Kentucky Street Pioneers

SF Local Band Spotlight: Kentucky Street Pioneers

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For local Bay Area band Kentucky Street Pioneers, it all started one fateful day when a pajama-clad songwriter (Antony Benedetti) waltzed into an open mic at Jamison’s Roaring Donkey on Kentucky Street in Petaluma, CA. He stumbled, quite literally into songwriter Jared Spires. However, it wasn’t until months later, that they said to each other, “Hey, you’re a songwriter, I’m a songwriter, we should play songs together.”

Antony and Jared continued to quite literally stumble into other like-minded musicians until there was an entire group of them. This included Nick Muchow on drums, Ian Benedetti on electric guitar, Jack Buller on Bass, and Bill Brock on Saxophone and keys.

Since they had all crossed paths at this open mic on Kentucky Street, it seemed logical their moniker should in some way honor that. However, the name “Kentucky Street” alone, left something to be desired, and any attempts at incorporating the word “Donkey” did not end well. Thus, Kentucky Street Pioneers came into being.

We spoke to Anthony and Jared from the band and discussed when their interest in music first began, where they like to hang out in the Bay Area and found out what’s the funniest thing that’s happened at one of their shows.

How would you describe your sound?
The short, short version: indie/folk-rock.

But, don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Robert Joseph (musician/booker) had to say about us:

“A wicked concoction of West Coast Americana mixed with East Coast Pop, a dash of Southern swamp sound, some Northern chill Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies, finished off with some rather tasty kickin’ brassy bits.”

When did you first become interested in playing music?
I wrote my first song when I was 7 months old on pots and pans. I first became interested in playing music many, many years later.

Jared: In 6th grade, I had a choice of either taking band or singing in the school choir, and my parents really didn’t want to watch a choir, so they forced me to be in a band. I ended up choosing to play the trombone because of how different it was from every other instrument, and then I was hooked ever since.

Kentucky Street Pioneers
Kentucky Street Pioneers

What’s the funniest that’s ever happened to you at a show?
Antony: Funny to whom? I fell off the stage once.

Jared: I’ve always wanted to cause a scene, so the first time Antony and I ever tried playing music together, I ended up kicking him off the stage because we were both inebriated and couldn’t stay in time with each other.

Antony: He actually did stop the song in the middle, turned to me and said, “get the F*** off the stage!” I, being a reasonable human being, complied while laughing.

Where do you like to hang out most in San Francisco?
I don’t make it down to the city as often as I would like, but generally, I enjoy the mission.

Jared: I used to live in the city close to Union Square, so my favorite place is just that. It’s a really enjoyable place to hang out and just people watch and soak in the sun on warm days.

Antony: Soak in the sun? On that one day during the year when it’s sunny?

What’s your favorite place to eat in the Bay Area?
Antony: I like tacos.

Jared: I’m more of a nacho fan.

Antony: That you are Jared, that you are.

What do you say to people who think that the music scene in the Bay Area is dead?
Jared: They haven’t been up to Sonoma County, have they?

Antony: I would say they mustn’t be “privy to all the new shit.” I think that if there are people who are saying that they aren’t putting in the effort, there is SO MUCH music in this area, and even in our small town of Petaluma, there are tons (thousands of pounds worth) of great bands.

If you could put your own version of a supergroup, who would be in it and why?
Antony: I’m glad you asked, It would definitely be some collaboration of King Buzzo of the Melvins, Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle and John Williams. Can you imagine????

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
We think people are surprised when they find out we’re not independently wealthy. In fact, we’re not wealthy at all. Why this surprises people, surprises us.

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
We just released our debut EP Off the Map on Dec. 1. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, and any other streaming services. Also available for purchase on our website

We also have some upcoming shows in the new year:

1/26/18 – Twin Oaks Tavern – Penngrove, CA
2/09/18 – Jamison’s Roaring Donkey – Petaluma, CA
3/02/18 – The Phoenix Theater – Petaluma, CA

Like them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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