We’re cracking open this six pack with Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky’s own Kelsey Waldon. If you aren’t familiar with Kelsey, shame on you!! Just kidding, Kelsey has paid her dues touring relentlessly and honing her craft and her career is certainly on the rise.
Her craft of songwriting caught the ear of none other than John Prine. Mr. Prine signed Kelsey to his label, Oh Boy Records and on October 4th, she drops her new album ‘White Noise / White Lines.” Kelsey holds the distinction of being the first artist signing at Oh Boy Records in over 15 years.
If you want to hear a preview of her album, you can catch her set at the Railbird Festival this weekend. She’s playing The Burl Stage from 2:00-2:45 on Sunday.
You can also check out her music video of the first single, “Anyhow” below.
First off Kelsey, thanks for sharing your music with the world. We’re certainly excited to shine our little light on ya here at Capture Kentucky.
CK: Let’s start with the big news. Your new home at Oh Boy Records, which is owned by the one and only John Prine. How did that relationship come about?
Kelsey: My relationship with Oh Boy was very organic and just grew in respect and love over time. It’s a relationship that has probably been building for the last 3 years or so. I met Fiona and the team first, they had actually heard my record “I’ve Got A Way” and said they were big fans and that John was as well. I was granted the opportunity to open for John on a couple dates in late 2018, and after that, John and I’s personal relationship really grew. Timing was right, and John really wanted to put the record out. It all worked out perfectly and exactly the way it should have.
CK: Let’s talk about your video for “Anyhow.” You have quite the cast of characters within the old church. Are those characters that are represented in your songs or just simply friends?
Kelsey: For the “Anyhow” video, we wanted it to basically feel like a church of degenerates, of sorts, like I was preaching my truth to the outcasts of the world kind of thing. Those were all just friends of mine from around town. We got together a list of true characters that day, each one of them are wild, wonderful, and beautiful in their own ways. We all had a lot of fun.
CK: Your new album is out on October 4th. In your own words what can listeners expect from ‘White Noise / White Lines?’
Kelsey: Expect a real record, performed by a real band, with songs written straight out of the human experience. It’s all very transparent, straight from the heart. Hopefully they’ll feel like the record is an experience in itself.
See Kelsey Waldon perform the John Prine classic, “Paradise” below.
CK: I had the great pleasure of streaming your new record. So let’s dig into a little bit of the background of my personal favorite track from ‘White Noise / White Lines.’ I love the classic Country vibe and all the beautiful guitar work. Tell us more about “Black Patch” and how that song took shape.
Kelsey: Black Patch is a song inspired by dark fired tobacco (native to West Kentucky) and the Black Patch war of 1904. Around that time big corporate tobacco companies came in and started taking all the power away from small, local and family farms. In resistance and rebellion of that, the small farm owners starting fighting back. Anyone that took up with the big tobacco company, the small farmers set those people’s fields on fire until they stopped pushing down so much on the little man, per say, and agreed to start paying those small farmers more. It all sounds really crazy but I saw it as a beautiful revolt and message. I believe in the small farms of the world and power to the people. The imagery was so romantic to me, I decided to write a song about it.
CK: I absolutely love the story of “Black Patch”, as much as I do the song. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing you perform several times over the past couple of years. The biggest compliment I can give about your performances is also the biggest takeaway for me from your performances and that would be genuinely authentic. I love that aspect about you and your music. This album also feels very personal. When writing and/or performing, do you shape the song or do you follow where it leads?
Kelsey: I really appreciate that. The album is very personal. Honestly, I do a little of both when it comes to writing and performing. Sometimes I have things exactly the way I want them to be and sometimes I want to leave room for a little magic and danger to see what happens. I’m constantly following my muse.
CK: Kentucky is stacked with some truly amazing female artists. Ladies like Senora May, Chelsea Nolan, Maggie Noelle of Magnolia Boulevard. Even some teenagers like Rhyan Sinclair, Larah Helayne and Madison Lewis seem to be on a trajectory towards the moon with their talents. If we gathered those ladies in one room, what advice would you give them all?
Kelsey: I love so many of these women. I’d say, don’t ever let anyone define you, or tell you who or what you need to be. Have no fear, and if you do have fear, do it anyway because that means it must be really good. Sing it loud and give it absolute hell. Just follow your arrow.
I often say that we’re in the midst of a musical revolution here in Kentucky. Something akin to San Francisco when the Grateful Dead changed the sonic landscape or say Seattle with grunge. The talent coming from Kentucky is abundant and potentially legendary. Having said that, I’m excited to see you continue to grow as an artist. The doors here at Capture Kentucky are always open to ya.
Thanks for being awesome and I hope we cross paths again sooner rather than later!
Enjoy Kelsey’s second single “Sunday’s Children.” This one is hot off the presses:
2. White Noise, White Lines
3. Kentucky (Interlude)
4. Kentucky, 1988
5. Lived and Let Go
6. Black Patch
7. Run (Interlude)
8. Run Away
9. Sunday’s Children
10. Very Old Barton
11. My Epitaph
See Kelsey Waldon On Tour:
Aug. 11 – Lexington, KY – Railbird Festival
Sept. 7 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Festival
Sept. 10-14 – Nashville, TN – AMERICANAFEST
Oct. 1 – Hollywood, CA – John Anson Ford Amphitheater (with John Prine)
Oct. 3 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater (with John Prine)
Oct. 4 – Davis, CA – Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (with John Prine)
Oct. 12 – Springfield, MO – Juanita K. Hammons Hall (with John Prine)
Oct. 13 – St. Louis, MO – Stifel Theatre (with John Prine)
Nov. 11-15 – Punta Cana, Domincan Republic – All The Best Festival
Dec. 6 – Orlando, FL – Bob Carr Theater (with John Prine)
Dec. 7 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall (with John Prine)