When we first began planning our Spring Collection and its small-town theme, we knew we had endless possibility for inspiration and evocation just outside our studio doors.  Taylorsville is an interesting mix of charm, tradition, struggle, possibility, and honesty--all seen in glimpses on and around our little Main Street.  As we compiled photos from the shoot into our seasonal Look Book, all we were missing was music to complete the picture of life in this beautiful, quaint place.  

Immediately, we knew who could sing about it most clearly and poignantly--who better to convey a provocative portrait of small-town life than one of Taylorsville's own, J.D. Shelburne?  Equal parts down-to-earth, kind, gracious, and incredibly talented, Shelburne is a skilled musician who has taken his rural roots to Nashville, singing with some of today's biggest stars and on some of the brightest stages.  

We were honored and thrilled J.D. agreed to allow us to feature his song "Something 'Bout A Small Town" as soundtrack to our Look Book, and we're betting you'll find some favorites in his latest releases, "Grandma & Garth" and "Farm Boy."

Though he's making his way on the Nashville scene, J.D. has stayed true to his small-town, raised-right beginnings (even playing packed-house free concerts here in town and filming his debut music video on the family farm!)  We loved having the chance to ask him about life in Taylorsville and how his love of music began.  Enjoy the interview…and hope you can make it to one of his shows this spring--we have a feeling tickets won't be around for long!


Emily/Elva Fields: What was the best thing about growing up in a small town? 

J.D.:  Everybody knew everybody.  No matter where you went in town whether it was the grocery store, gas station or church you always knew everybody around.  I still miss that.

EF: How did you learn to play the guitar? 

J.D.: My grandmother Clara Mae Shouse passed away during the summer of my freshman and sophomore year of college (June 2002) at the University of Kentucky. During the summer months after her death we began going through her belongings at her house and began to box up her things to split between the family.  As we were in the midst of cleaning we came across an acoustic guitar that used to belong to my Uncle Tommy.  I ended up taking the guitar back to college with me and started learning my favorite songs that were on the radio during my spare time between classes.  Thanks to the internet (Google) and a guitar chords booklet that was in the guitar case, I slowly began to teach myself how to play. I would perform on campus, in my house for friends and any gig I could play to gain exposure.  Next thing I knew I was playing bars, field parties and also in my hometown First Baptist Church in Taylorsville. The fan base began to grow. My musicianship kept improving.  The rest is history.

EF: What is your earliest music-related memory? 

J.D.: My parents bought me 7 drum sets growing up as a child. I loved playing drums when I was a kid.  I would get one for Christmas each year and I would end up tearing the kit up from playing so much before the new year.  Also mom and dad took me to see Garth Brooks at Freedom Hall in 1992. I still remember it.  I will never forget when Garth came out of the floor on his introduction...I have been hooked on performing ever since.

EF:  What was your favorite music growing up? 

J.D.:  Country.  I have loved country music since I was a kid. Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson & Clay Walker are among my early favorites. 

EF:  Life on a farm...did you have specific chores/duties? 

J.D.: Anything my dad or Grandpa asked I had to do. (Ha!) We raised tobacco on the Shelburne farm, so I started at an early age of 8 years old doing every tobacco job known.  Each summer I would also work in hay, paint the barns and anything a "farmboy" would do to earn a couple bucks and get a farmers tan.

EF: What do you miss most about Taylorsville now that you're away? 

J.D.:  My family.  I miss seeing mom, dad and my brother on a daily basis.  Growing up with my family we are all close. I still talk to mom and dad every single day. I miss seeing them but hopefully if things strike and I land a big record deal...mom and dad are moving to Nashville! Can't wait!

EF:  When will you be in the Bluegrass again?  

J.D.:  I will be in the area a lot this summer: Kentucky Derby Festival in April and May, 4th Street Live opening for Chris Young on May 2, and a lot of other gigs as well.  Check out my full tour schedule at www.jdshelburne.com/tour

Thank you, J.D.--we're already looking forward to hearing you live after enjoying your music in the studio--best of luck and thanks again for making your home town of Taylorsville come to life for our friends and fans!

(all images courtesy of jdshelburne.com)
  • Posted byEmily Maynard /


  • Posted On March 20, 2013 by Amy

    Great interview! JD is one of a kind. He loves his fans and treats them all like family. He always makes time for them no matter how busy he is.And I believe that no matter how big this smalltown star gets….he will always remember where he came from. He has a very bright future ahead of him and I am happy to be able to say " I knew him when"

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