Josh Kelley - 6/18/17Sunday, June 18 2017 6:00 PM Doors / 8:00 PM Start
- Front Premier
at City Winery Chicago
"I feel like I'm reinventing myself on this album," Josh Kelley says of New Lane Road, his first new release in five years and his first for Sugar Hill.
Indeed, listeners who think they know Josh Kelley via such trademark tunes as his pop smash "Amazing" and his country hit "Georgia Clay" may be in for a surprise with New Lane Road. With Kelley handling the songwriting, production and engineering, and playing most of the instruments himself, the TK-song album is a landmark for the artist in more ways than one, breaking new sonic ground while featuring the most revealing, personally-charged lyrics of his dozen-year career.
"This record is the most me of any record I've ever made," Kelley asserts. "It's the most honest I've ever been, and it's the best subject matter I've ever had to write about. When I was first coming up, I was young and inexperienced, and I had to make things up. Now that I'm older and I've traveled the world and had kids and have seen more and felt more, I have things to write songs about."
Such effortlessly catchy, lyrically engaging new tunes as "Take It On Back," "You're My Angel," "Life's Too Short," "It's Your Move" and "One Foot in the Grave" demonstrate a remarkable balance of emotional insight and melodic craft.
Although New Lane Road is Kelley's first new album since 2011's Georgia Clay, he's kept busy with a variety of projects that have allowed him to stretch out and explore new musical challenges. For example, he wrote and performed the theme song for the hit TV sitcom Mike and Molly, scored the feature film Home Sweet Hell, and created the theme song for TV's Golf Channel.
"I got tied up in some politics with another label, which is why this is my first record in five years," he explains. "But that's OK, because if I'd released an album then, it wouldn't have been as good as this one. I wrote about 500 songs over the last few years, but these are the ones that fit together and felt like the right statement."
New Lane Road is the product of three years' worth of writing and recording, much of it in the state-of-the-art studio that Kelley built in the hills of Utah, where he lives with his wife, actress Katherine Heigl, and their two children.
"I've been painting and drawing since I was a kid, but I've never really showed that side of me to the world until now," says Kelley. "I've been recording music since I was 11, and I should have been using all of these things to my advantage. But I never let anybody know, and I never let anybody know that I played all these instruments. My wife pushed me to show that side of myself to the world, and to let people know about my artwork and my paintings. She was like, 'The world thinks you're just some glossy singer-songwriter dude.' So I guess that on some level, people haven't ever known who I really am, and now they're about to find out.
"I feel like I actually know what I'm doing now, which was not always the case in the past," Kelley concludes. "I'm a better player and performer than I've ever been, and I've found the sweet spot in my voice. I write, record and create every single day, and because of that, I think I've gotten better at everything. I'm a better husband, a better dad, and I'm better at my craft. I think of all of the stuff I did before as my apprenticeship for what I'm doing now."