Kellin Watson is an internationally-touring singer-songwriter, whose award-winning sound blends elements of blues, pop, folk, and soul. Hailing from Asheville NC, Kellin draws on her Appalachian roots to bring both power and rawness to her music. Performing and writing songs from the age of 13, Kellin gained the fortuitous blessing of being able to grow into her artistry independently and w/ instinctive ease. By the age of 21, Kellin decided it was time to become more proactive, and focus on her music professionally full time. Proving to be the right choice, Kellin went on to release 4 solo independent albums, all of which have been well received nationally & internationally as well. Throughout her journey, Kellin has been able to perform with or open for a wide range of notable artists such as, Amos Lee, Little Feat, Susan Tedeschi, The Duhks, Jessica Simpson, Sara Evans, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Walter Wolfman Washington, Gordie Sampson, Oliver Wood, Billy Corgan, The Crash Test Dummies, and many others.
Making her national television debut as a featured performer on CMT (CMT's Big Break), Kellin was selected out of several Western North Carolina performers by the Award-winning Country Artist, Sara Evans. In continuing to cultivate her efforts in the industry focusing on tv and film, Kellin's music has been featured on CBS's The Good Wife, Degrassi: The Next Generation, & GMC's Trinity Goodheart, as well as various other notable global commercial ads.
Kellin's most recent release, Halo Of Blue is a simple, honest and stripped down recording with echoes of some of her strongest influences: Sam Cooke, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Redding, and Nina Simone. A lo-fi approach to a hi-fi artist, brings a special focus to the craftsmanship and depth of each song on Halo Of Blue. Sarah Hinson of WNC Magazine said "Halo of Blue stands like a tree on a mountainside, its roots firmly planted in Appalachian influence while its branches reach out to elements of blues, pop, and folk. The variation within Watson’s work highlights her multifarious talents while remaining consistent and approachable." With the release of Halo Of Blue, Kellin has found a deeper connection to her roots, giving her more strength to stretch her wings as an artist, and fly. Politely pouring her heart out on stage, Kellin often captures her audiences by surprise, and leaves them wanting more. Craig Havighurst of Music City Roots said after seeing Kellin live, "I had a long interview with the delightful Kellin Watson before the show, and on stage she was shockingly good. Not the singer you might imagine from Asheville central casting, she took on the soul chanteuse role with force and tone. " Most recently, her tune entitled, Swagger off of her current release was acknowledged with the honor of 1st runner up in the R&B Category for the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Session II).
Throughout her career, Kellin has toured nationally and internationally playing some of the most respected venues, festivals, events and College's in the US and Canada including, Music City Roots @ The Loveless Cafe in Nashville TN, Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso Nova Scotia, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival in Bristol Tn, Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles CA, the Alltel Pavilion in Raleigh NC, Bele Chere Music Festival in Asheville NC, 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach FL, the Fletcher Opera Theatre in Raleigh NC and many more.
Depending on the venue, and what type of performance it calls for, Kellin will either play with her full 5-7 piece band, or she'll play solo/duo acoustically. Whether Kellin is performing solo acoustic, or with her full band, her voice, presence and songwriting embody her true passion and dedication to her craft. Her live performances are filled with raw emotion and an infectious energy that will leave audiences wanting more.
Tom Leiner - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Acoustic, Baritone Guitar, Electric, and, & Baritone Guitar
Jim Arrendell - Drums, and Vocals
Rob Geisler - Bass
Joey K - guitar (electric)
Aaron Price - Piano, Wurly, etc.), Keys (Organ
Ryan Burns - keys
Michael Bellar - Piano, mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, toy piano, Wurly, Keys (Organ, synth etc.)
