By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant
The second annual PorchFest will bring grooves to the Westhaven development off Highway 96 in Franklin Saturday, June 15 from 4 to 10 p.m.
Neighbors and attendees alike will mosey porch to porch along the streets of Westhaven to hear tunes performed by about 20 area musicians performing on the stoops of some of Franklin’s most idyllic newer homes. Some musicians who reside in Westhaven said they plan to stroll down the road to perform at their designated stage – perhaps the shortest road gig of their careers.
Franklin-based WRLT Lightning 100 will broadcast live from 4 to 6 p.m. at the subdivision’s Town Center. About 1,000 and 2,000 people attended Porchfest last year and just as many are expected this year.
The evening’s grand finale will feature the Nashville Alternators at a concert on the lake, starting at 8 p.m.
Many of the night’s performers have strong local connections. Here’s a sampling.
Taylor Humphrey of Thompson’s Station
A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, Taylor Humphrey, known as “Tay” to his fans, has been a bull rider, a welder and a construction worker by day. But he found his real niche writing and performing “outlaw” country music by night.
His first EP will be released this fall and is produced by Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter, and guitarist Charlie Kelley.
Dedicated to his craft, Humphrey pushes himself to grow as an artist every day by writing and playing music as well as performing around the country intermittently throughout the year. “It’s in my blood,” Humphrey said. “But it’s not for the weary. It’s hard work.”
A Utah-native, Humphrey has been perfecting his songwriting skills for years. “I look back at what I wrote five years ago and see how far I’ve come.”
Humphrey moved to Nashville several years ago when his wife, Pamela, landed a new job. The sound of moving to a place where he could foster his music in a creative atmosphere made the decision easy.
“I didn’t even have to think about it. I said, ‘Let’s go,’” Humphrey said.
Pam now works for the company that publishes the Williamson Herald and Southern Exposure Magazine.
Taylor explained that his music speaks to the working class.
“We have the same experiences, and I put on my boots and go to work just like they do.” Humphrey said, who works construction during daylight hours.
“You have to know who you are and what you want to write,” Humphrey said. “If you don’t it’ll eat your lunch.”
Humphrey has been featured in Country Weekly’s “Listen Up” section, and shared the stage with country artists such as Luke Bryan, Jerrod Niemann and Chris Young. His original song “Burning Rubber” ranked No. 1 of the country songs played at Ourstage in 2011. It was also featured on radio stations across the Midwest.
Humphrey said he will play songs from his new album at PorchFest.
Johnny Keyser of Westhaven in Franklin
After an exciting two seasons on American Idol that lead to much public and critical acclaim for his soulful voice, Johnny Keyser moved to Nashville to nurture his talents and grow as a musician and writer. He chose Franklin – Westhaven – as his new home earlier this year.
“I just want to sing, grow and learn,” Keyser said.
So far, the music environment in Nashville is setting well with Florida born-Keyser. “I’m just a sponge here,” he said. “The environment pours creativity, and I grow every single day.”
After Idol judges gushed over his rich voice and wide vocal range, fans were surprised when Keyser was voted this season. “It was all growth,” he said. “American Idol heated me up, then the carpet was pulled out from under me and everything cooled down.”
However, Keyser said that the experience was the best thing that could’ve happened. “I want to struggle. I wasn’t quite ready yet. I could’ve been shoved into a position that I wasn’t ready for. It was the biggest blessing I could’ve asked for,” he said.
Keyser’s seven-song album “From Where I Stand” is available.
Kyle Turley of Westhaven in Franklin
NFL star-turned-country artist, Kyle Turley began a professional career in music in Nashville about four years ago after spending 10 years in the NFL. He played for teams such as New Orleans, St. Louis and Kansas City.
With a bit of outlaw country mixed with a rock sound, Turley dubbed his particular brand of music “power country.”
“There’s a lot of power behind it with heavy bass lines and a heavy metal sound mixed with bluegrass tones,” he said.
However, as a former football player, Turley’s musical endeavors weren’t fully taken seriously initially. “I had to prove myself,” he said. “They had very good reason not to take me at face value at first.”
However, once Turley sang and performed his original songs, his skeptics’ ears began to perk up. “People began to come up to me after the show in surprise at how much they liked it,” he said.
He has opened for, or shared the stage with, luminaries such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Jones, Shooter Jennings, Eric Church and David Allen Coe.
“I was raised on hard work and dedication,” Turley said. “If you want something big, you have to commit 100 percent.”
Turley’s new album is scheduled to be released this fall.