From placing well in large-scale musical contests, garnering praise from Kentucky’s music scene, appearing on local radio stations, continuing to compete in contests, as well as their upcoming live performance at the internationally recognized World Equestrian Games on October 1st, it’s easy to see that Straight Laced is literally “going places.”

Composed of two students from Owensboro Catholic High School—Jenny Beth Willis, 15 (lead vocals) and Emily Wills, 15 (fiddle, keyboard, and harmony vocals)—as well as a student from Daviess County High School—Quinton Pence, 16 (guitar and harmony vocals)—Straight Laced is a self-proclaimed “acoustic country” band that also incorporates hints of gospel and bluegrass styles.

iSurf News spoke with both Jenny and Emily to find out a little more about the band, including what the band has in store for the future, where they’ve gone so far, and how they got their band’s name.

Jenny explained that her dad had first given them the idea for the name, “Straight Laced”, yet she admitted that she had never heard the phrase before. 

“He said it meant that you were wholesome, made good choices, and follow the rules,” said Jenny, “and that’s pretty much all of us.”

As far as contests go, Jenny and Emily explained that they had made it into the Colgate Country Showdown competition, which is “one of oldest country music talent searches in the US.”

They stated that they had won the local level competition this past June and will be moving on to the state level this Saturday, September 25th, where they will compete for the chance to attend the Colgate Regional’s in South Dakota. From there, they could win a chance to compete in the National’s, which take place in Nashville.

For the local contest, Emily and Jenny explained that, “We wrote a completely original song called, ‘Purple Heart.’ It’s a patriotic song that’s about veterans, and it’s actually about a show we played. We did a show a couple of months ago in the summer, and it was for World War II veterans. After we were finished, this older man came up to us and told us that the songs we played meant a lot to him. Then, after he finished talking to us, his daughter came up and said that he had gotten a Purple Heart Award when he came back from the war, so that was what really inspired the song.”

To hear “Purple Heart,” see a live performance of the song, and to find out more info on the band, you can visit Straight Laced’s Facebook fan page at the following address:!/pages/Straight-Laced/127886193913352.

In addition to their local win in the Colgate Country Showdown, Jenny and Emily said that they had also recently won 3rd Place out of approximately 110 contestants in the Coca-Cola Classic Talent Contest at the Kentucky State Fair.

In regards to how Straight Laced had been given the chance to play live at the World Equestrian Games, Jenny and Emily said that their parents had gotten in touch with the WEG organizers and arranged the concert to take place on October 1st.  Though the thought of playing live at such a massive event might make most people a little anxious, the girls confidently explained that they were “really excited” about the show rather than “nervous.”

With all of these accomplishments—past, present, and future—iSurf News would like to wish the best of luck to these young, talented musicians in all that they do, and would also like to say “Thanks” for taking the time to talk with us.

Luke Short
iSurf News
Photos provided by Straight Laced


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Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

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