Matt Smith - Pedal Steel
Kellin Watson, Halo Of Blue - 2011
Kellin Watson, No Static - released 2007
Kellin Watson(Live), Red Flag - released 2005
Kellin Watson, Paper Bird - released 2003
Kellin Watson, Little Things(EP) - released 1998
Secret Agent Skidoo 23, Nightmares Disappear (vocals) - 2011
Oso Rey, The Divorce (duet vocals) - 2010
Kovacs and The Polar Bear, Yellow Bellied Crops (bg vocals) - 2009
Kovacs and The Polar Bear, Cartoon Clouds ( bg vocals) - 2009
Jen and The Juice, Dream (vocals) - 2008
Jen and The Juice, Rolling Stone (bg vocals) - 2008
Ashe, Moonchild (all lead vocals on full album) - 2004
Ashe, Dreamer and The Dragonfly (all lead vocals on full album) - 2003
Sittin' On Top Of The World
Halo Of Blue (Sample)
Shoot Out The Stars SAMPLE
Threw It Away
Whats The Difference
Chains Of Love
Shoot Out The Stars
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June 2012 By Craig Havighurst I was never more proud to be from North Carolina than when mournin...June 2012
By Craig Havighurst
I was never more proud to be from North Carolina than when mourning the passing of Doc Watson. And only a month or so after fellow native son Earl Scruggs. If you care about progressive folk music as much as I do, there are no greater icons than Doc and Earl. They helped craft the sound of our nation, and they were from my state. Musical connections to home are what made last night at Roots such a sweet experience for me. Three artists on a four-act night were from NC – one familiar and two completely new and amazing. Then we capped off the night as a founding band of the country rock fusion revolution played to an adoring crowd. I have a lot to tell you. It was another spectacular evening. We’ve been lucky this spring with balmy, sunny weather. The crew and artists spent the last hour before the show lolling in golden light outside the Loveless barn, between the work of getting everything staged and the intensity of the show itself. Keith Bilbrey asked Jim Lauderdale if he’d sing “If I Were You,” and I was more than glad to hear that again as we kicked off the show.
I had a long interview with the delightful Kellin Watson before the show, and on stage she was shockingly good. Not the singer you might imagine from Asheville central casting, she took on the soul chanteuse role with force and tone. She IS a cousin of the aforementioned Doc Watson, on her mother’s side she said, and she grew up surrounded by traditional music, even if it’s not what she does. But what came through from the old-time influence is an organic sense of a band/voice mix and musical feel that is just transfixing. Her voice is calm and expressive, with room to emote, like Norah Jones with a 4th and 5th gear. She added it to silky perfect background singers on “Rise” which floated like its name. With “Control” and “Swagger” she and her crack Nashville band went full shivering funk, and Kellin remained a step ahead in energy and leadership. Listen to our stage interview for a full accounting of the band, but it included the remarkable siblings Dugas, new Music City arrivals from Montreal, and Joe McMahan, who was making funky guitar-player faces, so it’s clear this was truly working.
(full article available at link provided below)
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Southern Soul Kellin Watson | Halo of Blue Written By: Sarah Hinson Singer-songwriter Kellin ...Southern Soul
Kellin Watson | Halo of Blue
Singer-songwriter Kellin Watson’s fourth solo album, Halo of Blue, embodies its name, featuring tracks tinged with gospel sounds and deep shades of longing. The title track rises and falls with the gentle country sonority of a pedal steel guitar and Watson’s compelling vocals. But to paint the album as despairing or confine its expressions to a single genre would be foolish, considering its far-reaching roots and nuances.
Recorded in various locations, including Asheville’s Echo Mountain Recording Studio, the 14-track album features contributions from Sarah and Christian Dugas of The Duhks and Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers. The artists’ voices beautifully complement Watson’s in the harmonized version of “Sittin’ On Top of the World.” Sparks of the Asheville native’s fierce musical persona surface in “Swagger” and “Fire,” when she belts out saucy lines like, “Boy, where did you get that swagger? I wanna know so that I can move faster,” and references “the heat” within her soul. The album ends on a hopeful note with “Angels Keep Watching Over Me,” when every keystroke and raw lyric sounds as if it’s reverberating throughout an illuminated sanctuary.
Halo of Blue stands like a tree on a mountainside, its roots firmly planted in Appalachian influence while its branches reach out to elements of blues, pop, and folk. The variation within Watson’s work highlights her multifarious talents while remaining consistent and approachable. www.kellinwatson.com
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The Deal: The Duhks, a Winnipeg-based band known for its worldly music styles performed at Neighborh...The Deal: The Duhks, a Winnipeg-based band known for its worldly music styles performed at Neighborhood Theatre with the Charlottesville-based group The Hackensaw Boys and Asheville local Kellin Watson.
