Kelcy Mae tours NC ahead of her new album, ‘The Place That You Call Home‘ due out October 12…
Shreveport, Louisiana native and New Orleans based singer-songwriter Kelcy Mae has been writing music and touring on a mission of self discovery for many years. Recording three albums (Half-Light, 2014 – Pennies in Hand, 2011 and The Times Compiled, 2007) along her journey, it never seemed she had quite found her place but that is changing.
Aided by producer Neilson Hubbard, Mae captured her vision for ‘The Place That You Call Home‘, creating Ever More Nest and compiling a record full of songs that blend Americana, folk, southern rock and story-telling depth with lessons in life, love, frustration, and inner soul searching.
Traveling with guitarist Dave DeCotiis, the duo has multiple stops across North Carolina this week where you can hear these songs and experience the smooth, bold, live performances of seeing Mae on stage.
Prior to her first stop, RedDirtNC caught up with the rising star to find out more about ‘The Place That You Call Home‘, her musical influences and Ever More Nest.
RDNC: Can you briefly share the backstory behind your career, how Ever More Nest began and what ultimately led to the upcoming album ‘The Place That You Call Home‘?
KM: I’ve been performing as Kelcy Mae for the last few years. I started pursuing music more seriously after finishing grad school (MFA in Poetry), when I was able to focus more on songwriting. I put out a couple records and toured a bit. After my last record (Half-Light), I felt like I really hadn’t quite found myself and my groove yet. I think of those last few years of touring and performing as a journey in self-discovery. By 2017 I had a number of songs I knew I wanted to record and a specific aesthetic I wanted for them. That led to the birth of Ever More Nest. Neilson Hubbard (Producer on ‘The Place That You Call Home‘) helped me manifest that vision on the record, and now I’ve got the band to back it up. Kelcy Mae didn’t feel like the right name and identity anymore, and it didn’t help its case that people misspell it nearly all the time. Ever More Nest helped free me creatively and allow me to explore the Americana aesthetic dear to my heart.
RDNC: What are your favorite songs off the new album and can you share any lyrical highlights, why?
KM: The album is so new that I’m still in love with these songs. I’m so excited for people to hear them and to play them live. Major Tom is definitely one of my favorites. The lesson of letting go has truly been life-changing for me over the last year. As discussed in the Atwood Magazine video premier, it’s a song that came to me quickly in a low moment right after the presidential election. Learning how to stay active and engaged with my world and how to know what I can and can’t control, what I can and can’t contribute, was really helpful to me in all aspects of my life. I feel so at home in that song, floating in space as it were, I know nothing but what I know, and this world done lost me a long time ago. I feel like Major Tom, out of control. And of course the song ends with the line, “I feel like Major Tom, letting go”.
Another current favorite is Broken Bones. The title for the album comes from this song, No one can break your heart quite like the place that you call home.Written after the major flood that happened last year in New Orleans, it’s a song about the frustrations of “home.” For me, of course, that’s New Orleans. My favorite lyrics are in the bridge, “Broken streets, broken homes, broken hearts that roam alone along broken streets, broken homes, broken hearts that beat through beating“. The next lines speak to the rhetoric we all get from our civic leaders who say they’re doing everything they can for us, for the betterment of society, community, whatever. “Tell me one more time how you’ve got me on your mind…one more time for the people at the end of the line“. “Home” can be so insanely frustrating, especially for those less fortunate—living with dysfunction, be it on a familial or city scale, is heartbreaking.
RDNC: What does the title, ‘The Place That You Call Home‘, reveal about the album’s overall theme and impact?
KM: I’ve always been interested in the idea of “place.” For me, the title isn’t strictly literal, though, like it more or less is within the song Broken Bones. “Home” can be a lot of things. So can “place.”I chose it for the album because I think the idea of place permeates the entire record. And looking at the record now, I can see that it’s a record about finding my place in the world. I feel like this is simplifying a more complex bigger picture, but that’s the easiest way to describe it, I guess.
RDNC: Who have been your musical influences and did any one in particular have an impact on this particular album?
KM: My musical influences have varied over the years, but I’ve always loved that southern, Americana sound. Direct influences on this record include Emmylou Harris (Wrecking Ball) and probably Ryan Adams’ former band Whiskeytown. Lucinda Williams and Lucero as well. Caroline Spence has become a big influence–it was her record ‘Spades & Roses‘ that led to my working with producer Neilson Hubbard. Other favorites include Aimee Mann, Bon Iver, Bonnie Prince Billy, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Jose Gonzalez.
RDNC: How would you describe the sound of the album to any potential new fans?
KM: I imagine the artist influences I just named can give you a general idea of the sound of the record. It’s southern country and rock and roll with lyrics that hopefully make you do a double take. I think it’s something you can listen to on a lonely dirt road or on a bustling city street. It’s gritty, yet lush … We can’t wait to be back in North Carolina. Hope you all remain safe and dry–we’re rooting for you as Florence approaches.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
9/17 – The Town Pump (Black Mountain, NC) – 9:00pm
9/19 – The Dinghy (Isle of Palms, SC) – 7:00pm
9/20 – ISIS Music Hall (Asheville, NC) – 7:00pm
9/21 – The Evening Muse (Charlotte, NC) – 7:00pm
9/22 – Mystery Brewing (Hillsborough, NC) – 8:30pm
Find more at www.kelcymae.com/shows