Ballard County Native Kelsey Waldon to Play YACtoberfest Friday
Ballard county native Kelsey Waldon rose to stardom after being signed to the late John Prine's record label, Oh Boy Records, in 2019. She returns to western Kentucky to perform at Paducah's YACtoberfest this Friday. Waldon speaks to Tracy Ross about making music during the pandemic and her upcoming performance.
When the pandemic first shuttered venues and canceled musicians' tours, Waldon did what most musicians did—started recording livestreams and writing. It had been almost two years before Waldon returned to the stage.
"I think what everybody missed...is the community," she says. "It's the community and, for me personally, sharing the gifts that I have. My songs. Our live show is kind of fellowshipping. Getting a real crowd response and making that immediate connection is really big."
While she waited to return to the connection of a live audience, Waldon wrote. "I ended up having all this time off, and there was so much going on in the world that I really cared about. I wanted to stay creative and challenge myself in a lot of ways."
Her pandemic release, They'll Never Keep Us Down, was a "charity EP. It was strictly for that," Waldon says. "It wasn't really about me. I didn't think it was my time to release another original album. So, the EP is a special thing to raise money for organizations that I cared about. It was a way for me to try to put some positive into the world if I could."
Waldon also recently re-released The Gold Mine in July 2021. "It was the first album I recorded in Nashville almost eight years ago. It was never on vinyl. So, Oh Boy reissued that. It was some of my earliest tunes. They were still special to me, in a way, because I played them with so many of my first bands."
Waldon and her band talked about recording the songs to "give a new breath, new life" into them. "A good tune's a good tune," Waldon says. "I thought my band and myself now could give it a new backbone. We didn't do much promotion or anything. If you're a fan, you know it's out there. The real new-new is coming soon," she laughs.
Waldon will perform at Paducah's YACtoberfest on Friday, October 1st. "I will probably play a lot of songs from the earlier catalogue, a lot of tunes from White Noise. There might be a few covers. I always play a John Prine song, especially going forward. It will be a mixture of my catalogue, old and new. There will be some unreleased stuff as well."
For more information on YACtoberfest, including how to get tickets, visit the Yeiser Art Center's website.