Magnolia Boulevard Teams up with Kentucky Green Grass

Magnolia Boulevard Official Website


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By all accounts, the music was happening from the very first time the members picked up instruments together, at an old industrial space in downtown Lexington in early 2017. There, the nascent band ran through a few cover tunes—some Tedeschi Trucks, Bonnie Raitt’s version of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery”—and, Copeland recalls, “it was basically chills up your back, like, ‘This is special.’”

From there, Magnolia Boulevard began making a name for themselves through incendiary, improv-heavy gigs at local Lexington-area spots like Cosmic Charlie’s and the Burl— “home base,” as Allen refers to the latter venue. Their ease as a live unit is hardly surprising— individually, the members have logged hundreds of hours onstage in various outfits. What’s more, the stage is literally where several of them first met. Recalls Erwin, “The first time I ever talked to Todd was when we were both playing a fill-in gig for a mutual friend. We finished setting up our gear before everyone else arrived and he looked at me and said, ‘Play something.’ I had this thing in my mind and, out of nowhere, played it. And that actually ended up becoming our song ‘Ride.’”

Allen tells a similar story, having crossed paths with Erwin when both were drafted to play “a little pickup gig for no money” at a local bar. “During the show Gregg said, ‘Hey man, I'm starting a band—do you want to come and play some keys?’” he recalls. “Somehow we just found each another.”

What they also found is a musical connection that is almost telepathic in nature. “There’s a lot of improvisation and playing in the moment when we’re together,” Erwin says. “The music is different every time depending on how the room feels, how we feel, how the audience feels. There are so many variables that go into it. There are certain landmarks within the songs, but the rest of it is pretty much free game.”

“We don't put a lot of restrictions on what we do,” Copeland continues. “And that allows up to keep the music fresh and express ourselves openly and completely. Songs become themselves as we play them live.”

That open expression has since attracted some fans in high places. In what has already become something like band lore, roughly a year ago they played a particularly fiery set at a 50th anniversary event for Willcutt Guitars in Lexington. Also on the bill? Ace Nashville picker Brent Mason and legendary guitar maker Paul Reed Smith, who were there to conduct a guitar clinic later in the day. That afternoon, Mason wound up accepting an offer from Erwin to join Magnolia Boulevard onstage, where together they ran through the Junior Wells and Buddy Guy classic, “Little By Little” (“not intimidating at all,” Erwin says with a laugh). Paul Reed Smith, for his part, was so enamored with their set that he subsequently took the band under his wing.

“Paul has become our champion,” says Erwin, himself a longtime PRS guitar player. “Which has just been mind-blowing.” 

Ryan Allen - Keys
Todd Copeland - Drums
Gregg Erwin - Guitar
John Roberts- Bass
Maggie Noelle - Vocals/Guitar







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