I first came across Kelly McRae when I discovered she was touring Ireland in 2014. After hearing a jaw dropping set at The Acoustic Yard Sessions I have been a fan ever since.
Her new CD 'The Wayside' is a beautiful companion to Kelley's 2012 album 'Brighter Than The Blues' which is still aired constantly on my ever expanding playlist. It was rec-orded in Vancouver and placed in the capable hands of Canadian producer Roy Salmond not only expertly sketches Kelley's voice but places Matt Castelein's voice and guitar prevalent in the overall sound.
The opening refrain of Matts guitar on 'Land Of The Noonday Sun' drops a ripple through Kelley's enjoyable recording before resting gently by the banks of the final cut "All The Days That Have Come Before'.
The album adds another page to the latest chapter in Kelley's remarkable five year jour-ney from camper van traveller with a pocket full of dreams to an international recording aficionado.
My favourite track 'If You Need Me' brings sadness to the soul yet lifts you high with it's hopeful message "Anything holding on to is worth letting go". A beautiful song.
The title track 'The Wayside' with it's campfire stomp and double vox punch shakes the middle of the album, adding along with 'Red Dirt Road' a change of pace that makes me yearn the day when I can hear Kelley and Matt play live with a full band. In the meantime we can listen to Roy Salmond, Jon Andersen and Spencer Capier giving their expertise to these 11 fantastic songs.
Kelley even slightly leans toward a more contemporary pop sound with 'Tell It Again' but still manages to stay within her Americana roots. 'Rose' marks an impressive step into a slightly different niche with it's jazz cafe arrangement and guitar work reminiscent of early Willie Nelson and a more plaintive Kelley nestling comfortably between chords.
Kelley and Matt are both maturing in this album without moving away from their proven winning formula, they work well together and they only stray into 'The Wayside' to deliver a beautiful collection of songs.
David Dee Moore
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