I had just recently heard of Sundy Best, so I didn’t have a lot of expectations when I went to see them live at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor on March 26. I was, to say the least, pleasantly surprised.
Sundy Best is a country duo consisting of Nick Jamerson, on guitar and vocals, and Kris Bentley, on cajon and singing backup vocals. They’re Kentucky natives whose songs speak to their back-home roots and country-boy living.
The show started off the show with some songs that felt like blue grass, yet with a bit of a rock-and-roll feel. And then raised the bar with every song. With songs referencing heartbreak, drinking, friends, and family, each song in their performance was memorable, and it was made even more special by the guests in the audience who sang along to every word.
Halfway through the show, the music genre switched for a mid-show early-2000s jam. It was my first time seeing Sundy Best, and I didn’t know any of their lyrics, but when they began to sing contemporary hits from the Backstreet Boys and Naughty by Nature, I sang along, just like everybody else in attendance.
The casual demeanor and persona on stage from Sundy Best made them instantly likeable. They joked around with the crowd and had fun, making the performance all about them and their music. And although embarrassing, I developed an instant schoolgirl crush on them. Throughout the show, the songs pulled at my heart, and my favorites were “Home” and “My Friends And Me.” Every song they sang was filled with truth and soul, and after the performance (having become a dedicated fan in just a couple hours) a fellow Badger Senator and I had the chance to talk to the Bentley and Jamerson. I asked them about their tour, visiting Ann Arbor, and the recognition they have already received as simple, down to earth friends doing what they love.
Bentley explained to us that although he and Jamerson both grew up in Kentucky, he frequently visited Michigan and has family connections in areas surrounding Ann Arbor, including Ypsilanti and Chelsea, Mich. Many of his family members and friends were in the audience for the Blind Pig show. One huge inspiration for Sundy Best, Bob Seger, has Ann Arbor connections as well. Bob Seger’s hit song “Mainstreet” was inspired by Main Street in Ann Arbor, and Jamerson and Bentley soaked that in as much as possible. They said that they try to emit the same kind of attitude about music as their idols, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, and the Eagles did. They are all about the music.
Sundy Best has been together since 2010, when the duo was finishing college, and the current tour they are on has been a whirlwind. With just the two of them and a friend helping take care of traveling, merchandise, performing, and scheduling, they are very busy, but they love every minute of it. When asked how the tour is going so far, Bentley said, “We are getting to do everything we ever wanted to do. It’s kind of like a roller coaster, and you really have to think about the long term.”
When also asked what their favorite venue has been to play so far, they readily said the Grand Ole Opry, which they have had the good fortune to play three times. “We like any place with a crowd that’s interactive. It doesn’t take a lot to please us, we are just happy to see people show up,” Bentley added.
Although they have a very basic approach to their music and style, Sundy Best is receiving more and more recognition every day. Their music video for “Until I Met You” can be seen on CMT and they have also been featured on Sirius Radio. When asked how all this recognition has come their way, the duo was very humble.
“Every relationship we have made has been organic, if people want to find us, they have to come to us. We do our own thing. If people want to help us, they help us. If people don’t, they don’t,” Jamerson said.
“It would be nice to be on the radio, but think of people like Bob Seger, Tom Petty, and the Eagles. All those people toured and weren’t worried about anything else,” Bentely added. “It really is about the music, getting out there and making new friends. It is encouraging when you make an impression on someone and they come back, its word of mouth.”
The guys didn’t seem worried about anything else but their music and doing what they love — staying original to themselves and their music. They write all their own songs, which all come from their lives and their own stories.
I asked what their favorite song was, and in turn they asked me what my favorite song that they sang was, saying the crowd’s favorite is their favorite — how sweet. But in reality, they couldn’t pick a favorite, understandably.
“It is like asking a parent who their favorite kid is, if one song grabs someone’s attention we are doing our part, trying to make it relatable and relevant. We want people to feel the way we feel when we go to our favorite concerts,” Jamerson said.
And I can testify that they achieved their hope. I enjoyed the experience of hearing Sundy Best as much as I have enjoyed seeing any live show. I liked the way they interacted with the crowd and let the music, their playing, and their voices tell the story. No glitz and glamour, just honesty and good times for Sundy Best.
They ended our interview with their final opinions on music and what they want their music to achieve. They want their music to live on because as Jamerson put it, “Good music has no expiration date.” Amen.
Written by Alaina Stevenson