Ballard County native Kelsey Waldon to headline Lower Paducah Arts and Music Festival

The Downtown Arts & Music Festival will be held on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11 in Paducah’s historic Downtown Arts District. ), a native of western Kentucky, began performing in local music halls. morning edition Host Daniel Hurt was interviewed ahead of Walden’s upcoming show, and she said it felt like coming home.

“I’m from Ballard County,” Walden began. “I was born and raised there, grew up in the Ohio Valley. It means a lot to come home and play. I hope a lot of people come out. I feel like a lot of people feel like if I don’t play and I’m not playing shows at home anymore, I’m always on the list. Playing in places like Lexington and Louisville, but I feel like the music scene in Paducah is always growing, which means a lot to me.

Walden was part of this thriving music scene, performing at local music venues and open mics in the Paducah area, including the Elks Club and the American Legion Hall. She’s also performed at open mics at Moss Rose (a former Paducah restaurant that featured music) and at Etcetera Coffeehouse, which has been open on Friday nights for nearly a decade. Her first show in Paducah was at FYE at Kentucky Oaks Mall.

“We used to go to Fulton and play with the Mets,” Walden added. “That’s when I really figured it all out. The first time I played my original song was at that club in Metropolis, Illinois. That’s where I played my first original song. I remember it was scary. , it was probably just my mom and my grandma there. She said she respected the local artists she watched in those early years and always appreciated the welcoming atmosphere of the western Kentucky music community.

“Some of the first bands I looked at were Bawn in the Mash, all those people like Nathan Blake Lynn and Josh Coffey. They’ve been huge supporters of mine. I’ve always told people about our music scene because it’s not Always big.

Walden is the first artist signed to John Prine’s Oh Boy Records in more than a decade. “I feel like I have a home base community between Nashville and Kentucky, but with Oh Boy, they just looked at me and have been a supporter and friend. As they were getting ready to start expanding their brand, I happened to be Maybe it was timing, but John’s wife Fiona eventually introduced me to John, and I think the first time I sang with John was at a cruise in 2018, and I watched a lot of shows online after that. tree of forgiveness On tour, we hit it off right away.

For Walden, her connection with Prine was more than just two colleagues finding common ground — it was a chance to connect with one of her heroes. “When I first started collecting vinyl records, I was about 15, my first vinyl record was John Prine’s self-titled album. He really was the standard for my songwriting. He really was my hero and then almost became my mentor, I mean, friend, Prince was like family to me.

Walden recently released a new single titled “Hello, Stranger,” a duet with fellow Western Kentucky artist and Downtown Arts and Music Festival co-headliner SG Goodman. “This single has been out since the end of February. I also have a new album coming out called There is always a song, and a lot of oldies and bluegrass songs, which I wrote in my own way. SG was involved with the others, Margo Price and my orchestra. They are not all cooperative. SG and I knew each other before anything happened, and I feel like we have a special connection because Hickman is only an hour away from where I grew up.

Kelsey Waldon will perform on the Main Stage of the Downtown Arts and Music Festival on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. “We have violins and steel and the whole deal,” she said. “I just love my band. They’re going to be with me and they can look forward to hearing some original songs and all the songs from the new album.” For more information about Walden, visit her website.

For more information about the Downtown Arts and Music Festival, including a complete schedule, food and parking information, and more, visit the LTAMF website.

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