Joe LaMay used to say he learned to play guitar in high school because he was too short to play basketball. But, the truth is, as a young man he was bitten with the music bug through the songs of the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
It was through his interest in their music that he studied their roots and influences and began his retro-journey into the world of American folk music. Through this music he discovered the heartbeat of the mountains, rivers, and vast plains of our colorful musical heritage.
Sherri Reese comes from a musical family. Her father played bluegrass and traditional country music all his life. She grew up hearing the melodies and songs of the Carter Family, Reno & Smiley, The Stanley Brothers, Doc Watson and other mountain music.
When she began playing guitar in her teens, she was drawn to the songs of Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Tom Paxton, Emmylou Harris and other contemporary roots music performers. When she began hearing the influence of roots music in their songs, she knew she had come full circle.
LaMay & Reese met at a folk song gathering in 1998. They were immediately drawn to each other's music, and began performing together. They were quickly recognized for their original compositions and old-style harmony, as well as their presentation of their favorite traditional and contemporary songs.
It has been said that Joe and Sherri "know a good song and write a good song." As songwriters, several of their original songs have been recorded and performed by other folk musicians and bluegrass bands.
LaMay & Reese performances are always entertaining and fun. With Joe on guitar and Sherri on banjo, they present an eclectic collection of traditional and original songs that are sure to inspire the novice and please the traditionalist.
They have released six recordings of their music.
Since 2004, LaMay & Reese have been contributing monthly music segments to Bill Knowlton's Bluegrass Ramble Radio Show. Their 20 minute segments feature songs and musicians recorded live in Kentucky and on the road. They have featured dozens of musicians, and hundreds of songs, showcasing American bluegrass and folk roots music. Now in it's 44th year, the show is aired on NPR throughout the northeast and over the web.
Locally, Joe and Sherri host the 3rd Friday Folk Coffeehouse, the weekly Lake Cumberland Jammers and the Somerset Songwriters group.