Sept. 26--When it comes to musical philosophies, singers/songwriters Kris Bentley and Nick Jamerson are very much in favor of "what you see is what you get."
"We write what is most honest to ourselves and what means the most," Bentley says. "When you do that, the rest can take care of itself.
"We always say that we play what we know and sing what we write."
Together, Bentley and Jamerson comprise country duo Sundy Best. When the pair stepped out three years ago onto the music scene of Lexington, Ky., they assumed all artists shared their views about writing and singing their own material.
Sundy Best's songs tend to be drawn from the duo's personal experiences growing up together in Prestonsburg, a small town in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. The excitement and passion they have for their music -- which in turn amps up their live shows -- is a direct result of that personal connection, Bentley says.
"We've lived each and every one of these songs, and they each hold a special place for us," he says.
Bentley says he and Jamerson came to their musical worldview as a consequence of being raised on a diet of artists such as Tom Petty, Bob Seger and The Allman Brothers Band, all of whose notoriety was built up around music they wrote themselves.
"There's something special about that approach," Bentley says. "For us, that's the only way we'll be able to do it. There's so much more passion to it, and it's so much more genuine."
The commitment to honest songwriting borne of personal experience is starting to earn dividends for Sundy Best. The debut of the music video for the song "Home" off their self-recorded first album, "Door Without a Screen" made Sundy Best the No. 1 trending band on Country Music Television in April. A second video, for the song "Lily," debuted in August and also has helped the band gain traction on the network.
Riding the momentum of that publicity, Sundy Best has been expanding its touring circuit this year, but Jamerson and Bentley are no strangers to Chattanooga. They made their debut here at The Honest Pint and returned on Aug. 30 to open up for alt-country artist Corey Smith at Track 29. Tonight, they'll headline a show at Rhythm & Brews.
The small-town values and Southern references in Sundy Best's music should resonate with Chattanooga listeners, and even if listeners here can't relate to the specifics, Bentley says, the songs' deeper truths should be universal.
"When you ... are completely honest with yourselves and with each other, hopefully people will relate to [the music]," he says. "If not, at least they'll bob their head to it."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
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