closely connected with Muhlenberg County, where older brother Don was born. Kentucky was also home to Mildred and Patty Hill, the Louisville sisters credited with composing the tune to the ditty Happy Birthday to You; Loretta Lynn (Johnson County), and Billy Ray Cyrus (Flatwoods). However, its depth lies in its signature sound — Bluegrass music. Bill Monroe, "The Father of Bluegrass", was born in the small Ohio County town of Rosine, while Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, David "Stringbean" Akeman, Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones, Sonny and Bobby Osborne, and Sam Bush (who has been compared to Monroe) all hail from Kentucky. The International Bluegrass Music Museum is located in Owensboro, while the annual Festival of the Bluegrass is held in Lexington.
Kentucky is also home to famed jazz musician and pioneer, Lionel Hampton (although this has been disputed in recent years). Blues legend W.C. Handy and R&B singer Wilson Pickett also spent considerable time in Kentucky. The pop bands Midnight Star and Nappy Roots were both formed in Kentucky, as were country acts The Kentucky Headhunters and Montgomery Gentry, as well as Dove Award-winning Christian groups Audio Adrenaline (rock) and Bride (metal).
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
Photos courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Tourism