From 2010 to early 2018 Prestonsburg based country music duo Sundy Best captivated fans near and far.
For years they gathered a strong following with University of Kentucky students from a long-time residency in downtown Lexington at Redmon’s. Years passed, albums were made, the duo had videos in rotation on CMT, songs on satellite radio and expanded its touring reach across the country including performances at the Grand Ole Opry.
Sundy Best split in March 2018 to focus on other endeavors but band members Nicholas Jamerson and Kristofer Bentley now find themselves making music together again after a pandemic, a car accident and Jamerson becoming a father. It hasgiven the two a new perspective as to what’s important in their lives.
“Everyone tried to make it a ‘Me vs. Kristofer’ thing but it was never anything like that,” said Jamerson. “We’d been through so much so fast in our first run with Sundy Best that we both just needed some time to step back and process things a bit. Then the pandemic hit and his father’s accident happened and it really got us talking again.”
With both artists canceling most of their individual music plans for 2020 by the spring due to COVID-19 — which for Jamerson included a nationwide tour in support of his April release “The Wild Frontier” — the two got to talking about reuniting as Sundy Best around the same time for a livestream that ultimately never materialized. Then in June Bentley’s father was in a car accident, falling unconscious behind the wheel and plowing head on into a brick building at over 60 mph. He has mostly recovered.
“Despite us having been apart, Kristofer’s family has and always will be my family,” said Jamerson, who immediately reached out after the accident.
Then in September the two ran into another at a Pikeville restaurant.
“It was like this was meant to happen because we both wound up in the same place at the same time and didn’t plan it at all,” said Bentley. “They sat down with me and we got to catching up and bouncing ideas off each other, picking up right where we’d left off.”
A few weeks later the band announced they were back with a mysterious Oct. 14 Instagram post, making the reunion official two weeks later with a livestream from the Kentucky Castle that has over 71,000 views.
“It felt incredibly natural. Like riding a bike, you never forget,” said Bentley.
The only show Sundy Best has done since then was another livestream on Dec. 1 in partnership with Morehead based New Frontier Outfitters and benefiting the Floyd County Shriner’s Club. However others are planned including a three day drive-in reunion show at Archer Park in Prestonsburg from April 30-May 2 hosted in conjunction with Prestonsburg Tourism and the Mountain Arts Center.
For the event and others that Sundy Best participates in moving forward, both Jamerson and Bentley are in agreement that they want their shows to serve a greater purpose than just offering people a distraction from their everyday lives. They also want to use the gatherings as a way to raise awareness for and give back to a community and state that have supported them so much over the past decade.
“We want to use our music to provide the community with a moment of disconnect after what’s been a difficult past year,” said Jamerson. “At the same time we want to also use the shows to raise awareness and assist in pushing for progress in Eastern Kentucky that will not just benefit one, but all. We’re incredibly grateful to have a platform to reach a lot of people through our efforts with Sundy Best and we want to take advantage of that to put toward a good cause.”
Paired with the new shows will be a new set of songs, which the duo recently recorded. For the new tunes, Sundy Best’s first since 2016’s “Almar Sky,” Jamerson says he plans to collaborate with Bentley throughout the entire songwriting process, something Jamerson has grown fond of lately and they’d never tried before as Sundy Best.
“In the past it was always a ‘you write your song, I’ll write mine and we’ll take the best of what we’ve written on our own,’ but this time I’d like to go through the entire writing process alongside him,” said Jamerson. “I’ve really enjoyed the collaborative songwriting process as of late and the alternate perspectives it yields. I want to see what Sundy Best can be when Kris and I are both pouring our all into our songs with this approach.”
Sundy Best’s ‘Kinfolk Reunion’
When: April 30 and May 1 at 7 p.m., May 2 at 3 p.m.
Where: 66 Archer Park Road, Prestonsburg
Tickets: $30 per vehicle per day (April 30 and May 1 shows sold out; May 2 on sale Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.)