Megan Jean and the KFB and Curtis Eller’s American Circus

By Samantha Smith

Photos: Lee Herndon


The air in Downtown Roanoke on the night of October 9, 2013 was unusually warm for both this particular region and this particular time of the year, but it was, nonetheless, a night which all patrons of Martin’s cherished as they said goodbye to what was left of their summer skin, welcoming autumn with a sense of romantic whimsy.

It was a scene to which I am very familiar, a scene in which I have found myself many nights before, more often than not traveling no less than an hour just to be a part of it all, but somehow this all too familiar evening had all the makings of a night unlike any other. On the bill was a band to which I was introduced at Floydfest 12, one which I have hardly stopped thinking about since then. Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band, a duo so much in love with their lives and each other, not to mention the music that they make, that it is hard not to fall in love with them as they bare their souls to each other on stage. They share a part of themselves with their fans that most people lock away in diaries or furtive notes to be long forgotten at the bottom of drawers.


The most exciting part of this evening though was not just the combination of great company and beverage, but the delicate pairing of Curtis Eller’s American Circus with Megan Jean and the KFB. Roughly a month before this night I was lucky enough to catch Curtis Eller’s American Circus opening for MJKFB at the Flat Iron in Greensboro, NC. It was a serendipitous discovery. After hearing that these two eclectic and harmonious bands would be performing in Roanoke together again we knew that this was a night of music which we would never forgive ourselves for missing.  Curtis Eller not only brings alive a style of music that ceased to exist since the days of prohibition but the performance value of his act makes an evening with him on the stage (the tables, the chairs, the street) a priceless memory.


My favorite part about shows in these intimate genre of venues is the ability to communicate with the performer either before or after they take the stage. Megan Jean submerges herself in her fans, becoming a beautiful face in a crowd of adoring music lovers. It’s not unlikely that you will bump into a performer at the bar or in the bathroom and they are always so gracious and happy to hear what you have to say.

Twitter: @sweetsummersam