The Hackensaw Boys
The Hackensaw Boys
The Good: Kellin Watson began the show with a series of acoustic numbers. Each song was full of raw emotions and Watson’s voice rang high with soul and crystal clear Appalachia roots. “Paper Bird” and “Judgment” were highlights, along with “Chains of Love,” a track for which Watson was joined by three members of The Duhks including drummer Christian Dugas, guitarist Jordan McConnell and vocalist Sarah Dugas. After Watson performed the septet known as The Hackensaw Boys emerged onstage playing high-energy mountain music. Using instruments like the banjo, guitar, upright bass, fiddle, harmonica and more the group displayed its love for folk and bluegrass (In the process, breaking quite a lot of strings). Afterwards, The Duhks took the stage with its own unique music style that combines roots, worldbeat, soul, folk and other music genres. The show started with “Mighty Storm,” a song off of the band’s newest album Fast Paced World (Also, a track on the album which they played). Other great songs included “Ship High In Transit” “Sleepin’ Is All I Wanna Do” and “Death Came A Knockin.’” The set was impressive with each member having a lot to offer, whether it be Tania Elizabeth’s skilled fiddle jams or Sarah Dugas’ soulful voice, which sang songs in both English and French. Towards the end of the show a special guest joined the group onstage to play the steel drums. The entire set was exciting and different too. From track to track, it was impossible to know what exactly to expect next.
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Smashing Performance by Viktorija Krulikas Kellin Watson’s story is one long love affair with mu...Smashing Performance
by Viktorija Krulikas
Kellin Watson’s story is one long love affair with music, complete with stormy periods. She debuted on stage at age three at the now-defunct Black Mountain club McDibb’s, singing blues and rock songs with her parents and grandparents. (Her father, Fox Watson, a fiddle and guitar player, toured with Jerry Jeff Walker in the ‘70s). The Black Mountain native began writing songs and playing guitar at 13, taped a demo by 16 and played with a band in college. Half way through a music degree, she switched to a communications major and thought she might get a job in that industry. But two years later, when she was one semester shy of graduating from UNC-Asheville, she had a revelation. Music had been tugging at her, and she wasn’t that jazzed about a communications job anyway. She switched her focus back to music and has been playing and performing nonstop since.
To date, the 27-year-old has released three albums of what she calls “folk indie soul pop.” Her husky voice flows up and down the staff, accompanied by catchy beats, and the result sounds quite eclectic. Yes, she’s a girl with a guitar, which makes her exactly like a crowd of other young singer-songwriters. But she has a “real-deal, blues-rock voice…unlike the sugar-sweetness of today’s constant supply of disposable pop idols,” according to one review of her 2003 album Paper Bird. Her latest release, No Static, is a heady compilation of new material, mixed in with a few older tunes that had been saved in an iPod. Many are collaborations with Asheville producer and composer Aaron Price, the co-creator and onetime owner of Collapseable Records.
Last summer, during a show at Biltmore Estate’s winery, she got the kind of windfall most musicians would trade their favorite six-string for. Alt-rock demigod Billy Corgan, the lead singer for the (now-reunited) Smashing Pumpkins, happened to be sitting in that Biltmore audience and liked Watson’s playing. This kicked off a friendship and musical mentorship that’s likely to open some music-industry doors for Watson. In the meantime, Corgan asked her to line up acts for a charity event this fall at The Orange Peel that will help preserve electronic music pioneer Bob Moog’s legacy. The concert will take place in late October or early November at The Orange Peel.
Watson is already starting to spread her own wings, musically and globally. She sold one of her songs to the Canadian teen-drama TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation. And last August, she was on a CMT reality TV contest, competing with other North Carolina acts to see who got to open for country star Sara Evans. “I’ve been all over the place vertically, but not horizontally,” Watson says, somewhat cryptically, noting that she wants to play in the American West and Europe. No matter what her direction, making big leaps in the music biz is easier when you have friends in high places.
Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008 at 11:07PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment
CD Reveiws: No Static
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JULY 1, 2008 ARTICLE LINK:http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A6464 CD Reviews: Kel...JULY 1, 2008
CD Reviews: Kellin Watson No Static
BY MUSIC CHICK
There’s a lot of room in the world for jazzy, soulful songstress types — and Kellin Watson is just unique enough to stand out from the pack. Her latest, No Static, takes everything that is good about the rootsy alt-country tunes of her native Western North Carolina and puts a refreshing soul/funk spin on it. Think Fiona Apple goes country-folk — with a little bit of a techno spin throw in. Driven by Watson’s sometimes smoky, sometimes delicate vocals, No Static is full of feel-good indie pop that has a serious blues undercurrent. Watson brings a cheeky charm to the record, singing about relationships with a kind of self-deprecating humor (I’ve been running/and I kind of liked it). And though Static is full of catchy choruses and numbers that would rock a live set, some of her best tunes are of the more mellow sort. Album standout “When is Enough Enough” is a melancholy rumination on failed relationships that has shades of young Bonnie Raitt — and will have you playing it on repeat. Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios and boasting appearances by Asheville heavy-weights Tyler Ramsey, Aaron Price and Gordie Sampson, Static has just about the best production quality that Asheville has to offer. But even without it, No Static is everything a good pop/blues record should be — a playful romp with a seriously soulful underpinning.
These Acts Could Go Big
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THESE ACTS COULD GO BIG COURTNEY DEVORES, NEWS@EYECHARLOTTE.COM Whether your style leans to...THESE ACTS COULD GO BIG
COURTNEY DEVORES, NEWS@EYECHARLOTTE.COM
Whether your style leans toward foot-stompin' country-rock, finger-snapping jazz or heavier head-nodding hooks, these Carolina artists get our vote for Most Likely to Succeed Beyond the Regional Club Scene.
With a combination of songwriting and impressive live shows that only get better with each gig, we say catch 'em while you can locally. The Lights, Fluorescent
Members: Erika Blatnik (vocals), Zach Irvin (drums), Robby Hartis (bass/vocals), Craig Friday (guitar/vocals), Andre Francois (guitar).
Longevity: Less than a year, although members are veterans of area bands such as Via, Shortround and Frontpage.
Sound: Powerful female vocals, layered, often heavy, guitar melodies, and hooks. When Blatnik and Hartis share vocals, the vibe is reminiscent of emo-rock trio Rainer Maria.
Strengths: Originality and Blatnik's distinct vocals amid shifting tempos and moods. "It's a cool contrast having a more energetic band with her vocals," says Irvin. There's a camaraderie that seems to result from their songwriting. Adds Hartis, "Andre and Craig will bring a riff to the table and she'll sit down with her journal and write. She starts yelling stuff that fits so well with the emotion of the music."
Influences: Me Without You, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Cursive and Bob Dylan.
Accolades and Adventures: Opened for Secret Lives of Free Masons.
Next Up: Debut EP, "Neoteny," due in January.
Listen For: "Mr. Pretender," "Bluejay" and "Telephone Booth."
Members: Bradley C. Davis (vocals), Jimmy James (drums), John C. Phillips Jr. (guitar), Brandon Furr (bass).
Together: A year and half.
Sound: Clever, conversational lyrics and an edgy mix of Coldplay and Dave Matthews with elements of spoken word, trip-hop, folk-rock and hip-hop.
Strengths: Memorable songs; charisma; Davis' ability to shift from slam poet lyricist to heartfelt crooner, and James' inventive drumming. Few songs sound alike on the limited run debut album, "The Brighter Light of August," but Davis' voice is the defining thread. Their more eclectic rock side comes across even more live.
Influences: Coldplay, U2.
Accolades and Adventures: Signed to Spektral Music Group, an Atlanta production company run by Teddy Riley (Guy, Blackstreet), best known for his role in the influential New Jack Swing movement. The group also received praise and advice from Charlotte-raised soul singer Anthony Hamilton and producer Bruce Irvine.
Next Up: Back into the studio and touring the college circuit.
Listen For: "Gunslinger," "Mrs. Gray" and "Disco Blues."
More: sostereo.com; myspace.com/ saveourstereo
Members: Tracy Wyatt (vocals), Kathy Osborne (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Mike Bader (guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro), Ashley Conine (harmonica, guitar, mandolin)
Homebase: Clover and Cowpens.
Sound: Southern country-rock with Wyatt as a modern day Loretta Lynn-meets-Gretchen Wilson.
Longevity: 2+ years.
