Country music is going back to its roots and Kelsey Waldon is proof.
Her music has that classic tortured cowboy vibe, with classic country slide guitar, fingerpicking and twangy vocals that hit close to yodeling. Waldon plays a style that harkens back to country sweethearts like Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith and makes you swoon like the good ‘ole boys Guy Clark and Kris Kristofferson.
Waldon’s soulful exploration of classic country sounds has attracted several high profile admirers, most importantly John Prine, who was so taken with Waldon’s sound that he signed her to his record label, Oh Boy Records. Waldon’s the first musician Prine’s added to Oh Boy’s roster in 15 years. After years of knocking around the music business, Waldon was thrilled to join her idol’s label.
“The craziest things have happened [in my career],” Waldon tells BTRtoday. “But it is absolutely an honor to work with John.” The two have since toured together and performed duets—check out the video below of the two sharing a song about Waldon’s hometown. Her first album on the Oh Boy Records, White Noise/White Lines came out Friday, Oct. 4.
John Prine & Kelsey Waldon, “Kentucky Means Paradise”
“John was my idol when I first started writing songs and he still is, I mean he’s a huge reason I moved to Nashville,” Waldon says. Though she’s proud of her first two albums, it wasn’t until Oh Boy Records that she felt like she had finally found the perfect home for her music. “So, you know, this is a pretty exciting time in my career for sure,” she says.
White Noise/White Lines flawlessly combines the precision of contemporary country with the grit of old school country. Waldon wears her heart on her sleeve with every track—and her vulnerability feels badass. “When you share your truth like I do [on stage], I feel like others are inspired to, hopefully, embrace their own,” she says. “I just try to keep it extremely real—all the artists I looked up to that’s what they did as well.”
Kelsey Waldon, “Anyhow”
While her two previous albums were emotional, Waldon was telling someone else’s stories. In White Lines/White Noise she looked inward for inspiration. “All of it is real life, every bit of it is true,” she says. “I felt like I was really able to focus in on telling my own on this one.”
Kelsey Waldon is currently on tour and plays the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan on Oct. 9. In the meantime, listen to White Noise/White Lines in full and the entire interview with Waldon on this week’s The Music Meetup.