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Whether it's art, literature, bluegrass or blues, Black Kentuckians have had a hand in shaping it. The African American Folklorist explores that history by providing a more personal look at culture. Building upon the existing newspaper and podcast series, The African American Folklorist presents a chance to share lesser known stories of influential figures.

The African American Folklorist - Michael Gough's Rhythm and Groove

Kentucky Bluesman Michael Gough has embarked on and completed an EP titled The EP, and is now ready to share the project and story behind it.

As a founding member of the Kentucky Blues Society and the Russellville Blues Society, Gough has been an essential part of the Kentucky music and Blues scene for many years.

The south-central Kentucky legend met with the African American Folklorist in Franklin, Kentucky, at Thunder Sound Studios to speak about his musical journey, inspirations, and the process of orchestrating The EP.

Gough's roots and humble beginning in music start in a church that sits on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee in the rural south.

Part two of an African American Folklorist interview with Kentucky blues artist Michael Gough.

From gospel to blues to Motown, Gough developed a style and played in bands that culminated in creating the Michael Gough Music Group in 1989. Since then, The Michael Gough Music Group has graced many stages with memorable performances still discussed today.

Part three of an African American Folklorist interview with Kentucky blues artist Michael Gough.

You can learn more about Gough's music here and find an exerpt from our conversation with Gough below:

Lamont Jack Pearley: The studio we are sitting in is where you're producing and orchestrating this new project?

Michael Gough: Correct! Started it a coupe of years ago, and there were some tragedies along the way. The original owner Billy Swayze is in a car accident. He's a great guy after Billy's passing. Well, I dropped the project for a year and just wasn’t feeling it. But now I’m back.

Lamont Jack Pearley: So now you have these songs that are rhythm and groove and the sound! I mean, besides sonically sounding great, they sound like soundtracks to movements.

Michael Gough: they instrumental we call it D Jam, which I’ve been playing it with all these different musicians for years and years and years.  It was our soundcheck song. Hard pill is slow, groove blues I wrote years ago.  We do a cover of Robert Johnson's "Love in Vein"s that John Martin guitar player;  John is a great guitarist, great guitarist!  And I'm not saying just because he's, I get to play with these my guitars, but I've witnessed John's transformation.

Lamont Jack Pearley:  So when it comes to Kentucky, would you say rhythm groove is the Kentucky sound?

Michael Gough:  No. No, I don't know. You know, I’m, like I said, I've been sheltered. You know, I'm by no means worldly. And I call this genre Rhythm and Groove because that's what we do. I don't know of anyone else that I would say do what we do.

Lamont Jack Pearley: Not yet! There's going to be some people that will be really inspired. They may not do it the way y'all do it, but I have an inclination. You know, that some up and coming musicians are going to be listening to this and it'll be their template.

Michael Gough: I would be humbled to know that something like that happens.

Lamont Jack Pearley is an applied folklorist, ethnographer and African American traditional music historian and practitioner enrolled at WKU in the African American and Folk Studies programs. He is an African American Studies Ambassador with the African American Studies Department, hosts a weekly segment on WKU Public Radio called the African American Folklorist, and is the editor of the African American Folklorist Newspaper. He was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame as Great Blues Historian and TV/Radio Producer (2017) and Great Blues Artist (2018).