Wednesday, December 14, 2016


As of today, KellysCountry is on vacation until...
 February 2nd 
(the first installment of The Party List - 2017)

We have changes coming for KellysCountry in the new year requiring some adjustments to the sight and my physical office space. 
I also need this time to regroup with family before life gets really crazy.

I will post snippets in January but nothing on a regular schedule.

Wishing you


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

TURNTABLE TUESDAY - In the Dark - Matt Harlan

One of the things I enjoy most about Matt Harlan's music is the ease in which you are drawn to listen. From the very first chord you feel the cares of your day ebb away like an outgoing tide. You don't care about how backed up things are at work, someone cut you off in traffic or that things didn't go as planned. What you do care about is how none of that matters at the end of the day. Something Bigger (Track 7) brings this into focus.

Like their previous album Raven Hotel, the conversational style and harmonious blend of Rachel Jones' aquamarine voice with Matt's sandier tone creates a pure sound reminiscent of another time.

I had the opportunity to ask Matt about this new project:

 What was your initial concept for In the Dark and do you feel you hit the mark? 
 We started out wanting to have an album that's a little more representative of what Rachel and I do when we play as a duo. The initial concept was just to record some new songs and keep it pretty stripped down. In that sense I think we hit the mark. It was kind of unexpected that the "dark" theme developed. I just had these new and unrecorded songs that seemed to fit together. Once we got going, I started to see how they were expressing these different aspects or impressions people have about "the dark". So, the lucky part was that it kinda hangs together in both ways: musically and thematically.

     How do you feel this is different conceptually from Raven Hotel?
     With Raven Hotel I was really trying to explore a variety of influences from different genres, so there's        jazz, country, rock and folk pretty clearly represented and separated. But on this one we were really going for a more unified sound where the influences are more like subtle undertones. I definitely wanted this one to be organic and see how it sounded when I played most of the music instead of bringing in a lot of session folks. We ended up getting a couple of friends to lay down some color, but it was important to have a sense of "this is just how I play it". In terms of content, it's a more poetic album I think, with fewer narrative-based songs. So there's more decoding that has to be done with the lyrics and that plays into the "in the dark" theme as well. The messages are obscured and semi-secret. 

    Some couples work well together, others not so much. Was it important for you that Rachel be            a force in this project?
It was very important that Rachel be a driving force on this one. Although she's been on the last two albums, we really wanted to showcase her contributions as a singer and harmony arranger on this one. She schools me on harmony parts and shows me how to sing them correctly. And of course we would disagree on how some of the music fit together, but all-in-all, we really work well together, so we're lucky that way.
    Why should someone who's never heard your music before make this their first venture into              the head and soul of Matt Harlan?
 One thing is I hope comes across is that we were very comfortable recording this one in ways we might not have been before. If you add that to the stripped down nature I think it becomes a good starting point since it's closer to what you'll typically see at a live show unless I'm playing with a full band. And I think it still manages to catch the dynamics between song types and topics so it's not just a bunch of folky love songs or something. Also, we finally got a good version of "Mozart", which is a song I've been trying to record on every record I've put out so far. Plus, we re-recorded a song called "Warm November". So, in a sense, there are these threads that go through the other albums back to the first, but it's also mostly new songs. Hopefully it's a classic "something for everybody" situation.

After listening to IN THE DARK, I believe that whether intentional or subconsciously, the album came together as it was meant to be. From the opening strains of the title cut to the 'drop the mic' ending of Mozart, you will set sail on calm waters at the end of a stormy day.

I'm tipping my hat:


You can purchase your copy of IN THE DARK via the following locations:

You can read a review of his earlier release, Raven Hotel, HERE.

Photo courtesy of Zach Bauman via Matt Harlan

To catch up with Matt Harlan, check out the following links:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

THE PARTY LIST - December 1 - 7

Note: Please remember to check with the venue as to whether or not there is a cover charge or ticket required for the shows you plan to attend. Also, some venues have an age restriction. Not all events take place in Texas. With that in mind I will begin listing them not only by day but by TEXAS and ON THE ROAD. With that in mind…

Thursday – 1
Dave Thomas – Hard Eight BBQ – Coppell
Clint Black – Dosey Doe’s – The Woodlands

Friday – 2
Bellamy Brothers – Silver Saloon – Terrell
Charlie Robison – Floore’s – Helotes
            /w Koe Wetzel
Dave Thomas – Hard Eight BBQ – Roanoke
Dolly Parton – American Bank Center Arena – Corpus Christi
Jack Nelson – Beer Garden – Midland – 9 p.m.
Dale Watson – The White Horse – Austin
Michael Martin Murphey – One World Theatre – Austin
            Cowboy Christmas!

