Kelsey Waldon has a way of capturing the attention of her listeners. One person whose attention she captured is none other than John Prine, who signed her to his label Oh Boy Records. She is the first act he has signed to his label in 15 years. On the new album White Noise/White Lines, Waldon gives you plenty of reasons to pay attention to her.
From the beginning of the first song “Anyhow”, you notice that her voice is not the voice of the slick country that comes out of Nashville. Her vocals have a little more of an edge to them than what you hear on country radio stations. It is a voice that is somehow familiar, with some similarity to Iris Dement. This song also gives you the first taste of spacey pedal steel by Brett Resnick, which is prominent throughout the album.
“White Noise, White Lines” is another song with plenty of pedal steel. In this moody tune, Waldon reflects on the brevity of life with the lyrics, “We’re only here for a moment, then we’re gone.” The song closes with an extended instrumental in which Mike Khalil’s guitar takes on a psychedelic sound and the beat provided by Nate Felty is strong despite the mellow mood. After the instrumental, you hear a Chickasaw Tribe chant that Waldon recorded on her phone at her dad’s hunting camp.
Another recording appears on the album as an interlude between songs. The clip is a voicemail from Walden’s dad telling her that he he heard her played on the radio.
Waldon shows her versatility as a singer whether she sings with only her acoustic guitar (“Lived and Let Go”) or singing a song like “Black Patch”, which, with its twin fiddles by Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer, is perfect for slow dancing in a dark honky-tonk. She even taps into a bit of a soul sound in “Sunday’s Children”. The soul sound comes mainly from the bass line laid down by Alec Newnam and the Wurlitzer played by Jake Sherman, but it is noticeably different than the other songs.
This is an impressive country album. It’s pretty easy to see why she caught the attention of John Prine. She proves herself to be an excellent songwriter with timeless vocals. White Noise/White Lines will be available everywhere on October 4. Order your copy here.