Kelli Shay Hix
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Kelli Shay Hix

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"Foxy Digitalis"

“Buck Again” is the first full-length from Kelli Shay Hix, following last year’s three song ep, “Bucked.” Reviews for that disc inevitably focused on the fact that it was produced in a handful of remote locations by independent film maker Jem Cohen (also presumably the inspiration for the new album’s “Jem”).And while she stayed in one place to record “Buck Again” the album has a wispish intransigence to it that suggests restlessness and a fear of decay.

The packaging adds to the mystique. The disc comes housed in a die-cut cardboard case painted gold; there’s no indication at all of what’s inside. Song titles and credits are then printed on an enclosed single sheet of delicately translucent paper, giving the project an air of otherworldliness.

Once inside, the hushed chamber music feel brings to mind the best solo work of Kristen Hersh (whose debut “Hips and Makers” once guided me safely through a treacherous Rocky Mountains snowstorm as cars all around me careened off the road). The instrumentation primarily consists of Hix accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and autoharp. Hix is certainly an inspired fingerpicker. Close your eyes during the brief instrumental “Andy” and it’s not hard to imagine you’re listening to something off a Jack Rose disc

At the same time, though, there are subtle rhythmic touches that add immeasurably to the depth of sound. Listen to Rob Doran’s plucked bass notes as they move across “Go Away” and marvel at the way they emphasize the song’s themes of decaying romance.

Lyrically, Hix walks that fine line between the vague and the obtuse, seemingly addressing specific people with a sparse poetry. I’m particularly enchanted by “Hospital Song.” She sings:

Don’t you let them look at you
don’t get inside their cars
once inside they try to marry you
and by then you’ve gone to far
volunteers from the hospital
come to try to give you tests
once inside the hospital
on your test you do your best

I’m not quite sure what she means, but I know exactly what she’s getting at, and the irresistible poignancy of the medical metaphor only adds even more weight. This is a disc for dark nights and quiet introspection. I look forward to further uncovering its haunting charms. 8/10 -- Scott Downing - Foxy Digitalis

"Athens Banner Herald Review"

By David Eduardo | Correspondent | Story updated at 10:03 PM on Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This is not the banal story of a doe-eyed Midwestern girl, with a big voice and three chords, who migrates to Nashville in search of Country and Western riches.

Truth is singer-songwriter Kelli Shay Hix, performing at Flicker Theatre on Monday, came to Tennessee for the movies. No, she's not looking for music-to-silver screen crossover success; she's a film preservationist.

"I came here for work," she says. "I take care of old film collections. It has brought me from Chicago, where I spent my college years, to upstate New York to Nashville. I play music wherever I go."

Of course, being in a town with a musical reputation doesn't hurt.

"There's a lot going on in Nashville besides Music Row. I haven't been here long, but like anyplace, you can find a niche," she says, adding, "I play fiddle in a band called Mother's Best and sometimes we'll busk on the streets. It's a lot of fun."

Hix is on the road in support of the recently released "Bucked" (Carbon Records), a three-song EP recorded spontaneously and without pretense in "abandoned strip malls off the upstate New York highways on very simple equipment."

The field recording, of sorts, was recorded by filmmaker Jem Cohen who has worked with musicians in the past; most notably R.E.M., Cat Power and Vic Chesnutt. It's no accident the man known for capturing artists on Super 8 or 16mm and the performer who preserves films collaborated to create a record that exudes a cinematic quality. "Bucked" is a record listeners can see.

If the EP can not satiate your audio appetite, rest assured Hix has plans to release a full-length, titled "Buck Again," as soon as a suitable record label can be found. An advance copy of the mastered mix reveals more of the ethereal sound Hicks can conjure with her sparse guitar, lilting voice and autoharp.

- Athens Banner Herald

"Found Magazine"

“Kelli Hix has a voice to break your heart. Her music is haunting and playful… I’m left quietly devastated.”
-Davey Rothbart, editor, FOUND Magazine
- Davey Rothbart


"Bucked", 2006 (4 song ep), Carbon Records

"Buck Again", 2007 (full length), Carbon Records

"Soundtrack for Los Trivinos del Huasco", 2008, self-released

...and currently reeeecording.....



Kelli Shay Hix is a performer on guitar, autoharp, violin, and singing saw. A singer-songwriter who does not quite fit the traditional definition of the genre, she accompanies her melodic but mysterious and abstracted tunes with haunting vocals and often performs with a rotating cast of other musicians. Her finger-picking guitar lines and unusual autoharp playing style are based in the traditions of American roots music, but are blended with a dark experimentation.

Originally hailing from the Midwest, but now based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Kelli Shay Hix has shared the stage with such performers as Michael Hurley, Simon Joyner, Marissa Nadler, Jana Hunter, The Early Day Minors, Tom Brosseau, and Alela Diane. Among other radio performances, she has performed live on WFMU and was included in the “best of 2006” edition of WFMU’s program Give the Drummer Some.

In 2006, Carbon Records released Kelli Shay’s first ep, “Bucked”, a collection of songs recorded on simple equipment in abandoned urban spaces by the Filmmaker Jem Cohen. In 2007, Carbon released her first full length studio recording, “Buck Again”. In 2008, Hix created a soundtrack for the super-8 documentary, Los Trivinos del Huasco, which was self-released. Hix is currently playing and working on the recording of her second full-length.