To some, today serves as the official kickoff to summer. At Born & Bred we are fully aware that Memorial Day serves as a somber remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military. West Virginia is a state steeped in patriotism and we are always quick to honor our men and women in uniform who have fought to protect us at home.

Across the state, many will gather for parades and spend time with family honoring those we have lost. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some musicians from across the mountain state that have also served or are currently serving in the military and say thank you to everyone that has made the choice to enlist and sacrifice for the rest of us.

Check out the musicians below.

Bill Withers was born, fittingly, on July 4, 1938 in Slab Fork, WV. The writer and singer of hits like Lean On Me and Ain’t No Sunshine served in the Navy for nine years before becoming known for his chart topping success. Listen to Ain’t No Sunshine here:

Shipwreck Kelley is the brainchild and experimental outlet for Grafton native and current U.S. Chief Master Sergeant Lucas Shay. Check out the most recent track from Shipwreck Kelley, Mean Skreetz here:

Gethen Jenkins served for eight years in the Marines before he broke into the outlaw country scene. Born in Huntington, he moved out west and joined the military and served honorably with a deployment to Iraq in 2003. Check out his song Whiskey Bound:

Johnnie Johnson from Fairmont served in the Marines during World War II and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Johnnie is a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee for his work on piano, most notably playing for Chuck Berry who penned the song, Johnny B. Goode in honor of Johnson. You can hear him play here:

And last, but certainly not least, is the very first rapper to ever be in the U.S. Army Band, SSG Lamar Riddick. He has appeared all over the country representing the Army and has been on The Kelly Clarkson Show. He also has an active solo career and is always writing and crafting new material. You can hear his newest track W.O.W here: