The Kentucky HeadHunters will be inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Lexington Center Bluegrass Ballroom on April 12. The museum is located in Renfro Valley, Kentucky, home of Bill Monroe, Merle Travis, The Everly Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Rosemary Clooney, Dwight Yoakam and many more.
Now in their 45th year, the band was formed on Richard and Fred Young’s family farm in Edmonton, Kentucky with cousins Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney. Then called Itchy Brothers and sometimes referred to as “The Best Known – Unknown Band in the South,” the group had several close brushes with record deals in the ’70s, including Led Zeppelin’s Swansong Records and Capricorn.
In 1984, the band changed its name to The Kentucky HeadHunters and added brothers Ricky and Doug Phelps. Five years later, they recorded an independent album and were signed by Harold Shedd to Mercury Records. They continue to tour the country, best known for hits like “Dumas Walker”, “Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine” and “Oh Lonesome Me.”
“Facts is facts,” wrote Holly Gleason. “The Kentucky HeadHunters are a great rock band, filtered through the British/blues-based rock and roll of the Yardbirds, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Frankie Miller, and Long John Baldry. Twenty years after being the biggest thing there was, it appears the Kentucky HeadHunters are on the verge of being what they were meant to be: a slamming rock/roots band that fears no corner at any speed. Like the old blues guys, they ain’t afraid to sweat or make it moan. We should all take that lesson to heart.”
Other artists to be inducted during the ceremony include Steven Curtis Chapman, Exile, Skeeter Davis, The Hilltoppers, Old Joe Clark and Emory & Linda Martin.