This is the 2nd draft of this post...I was told the first one was a bit too much of a bro-mance love letter. I have the tendency to take on that tone when I talk about Kory Caudill and his musical abilities.
Kory and I met in 2003 when we attended Kentucky's summer program for budding artists, Governor's School for the Arts. We spent a lot of time learning about music together, and as the only two pianists from southeastern rural Kentucky, an unbreakable bond was formed. When we both separately chose Belmont for college in 2004, we decided to room together, as neither of us knew another soul going there - this was easily one of the greatest decisions I ever made.
While the video below is still not the most impressive of the several amazing selections of his on YouTube, I chose it for a specific reason. I know for a fact that Kory happened to record this video after he rolled off a tour bus one morning (probably with minimal sleep). I can just imagine him strolling in to a piano showroom and sitting down to play. The employees likely perked their ears, dropped their jaws and grabbed their cameras. It's a reaction I've witnessed (and personally experienced) several times, and it NEVER gets old:
Kory is a prodigy in every sense in the word, but I get a little defensive when people think it comes to him with no effort. Granted, he was playing John William's Superman theme at a RIDICULOUSLY young age, but he's worked extremely hard to get where he is today (touring with country star Justin Moore).
His drive and work ethic make him not only the most skilled musician I know, but also the most humble. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and this makes him all the more fun to listen to and learn from. (You'll notice the signature camo hat in the video above. He also performed his senior recital at Belmont in a white sport coat and UK hat.) Kory turned me on to my favorite professional pianist, Bruce Hornsby. We even got to meet him together - one of the best nights of my life. (No comments about my awesome hair and jacket, please.)
My formal musical education has been mostly classical, but I've learned almost everything I know about jazz and pop from living in close quarters with the best pianist I know, Kory Caudill. He's one of many great musicians that could be playing your next wedding or event!