Strengths: Attitude, harmonies, Osborne's songwriting and Wyatt's voice and presence. They also speak to the women in the crowd. "We grew up in, and will hopefully be a part, of a male-dominated industry. To be two women fronting a band and Kathy writing the originals is amazing to me. We want the women in the audience to feel as important as we do on stage." Adds Osborne, "I really try to give a unique female perspective in my songs."
Influences: Southern rock from Marshall Tucker Band to Black Crowes and songwriters such as Gillian Welch.
Accolades: The group received "Most Promising Artist" and Wyatt received "Best Female Vocalist" at the first Charlotte Music Awards in September.
Next Up: Debut album, "El Camino," should be out this spring. Also solidifying their rhythm section.
Listen For: "El Camino" "Sex and Laundry" and "DUI."
Longevity: Began playing at 13; recording at 16. The studio time was a Christmas gift from her parents.
Sound: Jazzy soul and swinging pop comparable to Fiona Apple or a less folksy Ani DiFranco.
Strengths: The 26-year-old has an endearing stage demeanor and a killer voice, not to mention soulful songs that don't fit in any particular box.
Influences: "There's always been this underlying jazzy influence," says Watson. "I got that from my grandfather, who was a jazz guitar player. When I would go to the beach, we'd listen to these jazz songs. At the time I hated it, but when I became older it just subconsciously influenced me."
Accolades and Adventures: Watson caught the ear of Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan while he was staying at The Biltmore where she regularly gigged last summer. "He put me in touch with his management," she says. She also placed second in "Big Break," a CMT reality series, and opened for Amos Lee at the Neighborhood Theatre.
Next Up: Promoting her new album, "No Static," playing New York and seeing what comes of the Corgan connection.
Listen For: "Paper Bird," "Steeple Tops" and "My Ship."
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Inspiration shines through in Watson’s ‘No Static’ CD by Jill Ingram, take5 correspondent publishe...Inspiration shines through in Watson’s ‘No Static’ CD
by Jill Ingram, take5 correspondent
published December 14, 2007
Kellin Watson’s third release, “No Static,” is a soulful offering featuring Watson’s jazzy vocals and showcasing her fluid songwriting. Watson and her band — Aaron Price on vocals and keys, Matt Smith on pedal steel and electric guitar, Jake Wolf on bass and Jim Arendale on drums — will celebrate the release with a Saturday show at The Garage at Biltmore, the new music room near Biltmore Village. The Zach Johnson Blew band will open. Before you head over, here are five things to know about Kellin Watson.
Her faucet works
Watson’s 2003 debut album, “Paper Bird,” came together “picture perfectly,” she said, so it was discouraging when material for “No Static” seemed to be “coming in drips.”
“I was really starting to doubt myself,” Watson said. “I was watching all these people around me, especially in town, do so well with their careers, and here I was, I couldn’t even get enough new songs written for an album.”
Watson took to the road for inspiration, spending parts of 2005 and 2006 traveling and absorbing herself in roots and Americana music.
“I started writing tons and tons and tons of songs, so many that, unless I recorded them right away, I would forget them,” she said.
She comes by it naturally
Watson’s father, Fox Watson, is an accomplished guitarist and fiddler who toured with Bruce Cockburn and Jerry Jeff Walker and in the late 1970s recorded an album of traditional music on the Smithsonian label. Her mother, Bebe Watson, appears on two tracks of “No Static.”
While music has called her since she was a child and she can’t quite shake the “art thing” eating at her, Kellin Watson sometimes wonders at her decision to be a musician.
“It’s like being born into a really wealthy family or something,” she said, “Where you try to question if becoming a lawyer like your dad was a lawyer is really what your supposed to do or something that wasn’t so obvious.”
She loves her people
Having grown up in Asheville, Watson’s seen musicians come and go. But after involving herself more deeply in the music community the past couple of years, “I all of a sudden realized all these people who were in town who were really talented,” Watson said. “It was a shame for me not to hook up with some of these people.”
Price not only plays in her band but also helped produce the latest disc, which Watson recorded at downtown’s Echo Mountain Recording. A who’s who of local musicians appears on “No Static,” including Bill Reynolds, Tyler Ramsey, Mike Rhodes and Ozzy Orengo. Jenny Greer of Jen and the Juice designed the cover.
She’s not afraid of Sara Evans
When Watson and local favorite Woody Wood were named the top two finalists to open for country sensation Sara Evans as part of the CMT reality show “Big Break,” they worried the competition would damage the camaraderie of Asheville’s musicians.
