Sisters to make first visit to Hall of Fame
By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com
There aren’t many people who can say their first visit to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame is a performance gig.
Meet Rayna Warford and Ramsey Nicholson, sisters who will be making their Hall of Fame debut on Saturday, April 13 as the regular Saturday afternoon performance by Kentucky artists.
“Initially, when (Hall of Fame director Avery Bradshaw) invited us, we thought we would be singing off in some corner or something like that,” says Warford. Little did R&R, as the duo is called, realize they would be on the main stage as the main attraction for a ticketed event. The concert starts at 3 p.m.
“We haven’t done a lot of shows where people have to pay,” Warford chuckles.
For 15 years, however, the sisters have been well known through parts of central Kentucky as they appear in festivals, private events and churches bring a blend of country, bluegrass and gospel music. The set list usually depends on who is in the crowd and they say their style might be somewhat like The Secret Sisters.
The variety has been there since their solo performances as preschoolers. “When I was five years old, I sang ‘God Bless the USA,’” Rayna says.
Ramsey, however went a different direction as a four-year-old singing at the Anderson County Burgoo Festival. “I sang, (Loretta Lynn’s) ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man,’” she smiles, “then the next one I sang was “Blue’ by Lee Ann Rimes.”
Today the mix is from many different directions.
“We try to please the audience,” says Ramsey, who plays the mandolin.
They do so with a series of covers and a few original songs. The covers are what is familiar to the audience, but during a recent interview, the sisters showed just how in tune they are with each other.
“We try not to do,” Rayna says before Ramsey finishes the sentence, “anything that is popular at that moment.”
Rayna, the guitarist, says it is strategic to avoid comparisons with the big name current artists.
But they also have a few original works, such as “Lawrenceburg,” written as a tribute to their hometown. It became a locally-popular video.
“A lot of people thought we just came in here and saw a cute little town and wrote a song,” Ramsey says with an expression that is clear that the perception is well off the mark.
But the video has also made R&R celebrities of a sort in their hometown. Ramsey laughs as the recalls something that happened while she was shopping. “One day, a girl in Walmart kept staring at me,” she says. “Finally, she came up to me and said, ‘You are the girl in the Lawrenceburg video!”
But their local celebrity status also led to a touching moment last summer. A local funeral home contacted the sisters about a family wanting to have “Your Last Day,” a song Rayna penned, sung at a loved one’s funeral. “It’s a ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ type song,” she says.
“I was mowing my yard when my phone buzzed,” Ramsey says of that call. “We gave them a CD to use.”
While the sisters have sung at many venues in central Kentucky — “We travel anywhere people invite us,” Rayna says — the appearance at the Hall of Fame is an opportunity for Rayna and Ramsey to introduce themselves and their music to a wider audience.
The date materialized last August when Rayna and Ramsey were performing in the Anderson County booth in the Pride of the Counties section at the Kentucky State Fair. “Jessica (Bray, of Kentucky Country Music) said, ‘You should go visit the Rockcastle County booth.’”
The intent was to make a contact with Bradshaw for a possible future booking.
Rayna continues, “During a break, we went over to the Rockcastle booth. It was a few rows over from the Anderson booth, but Avery was working that day. After some introductions, Bradshaw made his way to the Anderson booth where the sisters were playing amid everything going on at the fair.
“There was no P.A. and it was all acoustic,” Rayna says. “For our harmonies, we have to hear each other.”
Was it difficult?
“Oh my goodness!” Rayna laughs.
But Bradshaw heard enough to invite the sisters to the Hall of Fame. They hope it leads to a more bookings.
“We have been off for a while,” says Rayna, who sometimes travels in her job with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, making scheduling tricky at times. However, Ramsey says working around her job as a Certified Pharmacy Technician is not difficult.
The music is crisp with tight harmonies and can reach a variety of audiences.
“We just really enjoy it,” Ramsey says of the performing.
And those who hear R&R are likely to say the same thing.
For ticket information, see the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Facebook page or visit http://www.kentuckymusichalloffame.com.
For bookings, contact Rayna and Ramsey on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ALittleRandRinKY/