Last year, a relative unknown country artist from central Texas named Kristen Kelly signed with Arista Nashville and released a catchy single “Ex-Old Man”, followed by an eponymous EP toward the end of the year. With all the noise surrounding bigger-than-life acts like Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift and The Band Perry, Kelly’s release went unnoticed by a lot of country fans, but it is an EP that shouldn’t be ignored. This artist has a spark that could very well set her into the next round of big-name up-and-comers.
Co-produced by country veteran Paul Overstreet, who met Kelly in 2010 and was impressed enough to start writing songs with her, the Kristen Kelly EP reveals a singer with a contagious passion, a bluesy country style, and a strength in her voice reminiscent of Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. “Ex-Old Man” is a simple, catchy, radio-worthy single that could keep up with country’s finest, and Kelly’s blues-infused brand of country could easily create a niche if it is played into the right set of ears. And that seems to be happening, because Kelly’s tour schedule includes performing at the Grand Ole Opry and sharing the stage with the likes of Gary Allen and Rascal Flatts in the months ahead.
Right now, all we’ve got to by is this four-song EP, but these four songs show a great deal of promise. I have a feeling we’re going to hear a lot more from Kristen Kelly in the days ahead.