You might say that Michael Feinstein has always had a unique approach to music. As a child, he was unable to learn from traditional piano lessons, perhaps because he’d already begun learning by his own means. Growing up in the 1960s and early 1970s, he wasn’t attracted to the popular music of that era, but was instead drawn to the Great American Songbook almost from the beginning.
Raised an only child, Matthew Kenney of Edgewood, Kentucky, was tasked with finding ways to entertain himself. The baby grand piano in his parents’ sitting room was his first inspiration. He began piano lessons in the third grade, but bored with the formal training, he quit after six months. Instead, he played by ear, learning everything from commercial jingles to the pop songs on his mom’s favorite radio station.
Though there are plenty of bloodline bands in the world, the Bunnell Strings are not only a family five-piece ensemble of double bass, cello, viola, and two violins, but the bonds that tie them together are much stronger than the average. Siblings—Keren, 25 years old; Kimberly, 23; Corrie, 22; Cara, 20, and Ross, 19—lost both of their parents, their father to skin cancer in 2007 and their mother of colon cancer three years later.
Bill Abernathy, 56, has been writing songs and playing guitar for most of his life, though it’s rarely been his focus. Today, with two grown children and a well-established career as a logistics expert for a large multi-national company, Abernathy has reached the top of Reverbnation’s Americana chart with his very first album, Changes.
Jason Matthews moved to Nashville in 1995 to follow his dream of becoming a songwriter. His first big hit was “That’s Just Jesse” recorded by Kevin Denney in 2000. Today, Matthews is a full-time songwriter for Warner/Chappell and has written hit songs for many big name artists, including Billy Currington’s recording of “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right,” Luke Bryan’s “Muckalee Creek Water,” and Trace Adkins’ “Tough People Do.”