PRESTONSBURG — It wasn’t too long ago that Nick Jamerson and Kris Bentley were simply two locals youths, growing up in Prestonsburg and playing music together in church.
A lot has changed over the last few years for the two young men, who returned home Tuesday to sign autographs and chat with fans who lined up at Billy Ray’s Restaurant to buy CDs and t-shirts from their group, Sundy Best.
“I just love their music,” said Michelle Couch, who said she was the first of their fans ever to get a t-shirt autographed.
Couch said she has several ties to Sundy Best. Her son went to school with Jamerson and her husband went to school with Jamerson’s father. And they were neighbors at one time. But it isn’t simply familiarity or hometown pride that attracts her to their music.
Couch said part of the group’s appeal is how they started out on their own and “worked their way through the ranks” to get to where they are now.
Couch’s description of the group’s beginnings can be clearly seen in how their first album came together. Bentley and Jamerson posted an advertisement on Kickstarter, a “crowdsourcing” website that allows artists and other creative types to seek funding for projects, promising anything from stickers for a $5 contribution to a private performance for a $1,000 donation.
Sundy Best was seeking $6,000 to produce their album. Instead, they got over $15,000. There were even three $1,000 donations.
“I feel like this is our big break, making this album,” Jamerson said.
“I see them going a long way,” Couch said. “They’re just starting a journey that will take them a long way. I can see them living in Nashville someday.”
The group describes their music as folk Americana.
“A lot of people call us country, but we’re by no means mainstream country,” Jamerson said.
Jamerson and Bentley formed Sundy Best two years ago, and since then they’ve been overwhelmed with how rapidly their music careers have progressed. The group released their first album, “Door without a Screen,” June 2. They now have a regular gig playing twice a week at Redmon’s, a popular college bar in Lexington. And their influence is beginning to grow, with the duo set to play gigs in Indianapolis, Nashville and Knoxville.
“You know stuff is going good when you have to step back and get your breath, because that’s how fast things are happening,” Bentley said.
Jamerson and Bentley now play music full time, and they have a strong following both in Eastern Kentucky and in Lexington. The group’s sole goal now is simply to reach out to new fans.
“We’re just trying to play in front of as many people as we can, whoever will listen to us,” Jamerson said.
And that includes people near and far. Sundy Best is scheduled to headline a concert July 13 at the East Kentucky Expo Center.