by Edward Miskie
Kristen Kelly is celebrating her return to the music scene and country music with her latest 2021, multi-part album Something Worth Saying, pt. 1. With a pedigree that includes a top 30 slot on Billboard, one of the first female artists inducting into the Country Music Television’s Next Women of Country Campaign, and a touring history that would knock any aspiring musician off their feet, all I have to ask is “what took so long”? Even Netflix got on board, featuring her 2020 release “Ashes” in season 7, episode 1 of The Ranch.
A Waco, Texas country girl, Kristen grew up singing in churches, talent shows, and choirs which cultivated her interest in poetry and writing. Having grown up around a country music recording artist, Sterling Kelly, she knew exactly what to do with her newly nurtured skills. But her rise to success is one of fairytales; a chance bartending shift in 2001
Kelly toured with such country giants as Rascal Flatts, Alan Jackson, and Willie Nelson; with that under her guitar strap, one wouldn’t expect anything less than the perfect quintessential country album from Kelly. Her haunting vocals give wind to a nostalgic era of country music on a backdrop of a modernized playlist of originals. But especially in “Rich Folk$” – where the guitar lick takes you down-home with “Billy’s chain-smoking while he’s dumping his change in the video poker machine” further painting a picture of a shanty where “the whiskey’s cold, and the beer is cheap” begging the question “I wonder what the rich folks are doin’ tonight?” – one can hear Kristen’s early career in the Grand Ole Opry all over this album with a nice updated sound similar to Sara Evans, Sheryl Crow, or Carrie Underwood. In addition to “Something Worth Saying pt. 1”, make sure to check out her viral Spotify hit “Ex-Old Man” and “Country Music”.
Kaelab Riyan Folks is a singer/songwriter from Staunton, VA. Short and sweet, his genre consists of a pop-like R&B sound. He is known as a hopeless romantic, and he likes to make his music about the realistic emotional encounters he has faced. We are just beginning to learn about him, but we see a ton of potential going forward!
His newest track is called, “Save Your Love” it definitely fits into his genre range. The piano chords that are the center piece of the instrumental are simple, but has that pop-element we look for that keeps your head bopping. His vocals are impressive, as he sings, “Save Your Love” during the hook which will easily get stuck in the listener’s head. One of our favorite parts of the track are his ability to vocally harmonize in areas. Check out the track below.