“Captain Kentucky” takes us on a road trip through the Commonwealth and the places that informed his literary roots.
Driving along Paris Pike on a bright, chilly winter morning, I knew that I had much more ahead of me than rolling hills and ridge lines—as beautiful as those would prove to be. Several luminaries of Lexington’s arts scene are packed into the rental car with me: writer Ed McClanahan, musician Mark Vanderboegh, and photographer Guy Mendes, who graciously provided all of the images for this feature.
What, one might ask, was I doing driving the backroads of Kentucky with these guys? It’s a fitting question, and one I’ve reflected on several times in the weeks since. The simplest answer is that Ed agreed to let us accompany him on a tour of some of his childhood haunts—the communities of Maysville, Augusta, and Brooksville. The more complicated answer is that, over the last few years, I have been fortunate to learn more about Kentucky, a state in which I lived for a little more than a decade before being transplanted to the Rust Belt city of Buffalo, New York, from several of her more important descendants, including Brooksville’s own, Captain Kentucky.