Kelsey Waldon - The Slaughtered Lamb, London
The Slaughtered Lamb has been a right of passage for country & Americana artists for a few years now. TDF has seen the likes of Jade Jackson, Brent Cobb, Samantha Crain and Nicole Atkins among a host of others. This Thursday night was the turn of the finest country singer to ever come out of Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky: Kelsey Waldon.
After breaking through with her 2016 album, I've Got A Way, the now Nashville-based Waldon signed with John Prine's record label for her third album, the wonderful White Lines/White Noise, which has been described as her most personal yet - though she told me it's her most focused yet as she considers all three of her records personal.
In a packed room, below a rowdy London pub, is the perfect setting for a stripped-down performance where the songs and Kelsey's Kentucky vocals take centre stage. She uses her rich tones to cover the likes of John Prine and Keith Whitley, while mixing songs from across her catalogue. The relaxed vibe made its way onto the stage as Kelsey's relaxed conversational style gave colour to her songs, despite her own admission that she's not really a talker.
Throwing out the most popular song from her most recent record as second song of the night was a brave move, and 'Kentucky, 1988' set the tone for a properly accomplished hour-long set. 'Black Patch' (about her family's tobacco field), 'Anyhow' (about being yourself), and 'White Noise/White Lines', with the excellent 'All By Myself' from I've Got A Way are the highlights, but the truth is there's not a song wasted. With her immaculate guitar playing and voice sounding spot on, it was a real showcase of one of country music's best talents.
Kelsey is supporting Ian Noe across the UK playing Glasgow(8th Feb), Belfast (9th Feb), Dublin (11th Feb) and Manchester (12th Feb) before moving onto Europe. All dates can be found on her website.