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Ballard County Native Kelsey Waldon to Play YACtoberfest Friday

Kelsey Waldon performs Paducah's YACtoberfest on Friday, October 1st.
Laura E. Partain
Courtesy of the artist
Kelsey Waldon performs Paducah's YACtoberfest on Friday, October 1st.

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 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.

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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