Turner Whaley to Kentucky Just Us

This article has been edited since it first appeared, to correct some erroneous information.

Kentucky Just Us has announced a new guitarist in the band, the first non-family member to perform with them regularly.

The group had always consisted of the members of the blended Meador/O’Neal family. Terry and Shelane O’Neal have been married for 28 years, and their two children Kasey and Caleb play fiddle and mandolin in the group. John and Jesse Meador play guitar and banjo, the children of Shelane’s aunt, who have lived with the O’Neal’s for many years and are considered part of the family.

All six of them started as a band in 2014, with mom on bass and dad handling transportation and business arrangements. Their pristine harmony, and the high lonesome singing of John and Jesse, made them an instant hit with lovers of traditional bluegrass.

Now John Paul has taken his leave, and Turner Whaley has come in to play guitar and sing. The 22 year old Pigeon Forge, TN native has been a grasser all his life. His father, Jimbo Whaley, was a founding member of the popular Tennessee band, Pine Mountain Railroad, and now performs with his own group, Jimbo Whaley and Greenbrier.

Terry O’Neal says that Whaley is fitting in nicely, and offering Kentucky Just Us some new stylistic options.

“Turner is an amazing guitar player and his strong lead and harmony vocals brings great new dynamics to our band. Turner also graduated from the University of Tennessee this past December with a degree in Marketing and is currently working a job in Kodak, TN. Turner has agreed to play with us for the rest of 2020. As with everyone right now the future is uncertain but we are staying positive and hoping that all of this will soon pass. In the meantime we have been working very hard together, and are excited to welcome Turner to our band. We can’t wait to share our music with everyone.”

They have shared this rehearsal video to show everyone that their sound will still hew to the traditional bluegrass sound, as it has been since the beginning.

A new Gospel album, Stand By Me, is expected from Kentucky Just Us on July 27. Pre-orders are available now online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.