Episode 289. J.D. Shelburne -American Country Music Artist
In releasing his latest album, Two Lane Town, JD Shelburne feels he has recorded the album that could take him to a whole new level. “I’ve been working really hard on this album. I think it is my best collection of songs that I’ve released thus far,” he says of his fourth project. He says that he’s definitely learned a lot since he released his first disc that was self-titled, back in 2012.
“It’s all about writing and recording great songs,” he says. “It all boils down to just a great lyric. I try to write/record songs that I can relate to, ones that are catchy and have a great melody that I feel my fans can relate.”
Of the tracks from the new album, JD says there’s one in particular that has a special place in his heart. “I co-wrote a song on the record called ‘Born For This.’ It’s the first song on the record, and it talks about picking up guitar and adapting to a new venture in life while attending college and just running with it – I was nineteen when my grandmother passed away. My life turned around in an instant when I found that guitar after her death. I didn’t realize until early in college that music was my true passion in life. I had played three different sports growing up, and just led the simple small-town life. I picked up the guitar, and my life hasn’t been the same since. It’s kind of the title track of my life. When I was about to finish college, there was a point when I realized I was about to be an adult and wondered what I was going to do with my life. Where I was going to go? I honestly felt like I was born to play music and entertain people. It was just something that I gravitated towards naturally. Nashville, Tennessee was my next destination and I haven’t looked back since.”
J.D began that gravitation while growing up on a tobacco farm in Taylorsville, KY, a tiny town southeast of the Ohio River near Louisville KY. At age 19, he found a guitar after the death of his grandmother and began learning to play and sing on his own. By his sophomore year of college, he had found a few gigs at some local bars in the Louisville/Lexington, KY area and developed a fan-base that eventually landed him on some of the biggest stages in the business, opening for some of the nation’s hottest stars. Eventually, Shelburne was adding original songs into the set mix, in addition to producing songs of his own material.
In 2002, Kentucky fell in love at first sight with Shelburne, then a college student and a small-town kid with a wide smile, natural singing voice and a love of faith, family and his hometown of Taylorsville, KY. But that small-town image is merely a fond memory now that he has moved on to Nashville down the path to music stardom.
Now find him soaking up the music scene, touring cities, building a fan-base and celebrating a decade of success playing venues all across the southeast trying to get his big break. Today he’s among the most hardworking and relevant country singers in the business. They say Nashville doesn’t work that way anymore – that talented musicians with very few connections don’t stand a chance. But Shelburne proved that Music City’s engine still runs off of talent and persistent driven antics. Critics find him credible. Fans pack his shows. Venues strive to book him. There are very few new artists recording songs today about whom that can be said.
During his whirlwind career explosion, he has performed with over 50 national acts ranging from stars such as Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan, Jamey Johnson, Kellie Pickler, Steve Wariner to Clay Walker and Johnny Lee, performed at some of the region’s most famous venues such as the Historic Ryman Auditorium, Rupp Arena, Murphy Center, KFC Yum Center, Freedom Hall, Churchill Downs and Old Cardinal Stadium which recently drew the Kentucky State Fair’s largest crowd of the concert series. JD performed “God Bless America” prior to the 2016 Quaker State 400 NASCAR race at Kentucky Speedway to over 100,000 attendees. In September 2017, JD made his NBC Network Television Debut performing the National Anthem at the NASCAR XS Myrtle Beach 300! He has also been featured in Country Weekly Magazine, Kentucky Alumni Magazine, Kentucky Monthly Magazine amongst many other national publications including the Huffington Post. His debut music video “Farmboy” gained him thousands of new fans by airing on the TNN Top Ten Countdown nationwide on Heartland TV network and ZUUS Country Network. In 2015, he made his Nationwide debut on GAC – Great American Country Network and also CMT.com in October with his second music video entitled “Hometown” written about the demise of his small town. On October 21, 2015, JD debuted as #1 trending artist on CMT.com edging out Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean! He has performed over 2,000 concerts all over the southeast as well as over 300 festivals. JD’s outfits have been featured on display at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Historic Churchill Downs from his appearances at the Kentucky Derby. In 2016, he was invited to perform in the Kentucky State Capitol for the State Senate as well as the House of Representatives where he performed his own rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” for both parties. JD was named an Honorable Kentucky Colonel and was also presented the honor of “Admiral” by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Also, in 2016, the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information named JD their 2016 Most Outstanding Alumnus! On September 18, 2018, he made his World Premiere on CMT!
In June 2017, Shelburne launched his world premiere official music video for “Better Man” that was filmed in Midway/ Millville, KY. The music video made its Network Television Debut on Great American Country (GAC) on June 23, 2017, and is currently in Nationwide rotation. At the 2017 Kentucky Derby, Shelburne was a guest chef of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri at his restaurant alongside Guy, Travis Tritt and NFL Legend Jerry Rice! Shelburne, most recently reached #29 on the Music Row chart with his debut single of “One Less Girl”. The single lead him to features on CMT and reaching over 120,000 views online! His follow-up single “She Keeps Me Up Nights” will impact radio this summer and has already reached #6 on the CMT 12-Pack Countdown!
JD also has performed at several prestigious nationwide events: NBA Basketball Games, Guaranteed Rate Field for the Chicago White Sox, Suntrust Park for the Atlanta Braves, The Kentucky Derby, Unbridled Eve Derby Gala, Barnstable Brown Derby Gala, events for Jim Beam Brands and Four Roses Bourbon, NCAA Division I College Football/Basketball Games, The National FFA Organization National Convention, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotel Brands, NASCAR Racing Events, Minor League Baseball Games, Dollar General NASCAR Racing Team Event, CMA Music Festival, the NCAA Women’s Final Four, SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and more! As you can imagine, the road is a place where he loves to be.
“I rarely take days off. I performed 230 tour dates last year, and in 2016, I performed 246. I have always taken nearly every opportunity given to me that is within a reasonable distance. I have a relative in the family that was a Country artist back in the 1970s, and his name was Guy Shannon. He had a couple of charted singles and played the Opry several times. He told me before I moved to Nashville, ‘You’ll never get discovered in a basement. Anytime you can get a gig somewhere, take it and run with it. I have taken that advice and used it tremendously. I play shows just about everywhere. I’ve been in the business ten years, and I’m still hungry,” he says eagerly
J.D. has high hopes and expectations for the new music. “I want to try to get on a national tour and spread my music and my name to places I’ve never played. I think I’ve got some great songs on this record, and I think so many fans will relate and be drawn to this new album. I still have a lot of ground to cover and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.”