“We didn’t want it to be this weird contest where one of us gets dogged in front of America,” Watson said.
After Wood was announced the winner on stage during Evans’ April show at Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, he played a few songs then, honoring a pact he’d made with Watson before the show, he called her onstage to sing with him.
“They wouldn’t turn my mike on,” she said.
She’s got a plan
Watson confesses to occasional lackadaisical lapses. At the moment she’s focused on advancing her music career and is set on finding a booking agent. In the meantime, understanding that most agents want acts that already have a fan base, she’s working the phones herself to set up a tour. She’s discovered it’s worth a financial loss to book as an opener for better-known acts. So far she’s opened for singer/songwriter guitarist Amos Lee and acoustic musicians the Duhks.
“By doing that I gain so much more access,” Watson said.
Contact Ingram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Member of Legendary Musical Family Reaches Out to a Wider Audience
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Thursday, October 6, 2005 Kellin Watson was born into a respected and beloved family of musicia...
Thursday, October 6, 2005
Kellin Watson was born into a respected and beloved family of musicians. Her father is the acclaimed guitarist and violinist Fox Watson (whose style was such an influence on his friend and collaborator Bruce Cockburn that the Canadian rock icon wrote the tune "Foxglove" as a tribute to him) and her cousins are Grammy-winning American music legends Doc Watson and the late Merle Watson.
With that type of artistic pedigree, it's quite an accomplishment for the twenty-four-year-old Kellin that many people are starting to whisper that she may go down as the most lauded member of the famed brood yet. Having opened for a diverse range of acts (everyone from pop princess Jessica Simpson to Grammy-toting critical darlings The Duhks), Watson is ready to take the center spotlight for herself.
With a style that's been compared to everyone from Nina Simone to Norah Jones, the North Carolina-bred singer/songwriter blends a variety of musical styles -- rock, jazz, rhythm & blues, and folk -- into a voice that's uniquely her own.
Filmmaker Richard O'Sullivan, set to direct a video for Watson's tune "Breakdown," believes that the sky's the limit for the young tunesmith. "When Kellin walks onstage, you're immediately taken by how movie star pretty she is," says O'Sullivan. "But then she starts playing and singing and you realize the depth and richness of her art. There's such beauty and intelligence in her work that you rarely find from someone that young. It's gonna be really exciting watching her career as she grows and evolves. She's the type of artist that in twenty years people will be talking about in the same way they talk about the Bob Dylans and the Joni Mitchells now."
Out Of The Nest
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May 11, 2005 / vol 11 iss 40 Out of the nest From Paper Bird to the Duhks, local songwriter use...
May 11, 2005 / vol 11 iss 40
Out of the nest
From Paper Bird to the Duhks, local songwriter uses family connections to take flight
by Brian Postelle
Kellin Watson calls to say she is running late. The reason, she explains later, is that she was painting a room in the Black Mountain home where she lives with her parents.
The paint job was in preparation for the arrival of family friends the Duhks, an increasingly drooled-over Canadian quintet for whom Kellin will open this Saturday at Stella Blue.
"They stay with us when they come to town," she reveals. Watson, who has played and recorded with the Duhks before, boasts a particularly advantageous musical pedigree, and has been steadily gaining attention both locally and around the Southeast since becoming a full-time musician at the enviable age of 23.
After a few bouts with college life, the singer/guitarist moved back home with her parents in order to devote all her energy to music. Talking her father into the idea took some effort, she says, but she eventually persuaded him she should quit school and go for it. Such motivation was not alien to David "Fox" Watson, who, as a younger man, played guitar for several big-name musicians, including Bruce Cockburn. Kellin points out that her mother's father was a musician, as well.
"It goes really far back on both sides," she says. While her singing reflects a deep respect for soul and gospel, she didn't always embrace the style. "I was very against it until I was in high school," she admits. "But that soul vibe has always been underlying." As she grew into songwriting, those early influences rose to the top. The 2003 release of Kellin's first full-length CD, Paper Bird, as well as an increase in touring efforts, brought accolades and much local attention.
