KMLF Spotlight: The Kudzu Killers

Published 8:42 am Monday, May 7, 2018

The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival draws ever nearer as the weeks tick on, and there is still plenty to explore in regards to the crafts and entertainment available at this year’s big event.

A previous spotlight showcase, Broken Bottle Boutique, is pulling double duty this year at the festival. Not only is Shayla Blevins the proprietor of the boutique, she is also a member of the local band The Kudzu Killers, and they will be playing at the festival this year.

Originally formed in Harlan, the band lists their inspirations as everything from The Beatles, to Bob Dylan to Hank Williams Jr. and much more. They play bluegrass, Americana and folk music.

Blevins herself is a diverse talent who plays the piano and guitar and she sings in the band as well.

“I’ve always been interested in music. It started with me being seven years old when I would lay on my pink bed spread for hours at a time and write songs, to taking piano lessons which then led to learning guitar on YouTube.”

”My interest in joining a band sparked when I attended my first of several Kudzu Killers’ shows at a local pizza joint/ bar called The Portal in downtown Harlan. The band’s “vibe” interested me so much. I discussed my musical talents with them and the rest was history,” she said.

The band likes to perform a solid mix of different genres. They cover classic rock from artists like Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac, but they get the biggest kick out of playing their original songs.

“We just spent some time at Gem City Studios in Jellico, Tennessee, recording our second EP, this time mostly original songs,” said Blevins.

For local folks, familiarity with the seemingly omnipotent plant kudzu is a given and a natural fit for a band name.

“One of the band member’s brother came up with the band name one night while the original members were picking around a campfire. Funny story, we’ve had several folks collect one of our band business cards thinking we were an actual kudzu killing business,” said Blevins.

When it comes to what Blevins loves to see when she’s on stage she stated, “I absolutely LOVE when people dance during our performances. It shows they are enjoying the songs and themselves. Last year at the KMLF, we had a fantastic group of ladies that joined us at the front of the stage and danced and sang along with us, and that was a big highlight for me.”

You can see the Kudzu Killers at this year’s Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival.