Sundy Best plays for Kentucky crowd

Kris Bentley and Nick Jamerson of the band Sundy Best perform at Redmond's on March 24, 2012. Photo by Alex Lovan | STAFF

By Alex Lovan

A few years ago, Kris Bentley, 25, and Nick Jamerson, 26, were like many students — 20-somethings trying to decide what to do with their lives after college graduation.

But they soon became a staple of the Lexington music scene when the Americana duo Sundy Best was formed.

Each of their churches sparked their passions for music. In their hometown of Prestonsburg, Ky., “the only way to perform in front of people was in church,” Jamerson said.

Bentley went on to study English and play basketball for Centre College, while Jamerson studied history at the University of Pikeville and played football.

After graduation, both moved to Lexington and started playing together while working for a cable company.

Their boss sent out messages to their co-workers telling them to watch Bentley and Jamerson perform.

In the beginning, playing music was “just something to do.” A career in the field was “always a desire,” Bentley said, but became a possibility when they started to gain support.

In November 2010, they were asked to play at Redmond’s on a Thursday night. They quickly picked a name influenced by their early days of playing in church and have played every Thursday since, with the exception of one recent day when they performed a benefit concert in Eastern Kentucky for those affected by the March 2 tornadoes.

Jamerson said he can see a career in music coming, as Sundy Best grows and improves.

The band now has an album out on iTunes called “Tales, Lies, and Exaggerations,” and continues to play regularly at Redmond’s.

Jamerson contributes much of their success to their original songs, many about the ways of life in Kentucky.

The rest of it, he said, is due to their friends who came to see them play in the beginning and brought others with them. This gave Sundy Best the “luxury” of having a crowd to “bounce original ideas off of,” Jamerson said.

Recently, Sundy Best played a set at DanceBlue, the annual dance marathon that raises money for UK’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic.

Jamerson said he never realized how many people had seen them at Redmond’s until he played at the 12-hour marathon and saw how many people in the crowd knew their original songs.

“There is no bigger rush in the entire world than having someone else sing your songs back to you,” Jamerson said.

When they’re not performing, Bentley and Jamerson spend most of their time in the studio recording a new album, which is currently untitled, they expect to release within the next few months.

“Home,” one of their most popular singles and their favorite to play, is a song about the place where all are most comfortable and has a chorus that everybody can pick up easily.

“Anyone can relate to that. It’s home,” Jamerson said.

He said playing it takes him straight back to his childhood growing up in the mountains.

The duo say they aren’t too concerned about the future.

“We just want to grow and whatever happens, happens,” Bentley said.

Those old enough to get into a bar can find Bentley playing a box-looking Spanish drum, called a cajon, and Jamerson playing guitar and singing lead vocals on the stage of Redmond’s every Thursday and Saturday night.

Those who aren’t old enough to see Sundy Best at a bar can see them perform on College Scholarship Day at Keeneland on April 6.

Like “Sundy Best” on Facebook or follow the band on Twitter (@SundyBest) for the latest updates on its new album.