Young Country
Young Country

Kerry Mefford is self-deprecating, to put it mildly. He actually tried to talk me out of doing this story about him. “Surely you can find someone more talented and deserving than me,” he implored. Talent is subjective, of course, but no one is more deserving than Kerry.

Regular readers of this column will already know Kerry’s name from numerous mentions by other artists. It seems everybody who’s anybody in the local music scene has played with Kerry at one time or another. “It’s one of the beauties of Madison,” Kerry said, “everybody just kind of weaves in and out of the musical fabric, playing together and forming different bands.”

“All the area musicians are so nice,” he continued. “We’re not in competition like players might be in other cities. We help each other. Really, my only prerequisite for any band is everybody has to be nice.”

Kerry is a Carrollton native who started drumming at a young age. “It was the cover photo of Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty album. There was a huge drum kit set up in the middle of a highway. I knew then I wanted to be a drummer.”

“One day Bobby Robbins’ dad called my mom and asked if I could fill in for a gig at the Dark Horse bar in Madison. I was 12 years old at the time. The band was called Country Gentleman. I remember I was terrible, and I didn’t get home til 3 a.m. But they paid me $37.50. The hook was set!”

Kerry played in a number of rock bands as he got older, but his life changed when Bobby Robbins called and asked if he’d audition to play with Young Country. “That was a gift from God,” Kerry said. “That was my first taste of big crowds and big shows. We opened for Sammy Kershaw, Tracy Lawrence, Gary Allan, lots more. We’re still playing 24 years later.”

“I’ve been fortunate to ride the coattails of some great musicians,” Kerry observed. “First Bobby Robbins, then about 13 years ago I got in with Jimmy Davis. And now I’m also playing with Jordan Wilson.

“Playing with Jimmy is when my music education really started. He’s taught me different styles, dynamics, and groove. I’m still learning every time I play with him. He insists that I go for it, musically, don’t play it safe. He doesn’t mind mistakes as long as you are pushing yourself.”

“Now the Jordan Wilson thing has been unreal, how people have taken to him so fast. We’re recording an album of Jordan’s songs right now, and we have a big show coming up in Cincinnati on May 25th, down on Fountain Square.”

Also coming up on June 14th Kerry will be playing the Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute show with Jimmy Davis at Red Bicycle Hall. “We play blues together better than any other style,” Kerry said. “Jimmy playing Stevie is about the closest you’ll ever get to seeing the real thing. It’s amazing.”

If you’re thinking at this point Kerry’s a pretty busy drummer, you wouldn’t be wrong. “I’m not off many weekends, let’s just say that,” he mused. “I probably play six or seven shows a month. I’m never satisfied. I’ve never played a perfect show. But I’m not done trying.”



HOT TIP OF THE WEEK:



Saturday night at Off-Broadway Taproom the rockabilly band the Falls City Boys are playing. A friend of mine said they are awesome. That’s good enough for me, I’ll be there. Junkbox at the Moose is a surefire bet, and it benefits a good cause. And, finally, at long last, the Lighthouse down on the river is opening back up. They will have music every Wednesday, Saturdays, and sometimes Sundays.



Charlie Rohlfing is a stalwart of the RiverRoots Festival committee, a campfire guitar strummer, and a partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening. Find him out and about or at charlie@madisoncourier.com


This Week In Music - May 9, 2019

Wednesdays:


Lighthouse on the river — Various live music

Thursday, May 9:

Off Broadway Taproom — Amy Noel

Friday, May 10:

Off Broadway Taproom —Russ Baum

Saturday, May 11:

Off Broadway Taproom — The Falls City Boys

Thomas Family Winery — Davis & Devitt

VFW — Silver Wings

L&L Lounge — Crossfire

Moose — Junkbox (5 to the 5 fundraiser)

Lighthouse — Doug Dillman

Sunday, May 12:

Off Broadway Taproom — Davy or Darryl

Lighthouse — Doug Dillman (2 p.m.)