It didn't hurt, of course, that her father, host of the WNCW show "Celtic Winds," got a foothold for his daughter's album at 88.7 – but it was the radio station's annual listeners' poll that placed the record in the year's Top 100. Through 10 tracks, Kellin belies her youth with surprising soul and depth. Comparisons to other young, smoky, female vocalists ring true, but Kellin is separated by some particularly capable acoustic-guitar work.
Since the CD's release, as any full-time musician should, she's been working to extend her fan base. "The idea is to get as big a following as you can," she says. Watson has made several forays onto the college circuit, where she's earned favorable reviews in college newspapers and local press. Another family connection landed her an unlikely gig: opening up for Jessica Simpson (yes, that Jessica Simpson) in Raleigh.
"That was so random," she says now. At the time, Kellin almost didn't accept the dubious opportunity to link her name with the tabloid diva – but her family talked her into it.
After playing such a large venue, her show at Stella Blue will be familiar territory, as will sharing the stage with the Duhks. Hailing from Manitoba, the group of three men and two women, recently signed to Sugar Hill, are also promoting a new album. Theirs is an urgent form of folk (strains of Celtic, Appalachian and gypsy jazz all get their turn) highlighted by strong vocal harmonies and complex rhythms. Once again, Kellin finds herself flocking with the right crowd.
[Brian Postelle is a regular contributor to Mountain Xpress.]
Kellin Watson opens for the Duhks at Stella Blue (31 Patton Ave.) on Saturday, May 14. 10 p.m. $10. 236-2424.
Studio South Episode #2 - Kellin Watson
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Title: Artist: Kellin Watson Posted: 7/15/07 Time: 29:51 Music fans in the southeast were sm...Title: Artist: Kellin Watson
Music fans in the southeast were smitten by Kellin Watson in 2003 when her song Paper Bird hit the airwaves. Since then, she's opened for Jessica Simpson, performed across the southeast and beyond, and entertained increasingly adoring audiences in the Asheville area. She's just wrapped up recording of her new cd, and rumor has it that she caught Billy Corgan's eye (and ear) during the Smashing Pumpkins recent residency in Asheville. Kellin's definitely headed for big things. Kim Clark joins her on the studio floor to sample some new tunes on Studio South!
Top Local Picks for 2004
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Ele Ellis 1) All That We Let In – The Indigo Girls For me, this CD splits the difference between...Ele Ellis
1) All That We Let In – The Indigo Girls
For me, this CD splits the difference between their early, more acoustic CDs and the harder edge of more recent releases.
2) Airstreams & Satellites – Garrison Starr
The release of Starr's that I like most to date, this is a rock-tinged singer-songwriter affair.
3) Around the Sun – R.E.M.
People argue about "old R.E.M." and "new R.E.M.," but personally, I like them both.
4) Paper Bird – Kellin Watson
A local pick, since Kellin is a Black Mountain native. And while this release is not eligible for WNCW's Top 100 because it was released in 2003, it's on my list because I've been listening to it on repeat all year. (www.kellinwatson.com)
5) Against the Night – The Delancey Street Band
Local music, this time from Charlotte. This group defies genre, combining jazz, folk and jam with all sorts of other great music – and they do it very well (www.delanceystreetband.net).
-- Ele is a regular DJ on WNCW 88.7 FM.
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"There are many common talents in the world, and there are very few rare and uncommon talents. I bel..."There are many common talents in the world, and there are very few rare and uncommon talents. I believe Kellin is one of the rare and uncommon talents. She has the ability to take you gently by the wrist and listen to her."
-Billy Corgan, The Smashing Pumpkins frontman
"There is nothing contrived or fake about Kellin when she sings. She's just got a lot of soul and is authentically talented."
-Sara Evans, Award winning country music artist
"A great new artist to keep an ear out for"
~David Dye, World Café, NPR
"Startingly Original, wonderful imagery and melody."
~The Great American Song Contest
"An absolutely velvety voice punctuates a collection of catchy, comfortable songs, which have a soulful complexity well beyond her years. She has the bluesy, bittersweet quality that makes Norah Jones so great, but Watson is willing to take the chances that Jones won't, making it overall a much more satisfying experience. She does it with an easygoing confidence that is truly hard to believe at just 22."
~Adam Parr, The East Carolinian
with East Carolina University
All originals with a few covers. A 45 min. set is usually about 10 or 11 songs. An hour set is about 12 songs.