KMLF Spotlight: Highland Drive

Published 3:59 pm Friday, March 30, 2018

The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival is arguably the biggest annual event in the region. It attracts a plethora of local vendors, craftsmen and musical performers.

KMLF Spotlight is an ongoing series that will highlight different acts and vendors that are attending this year’s event.

Live music has become an important part of Bell County with Middlesboro securing the Levitt AMP Your City Music Series for the fourth year in a row as well as Main Street Pineville continually booking solid performers to entertain the community.

The KMLF is no different. This year will not only feature rising star Scotty McCreery, but many talented local acts. One such act is the band Highland Drive.

Tyler Rowlett is a vocalist, guitarist and co-lyricist of Highland Drive. Rowlett began playing music with his friends and band mate Grayson Woods in high school as a way to pass the time and have fun. Over time, the two started playing acoustic shows at local venues. As Rowlett states, the band exists in two forms — the acoustic duo and the full band consisting of two other friends (bass and drums) to fill out the lineup.

On the desire to start Highland Drive, Rowlett said that it was “a constant need to be creative and express myself.”

Rowlett has no real yearning to try and make it big in the music scene. He just likes to write and perform music with his friends in a live setting. He doesn’t feel that being content with being a local act is any less fulfilling or lacking in merit than an artist who has struck it big.

“Just because someone’s local doesn’t mean that they’re not as talented as someone who does this on a giant stage. I feel very passionate about what I write and what I play. I like looking out at the crowd and seeing the mutual flow of energy,” he said.

Highland Drive plays southern rock and blues and Rowlett cites their biggest influences as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and others.

This year will mark the third in a row that Highland Drive will play at the KMLF.

“It’s fun…last year we saw a good mix of people in the crowd. I always thought that it was really cool to see people that walk by, hear something they like, and stick around to listen to the entire set,” said Rowlett.

You can expect to see Highland Drive at the KMLF on May 26 at 6 p.m.