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Preview: Kelly Willis Releasing "Back Being Blue" on May 18

Artist: Kelly Willis
Title: Back Being Blue
Release Date: May 18, 2018
Label: Premium Records/Thirty Tigers
  • CD
  • Vinyl
  • Digital
Kelly Willis' new album Back Being Blue is out May 18 on Premium Records/Thirty Tigers. Additionally, on April 19 Willis begins her much anticipated North American tour.

"Willis steps into the solo spotlight with her seventh full-length project, an enchanting collection of self-penned tunes and impeccably chosen covers. Showcasing the jagged, vulnerable vocals of a honky-tonk angel who's also freely dabbled in rockabilly, power pop, new wave and R&B, it's that last genre that informs the dazzling title tune" lauds Rolling Stone Country.

Of the title track Willis explains, "Up until writing that song, my songs were all feeling a little bit wordy and complicated and personal, and they just weren't clicking. Then I wrote that one, I just felt like, oh!--what I need to do is try to simplify, and write these stories in a way that feels like you're not quite sure what era they were written in."

Back Being Blue is Willis' seventh full-length studio album and her first solo project since her 2007 LP Translated from Love. Willis' husband, Bruce Robison, produced the new album analogue style in his rural recording studio in their home state of Texas. Willis wrote six of the 10 tracks herself, with help from the likes of Rodney Crowell on the additional four. Notable guests on the record include Eleanor Whitmore (of The Mastersons and Steve Earle and the Dukes), Mark Spencer (of Son Volt) and Trevor Nealon (of Band of Heathens).

Willis explains, "I attempted to make music that could fit in any era but leans on the simplicity of the music that first inspired me. Roots rockabilly country blues, to narrow it down for you! Kind of a Nick Lowe meets Skeeter Davis meets Crystal Gayle. Sounds that were in full blaze when I first moved Austin."< Willis is herself a longtime feature in the city, having moved to Austin to pursue music shortly after graduating from high school. Not long after, famed singer/songwriter Nancy Griffith took a shine to her voice and recommended Willis to producer Tony Brown, one of the titans of Nashville country, who signed her to a deal with MCA. Willis found herself in the spotlight of country music world in Nashville, with three albums released to widespread critical acclaim. In the intervening years, Willis' refined her signature alt-country style on her own terms, releasing three full-length albums, and collaborating with her husband Bruce Robison on additional projects. Her last album, Translated from Love, was released in 2007 to ardent critical praise. NPR's Fresh Air termed the album, "...a terrific piece of pop opera..." WhileInterview Magazine echoed, "...Kelly Willis ultimately blows away the year's biggest noisemakers."

Track List:
  • Back Being Blue
  • Only You
  • Fool's Paradise
  • Modern World
  • Freewheeling
  • Afternoon's Gone Blind
  • What the Heart Doesn't Know
  • I'm a Lover (Not a Fighter)
  • We'll Do It for Love Next Time
  • Don't Step Away
Tour Dates:
  • 04/19 - Austin, TX - KGSR's Unplugged at Shady Grove
  • 04/25 - Fort Worth, TX - The Yard
  • 05/18 - Bastrop, TX - Bastrop Music Festival
  • 05/19 - Houston, TX - Mcgonigel's Mucky Duck
  • 05/20 - Gruene, TX - Gruene Hall KNBT Music Festival
  • 05/26 - Dallas, TX - Kessler Theater
  • 06/02 - Austin, TX - Stateside Theater
  • 06/04 - Cambridge, MA - Atwoods
  • 06/05 - New York City, NY - The Loft at City Winery
  • 06/06 - Pawling, NY - Daryl's House
  • 06/08 - Alexandria, VA - Birchmere
  • 06/09 - Norfolk, VA - North Point House Concerts
  • 06/10 - Annapolis, MD - Rams Head On Stage
  • 06/16 - Eden, TX - Green Apple Arts Center
  • 06/22 - Gruene, TX - Gruene Hall
  • 06/23 - Franklin, TN - The Franklin Theatre
  • 06/24 - Atlanta, GA - Smithe's Olde Bar
  • 06/29 - Columbus, OH - Natalie's
  • 06/30 - Chicago, IL - TBD
  • 07/01 - St Louis, MO - Off Broadway
  • 07/21 - Gateshead, UK - Sage Gateshead
  • 07/23 - Bristol, UK - Redgrave Theatre
  • 07/24 - London, UK - The Lexington
  • 07/25 - Nottingham, UK - The Maze
  • 07/27 - Bury, UK - The Met
  • 07/28 - Leeds, UK - Seven Arts
  • 07/29 - Edinburgh, UK - Voodoo Room