Kelli Johnson
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Kelli Johnson

Gadsden, Alabama, United States | SELF

Gadsden, Alabama, United States | SELF
Band Country Bluegrass


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"Kelli Johnson is Alabama's Bluegrass sweetheart"

When Kelli Johnson stepped onto the stage at 'Thunder By The Canyon' this month, heads turned. Dressed in boots and cap, her short hair pulled into pigtails, she had those who never heard her before murmuring and wondering. It only took a few notes to make that all stop.

When Kelli sings, people listen. With a voice and style often compared to Allison Krauss, this 33 yr old mother of four mesmerizes crowds everywhere she performs.

She is not only an accomplished solo artist, she carries lead vocals and guitar with the band Sweetwater Road, which consists of Kelli, Jason Bailey, Brandon Peoples, and Michelle Cone.
A regular at the bi-yearly Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Festival in Glencoe, Alabama, her style is a pleasant mix of bluegrass, country, and a light touch of gospel.

In addition to her performing, recording, writing, and raising a family, Kelli also teaches beginner guitar.

When she stepped off the stage, to the largest round of applause of the day, Kelli made herself available to all for a meet and greet, autographs and photographs, talking to her fans like every one of them was a long lost friend.

In my interview I discovered she has been singing and performing since the sweet age of four and loves being able to keep her life real. " I have four children from ages 5 to17...they keep me grounded"

I asked Kelli if someone asked "Who is Kelli Johnson? What is she all about? What song would you tell them to listen to?" She thought for a moment and said softly," I would tell them 'Man In The Moon', it is a lullaby for my children. That is what Kelli Johnson is all about."

Kelli's latest project is working writing and singing some jingles for a commercial venture. "I am enjoying it" said Kelli. "It is fun, and something a little different. It will give me another outlet to have my music heard."

If you get the chance, catch one of Kelli Johnson at Foggy Hollow or one of her other performances. And don't let the weather stop you. When Kelli takes the stage, there is a warm breeze and a beautiful ray of sunshine everytime
- the

"ABC 3340 to feature Kelli Johnson"

It is always good to see a local artist get attention in the media, but when you see a sweetheart of a performer have the spotlight shined on her it is even more of a thrill.
On February 24 , 2010, Kelli Johnson will be the musical guest on ABC 33/40 Talk of Alabama
Morning show.
Kelli, is a very accomplished bluegrass performer with a style that can give Allison Krauss a run for her money any day. As lead vocals and guitar with the band Sweetwater Road she holds her own with the boys, and as a solo artist she is simply mesmerizing.
Bluegrass roots with modern country mixed in, she has successfully blended a style that is unique, fresh and appealing to a wide audience.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kelli in the summer of 2009 and not only enjoyed her performance and the wonderful interview she granted me, but was touched by her obvious generous spirit and the way she reaches out to her fans , treating all like family
A regular at the Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Festival, Kelli also has her own TV show, Kelli Johnson LIVE airing every Thursday at 6:30p.m. on WJXS TV 24. There she enjoys helping other Indie Artists get some exposure.
So mark your calendars and set your DVRs. This is one broadcast of Talk of Alabama you don't want to miss. For in the world of bluegrass, Alabama does more than talk about Kelli Johnson, we sing her praises and you will too.

Continue reading on 33/40's Talk of Alabama to feature Kelli Johnson - Birmingham Music | - The Birmingham Music Examiner

"Acoustic Sensation, Sweetwater Road, performs at Pell City Cenetr"

Reserve your ticket now for Sweetwater Road, an up coming acoustic band sensation. Fronted by powerful, heartfelt vocal harmonies and wholesome songwriting of both Kelli Johnson and Michelle Cone, the band blends that

talent with the hot mandolin licks of Jason Bailey and the rock solid rhythm of Brandon Peeples on upright bass. Sweetwater Road is quickly making a name for itself, having performed as the opening act for Mary Chapin Carpenter at the

Alys Stephens Center.

The experience of Sweetwater at the Pell City Center promises the audience will

leave as a fan of perfect hints of bluegrass, country, and even rock and roll for their

evening of pure entertainment
- Active rain

"Local musician Kelli Johnsonto release solo album"

By Erica Long
Special to The Star

Some people are just born with it, or at least they sing like they are. And Kelli Johnson is one of those people. Johnson, a local vocalist with the bluegrass band Distant Cousins, is releasing her debut solo album, Kelli Johnson. Along with Distant Cousins, Johnson performs with another group, Michelle Cone, and makes time for up-and-coming mandolin player Jason Bailey. Johnson is also a freelance contributor for the Escapes section of The Star.

With a calendar that is full of family and music, Kelly sits down to let us get to know a little about her life as a singer and parent.

How old were you when you started performing?
I was about 4, and it was at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Choccolocco.

You perform around the area but where is your most favorite location to perform?
I have so many places that are close to my heart — definitely Foggy Hollow, and the Downtown Tavern in Gadsden, Cheaha Mountain Amphitheatre before it closed. But I think my favorite is the Rabbittown Fiddler's Hall. It's like stepping back in time!

What type of music are you currently listening to?
I am currently into Stevie Wonder. I love "Superstitious," and my kids are hooked on "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." I love Gavin Degraw and Casting Crowns. There is so much talent in Christian music.

What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Mostly country and gospel. My dad turned me onto Patsy Cline and Dobie Gray, and then I started listening to Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. Then around 12 or 13, I fell in love with Motown.

A lot of artists have outside influences. Who or what would you say inspires your music?
First and foremost, it is truly a gift from God. I know without him, I am nothing, and have nothing.