Saturday – 3
Bellamy Brothers – Honky Tonk Texas – Silsbee
Mike Blakely – Hill Country Pottery – Comfort – 1-4 p.m.
            /w Annie Blakely
            Holiday Reception
Dolly Parton – Verizon Theatre – Grand Prairie
Jack Nelson – The Broken Spoke Saloon – Amarillo – 8 p.m.
Dale Watson – 11th Street Cowboy – Bandera
Josh Grider – Tavern On Main – Buda
Terri Hendrix – Cave Without a Name – Boerne
            /w Lloyd Maines
Scott Taylor Band – Tropical Christmas Festival – Rockport – Noon – 1p.m.
Michael Martin Murphey – The Barnhill Center @ Historic Simon – Brenham
            Cowboy Christmas!

Sunday – 4
Byrd & Street – Threadgill’s – Austin – 6-9 p.m.
            7th Annual Mistletoe Jam!
Michael Martin Murphey – The Heights Theater – Houston
            Cowboy Christmas!

Monday – 5
Dolly Parton – NRG Arena – Houston
Bracken Hale – Poodie’s – Spicewood
Michael Martin Murphey – Texas A & M – Corpus Christi
            Cowboy Christmas!

Tuesday – 6
Mike Blakely – Burger Burger – Fredricksburg – 7-9 p.m.
            /w Annie Blakely
Dolly Parton – Frank Erwin Center – Austin

Wednesday – 7
Mike Blakely – On the Rocks – Cottonwood Shores – 7-9 p.m.
            /w john Arthur martinez & Kurt Baumer

Thursday – 1
Lee Greewood – Firekeepers Casino Hotel Event Center – Battle Creek MI
Johnny Lee – Clay Cooper Theater – Branson MO
Vince Gill – Ryman – Nashville TN
            Christmas @ the Ryman with Amy Grant
Tracy Lawrence – Kanza Hall – Overland Park KS
Terri Clark – Golden Nugget – Las Vegas NV
Mickey Gilley – Clay Cooper Theater – Branson MO
Oak Ridge Boys – Vern Riffe Center for the Perf. Arts – Portsmouth OH
            Christmas Celebration Tour!
Buddy Case – Fox & Fork – Clarksville AR
Gatlin Bros – Gaylord Opryland Convention Center – Nashville TN
            2 Shows

Friday – 2
Bart Crow – JB’s Downtown – Joplin MO
Tracy Lawrence – Grizzly Rose – Denver CO
Oak Ridge Boys – Renfro Valley KY
            Christmas Celebration Tour!
Exile – Angelic Hall – Lebanon  KY
Ragged Union – Kline’s Beer Hall – Arvada CO
Gatlin Bros – Gaylord Opryland Convention Center – Nashville TN

Saturday – 3
Sylvia – Ernest Tubb Record Shop – Nashville TN
            In-store CD Signing!
Jeannie Seely – TPC Conf. & Convention Center – York PA
Clint Black – Silver Star Convention Center – Philadelphia MS
Travis Tritt – Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park – Pompano Beach FL
Tracy Lawrence – The Fox Pavillion – Hays KS
Oak Ridge Boys – Crystal Grand Music Theatre – Wisconsin Dells WI
            Christmas Celebration Tour!
Exile – Ross Country Jamboree – Scottsburg IN
Gatlin Bros – Gaylord Opryland Convention Center – Nashville TN

Sunday – 4
Tanya Tucker – Grand Event Center @ the Golden Nugget – Las Vegas NV
Travis Tritt – Florida Theatre Jacksonville – Jacksonville FL
Oak Ridge Boys – Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort – Mount Pleasant MI
            Christmas Celebration Tour!
Gatlin Bros – Gaylord Opryland Convention Center – Nashville TN

Monday – 5
Gatlin Bros – Gaylord Opryland Convention Center – Nashville TN

Tuesday – 6
Oak Ridge Boys – Crouse Performing Hall – Lima OH
            Christmas Celebration Tour!

Wednesday – 7
Vince Gill – Ryman – Nashville TN
            Christmas @ the Ryman with Amy Grant
Gatlin Bros – Gaylord Opryland Convention Center – Nashville TN