JD Shelburne, the kid that grew up in a small American town, Taylorville Kentucky, stands ready to reap the award of stardom that he has worked so diligently towards since his unique introduction to Country music. Though he’s always been passionate about music, Shelburne was, in essence, a late bloomer when it came to entertaining and one without formal training. Shelburne grew up on a tobacco farm with his mother, a schoolteacher and father, a principal and one younger brother. What he was instilled with at home was, “A strong work ethic, a love for family, and having a passion for what you do”. These values continue to serve JD well in his life and music.
His life diverted after his grandmother’s funeral. “I was 19 when she passed away,” Shelburne relays, “I had just moved away to attend college in Lexington. Just a few short months after my arrival on campus, she passed and had I went back home for her funeral, and I ended up finding a guitar in her closet. I took it back to college and developed the itch to play it. I played every single day in my apartment, in between classes until I started to grasp it. My Dad also had the keys to the church back home and I would take frequent trips home to go play in the sanctuary, practicing singing through a microphone. There was just something about developing my craft in an empty church sanctuary. That’s where it all started for me back in 2002. I’ll never forget those days. It just all came naturally.”
Friends advised Shelburne to start playing clubs as his passion of music and entertainment grew, and he started to sell out shows and build a loyal following. Shelburne began driving to Louisville to launch a wider musical journey. “When I was about to graduate college in 2007, my mind was all over the place. Should I give Nashville a shot or just put my 2 degrees to use? With so much support from back home and a rapidly growing fanbase, Music City, USA was my next stop.”
JD Shelburne entertains across the gambit of Country music, rocking a crowd like nobody’s business, and then tearing at your heartstrings with ballads that cut to the core of life and love. Shelburne does both more than two hundred times a year in venues ranging from packed clubs to huge festivals. Shelburne has also opened for such notable Country stars as Miranda Lambert, Craig Morgan, Chris Young, Marty Stuart, Jamey Johnson, and Montgomery Gentry. As one of the hardest-working singers in show business, Shelburne was recognized by the artist platform website, BandsInTown for playing the most shows of any of its half-million artists. Shelburne keeps up that touring pace while recording in the studio, where it all begins, creating new material regularly.
Including sharing the stage with 50 national acts, Shelburne has logged over 2,500 performances to date. The approach is genuine and simple. “I give them ninety minutes of high energy, but at one point I’ll break it down with a couple of acoustic ballads, sit on a barstool and tell a story or two.” Those stories give listeners more insight into his musical beginnings in Taylorsville, Kentucky, as all become aware of the dreams that took Shelburne from the family farm, to small hometown clubs, to Nashville, Tennessee. The live performances reinforce JD's appreciation and avowed love for his fans, every single one of them. Why be an entertainer if you are going to forget or take for granted your fans and audiences, that is something JD considers a travesty.
Shelburne’s other accomplishments are as diverse as they are impressive. These accomplishments cover appearances on Great American Country, articles in Country Weekly and live performances at over 100 fairs/festivals spanning the eastern region of the U.S throughout his stellar career. Tour dates include the CMA Music Festival, NCAA Women's Final Four, Quaker State 400 NASCAR Race, SunTrust Park, Guaranteed Rate Field, Great American Ballpark, Freedom Hall and Rupp Arena to name a few. To say Shelburne has played his fair share in the music industry, is an understatement. In addition, Shelburne has raised thousands of dollars for charities including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Blessings In a Backpack, and Susan G. Komen for the Cureand more.
It’s his relentless drive that is gaining Shelburne well earned national attention, one audience, and one record at a time. Shelburne has appeared on CMT, which premiered videos for his single “One Less Girl.”
This single has earned thousands of online views, aired on dozens of Country radio stations nationwide, and appeared on Nashville’s prestigious Music Row Chart in the top 30. Another single, “She Keeps Me Up Nights,” topped charts on the CMT 12-pack Countdown and Shelburne's latest release "Church Pew Bar Stool" debuted as at #1 on the same chart.
Nowhere is Shelburne more appreciated than in his home state of Kentucky. Shelburne has made numerous
appearances at the Kentucky Derby and his outfits have been featured on display in the museum at historic Churchill Downs. Shelburne was proud to perform the state song at the Capitol by request of the state’s Senate and House of Representatives, and was part of Hometown Rising in Louisville which was headlined by Tim McGraw, playing for a crowd of tens of thousands. Shelburne has been featured in Kentucky Monthly, Kentucky Living and Kentucky Alumni magazines and was named Most Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information in 2016.
Shelburne was selected to appear on the cover of the state’s 2020 Official Visitor’s Guide which printed over 400,000 copies statewide. JD mentions that, “My hometown of Taylorsville has provided me with a large platform to help share my story and chase down my dreams.” Shelburne returns with gratitude to his hometown to kick off his new releases with a free show drawing a massive following. If COVID is under control he hopes to return in the spring of 2021 to release his 6th album entitled "Straight from Kentucky" which will include his latest single "Church Pew Bar Stool" which debuted at #1 on the CMT 12-pack Countdown Chart.
JD Shelburne was recently honored with his own exhibit at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. These exhibits serve as an effort to highlight artists who have made a lasting impact on the music industry. On their official website, visitors will find more information about each artist and when their exhibit will become available for public viewing in the museum. All unveiling ceremonies will follow social distancing guidelines. Shelburne expresses his gratitude and love for the state that set a fire in his heart.
“As a fellow Kentuckian, I am humbled to know that I will have an exhibit in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame,” said Shelburne. “I am grateful and honored to know that I have achieved enough success in my career to achieve something of this caliber. I cannot put into words what this means and what the Commonwealth, the fans, my hometown, my family all mean to me. My roots still run deep down an ole dirt road that traces back to Taylorsville, KY for generations and beyond.”
As part of a special unveiling of his exhibit at the Kentucky Country Music Hall of Fame, Shelburne was presented with a formal acclamation from Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky, honoring JD Shelburne for his accomplishments in Country music. “What an incredible honor from the Governor of Kentucky to acknowledge my career and issue this wonderful acclamation recognizing it. Thank you to the Governor and staff,” shares Shelburne.
“It’s all about writing and recording great songs,” says Shelburne, with five albums in the rear-view and another in the works, “It boils down to a great lyric, something relatable and catchy, and a great melody my fans can relate to. I honestly felt like I was born to play music, write songs, and entertain people. It was just something I gravitated towards naturally but ended up finding later in life. Somethings happen for a reason. Nashville was my destination and I haven’t looked back since.” Fans who have followed him since the early days know just how impressive his combination of talent and dedication is. For those who are just learning about him, it’s obvious that for JDShelburne, the sky's the limit