I have so many different influences, and people who I have learned from, it's impossible to name them all. I guess my earliest influences were my mom and my sister, Temple. They were always singing in the car or around the house. And my sister Terri played the drums, so of course I had to try it. My whole family was musical, so I thought everyone could do it.

Are you working on something right now?
I'm currently putting together songs for my next album. And I'd love to do a gospel album.

Do you find yourself wrapped up in your work, or do you take time to vacation?
I do tend to get wrapped up when I'm working on something. But that's the great thing about working from home — I also own my own screen-printing company — when my kids need me, I'm right there!

What is your ideal vacation?
Going to Topsail State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, in our old ugly motor home, and disconnecting with everything but my family.

Do members of your family have vocal talents?
All of them. My daughter Taylor sings, my son Cody sings, even Emory, the 3-year-old, sings. Getting them to do it in public is another story.

What type of advice would you give to those who aspire a career in music?
You have to have your priorities straight. If your career becomes an obsession, you'll never be happy, no matter what you accomplish.

Is it just natural to be up on stage in front of a crowd?
Singing, yes. If I have to talk, I get so nervous. And I'm never more nervous than when I sing in church, or in front of my mama.

What type of music do you create?
It usually sounds like country or bluegrass, some rock, but I would love to kind of breach all categories with at least one song.

What type of message do you want your music to convey?
Different things for different songs. But I guess mostly I want to connect with someone who may feel like they are the only ones going through something. Kind of, I've been here before, and it does get better.

Were there ever times that you thought, maybe music wasn't for you?
I've always known this is what I'm supposed to do. I've definitely felt that I wasn't doing it in the right place, but never that I should let it go.

How well has your most recent album done?
We sold out the first week we were on CD Baby (distribution Web site). And the response since we were on Rick and Bubba has just been overwhelming — and the album isn't officially "released" yet.

Do you think that there is a difference between today's quality of music, and say-that of five to ten years ago?
Somewhat. But I think the true quality was back when Patsy Cline, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and Hank Williams were recording. There was no "pitch correcting" or tuning. What you heard was all natural, and it was great.

- Bama Escapes

"Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin"

Kelli Johnson,
7:45 p.m. today
Well known in the area as both a solo artist and lead singer with Distant Cousins, the Anniston native has been performing at festivals and other venues in the Southeast for almost a decade. She plays guitar, piano and bass and writes songs.
Johnson has been likened to artists such as Alison Krauss and Sheryl Crow.
"I wanted to be one of those artists like Jewel or Sheryl Crow who doesn't fit into a category," she told The Times in an interview last summer. "But everything I sing has more of a country and bluegrass flavor."
She draws inspiration from a range of genres, giving her appeal to fans of various styles of music.

- The Gadsden Times

"Mobile's Herd Records Markets Rock Star Roy Moore"

Herd Records Inc. songwriter, (Gadsden’s) Kelli Johnson wrote the song “Hey Alabama, It’s A Brand New Day” for the future Governor. She believes that it captures the character and the convictions of who Judge Roy Moore is, and what he will bring to Alabama when elected. The television commercials feature the Judge and a diverse group of Alabama citizens. - MOD MOBILIAN

"Kelli Johnson"

Kelli Johnson is a singer/songwriter/guitar player from Gadsden, Alabama who has been performing at various bluegrass festivals and other venues in the Southeast for almost a decade. Though she has been compared to artists like Allison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, and Rhonda Vincent, she has taken her love of bluegrass, country, R&B, and rock to create a sound that is all her own and like no other.

Johnson currently splits her time performing solo while playing with the bluegrass group Distant Cousins and with a newly formed trio featuring Jason Bailey and Michelle Cone. Her blend of traditional and progressive bluegrass has created an ever-growing fan base among even the most traditional fans.

In addition to several original tunes,and several tradtional bluegrass favorites, Kelli performs songs by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Bee Gees, Journey, Lee Ann Womack, Sara Evans, Heart, Rhonda Vincent, Allison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Jewel and Miranda Lambert.

Johnson, who has shared the stage with such acts as Claire Lynch, Thyrd Time Out, Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, Wade Hayes, Ken Mellons, and Highway 101, has recorded two CD's and a DVD with the Distant Cousins. She will release her first solo project this month.

To hear some of Johnson's original songs, visit and - ibluegrass


Distant Cousins- Somebody in Alabama Loves You
Distant Cousins- Pickin and Singin LIVE
Kelli Johnson- Kelli Johnson
Kelli Johnson- Long Way Home (promo disc)
Sweetwater Road- Live



Kelli has played and recorded with Chimney Peak, Sweetwater Road, and The Kelli Johnson band and has shared the stage with acts such as Claire Lynch, Valeri Smith, IIIrd Time Out, and opened for Marty Raybon, Exile, and Sugarland!

In 2009 she was the opening act for the First annual Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Induction, where she later performed with Bluegrass Legends Three on a String, Gary Waldrop, Jake Landers, and the Whites.
She was a Top Four finalist on the tv show " Original Artist" and has worked with Herd Records in Mobile as a songwriter. Several of her songs have appeared in regional and national tv commercials, and she also wrote "Brand New Day" which became the campaign song for 2010 Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Judge Roy Moore .
Her song "Somebody in Alabama Loves You" was also recently recorded by Blue Circle Records recording artists The Bluegrass Soul Pickers on their cd "If I Ever Get Home".

Kelli splits her time performing solo, or with her band Sweetwater Road. She also hosts and produces her own TV show, 'Kelli Johnson LIVE", which airs on WJXS TV 24 in Jacksonville , AL. It focuses on local and regional musicians in and around NE Alabama and is broadcast into over 250,000 homes each week.