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Kelsey Waldon

Country music artist Kelsey Waldon grew up in Monkey’s Eyebrow playing piano and guitar. Now the country music artist has two critically acclaimed albums and tour dates scheduled across the country.

Waldon moved to Nashville out of high school, earned a degree from Belmont University, and came out with her first album, “The Goldmine,” in 2014. Now she has a new album, “I’ve Got a Way.”

Waldon started playing music as a child. “All my family members said I took a liking to it at a really young age,” she said. She played piano by ear at the age of 3, and guitar at age 12. “My first big band was the Beatles and stuff like that,” she said.

Her grandmother, Peggy Sue Rollins Piper, recalled that Kelsey’s babysitter had a piano. “She kept her from daylight till dark, five days a week, and so they spent a lot of time at the piano,” she said. “And I credit Beverly Pickett, her babysitter, with a lot of that. Plus the fact that she definitely must have been born with that ability because on both sides of my family, there was music. I think it was definitely in her DNA.”

Waldon said some songs take five minutes to write, others take months. “I might be thinking of a line for three weeks in my head before write it down, you know? And the ones that take longer to write, I guess they were meant to be that way,” she said. “They just all come in different ways. Inspiration’s everywhere.”

Artist and musician Vickie Vaughn said Waldon is an open book. “She carries her influences with her,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where she is, she’ll get an idea and she’ll just take off with it.”

Musician Nathan Lynn said Waldon is a great representative of the musical styles of Western Kentucky. “Her roots like here in Western Kentucky, in the sloughs and backwaters and cypress trees and the hills here. And I think that those things speak through her,” he said.

When she was 12, she wrote her first song, copying Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” “Just because I didn’t really know how yet. But I was getting there. … And I’ve worked on it ever since. Sharpening that knife, and kind of trying to perfect that craft for me.”

Kelly Piper Harris, her mother, said her daughter is a deep thinker. “I think it’s an art,” she said. “I don’t think everybody is given that ability and I do think she has it.”

Lynn said Waldon is following her passion. “When you see Kelsey performing out live or in the studio or you hear her on an album, you can always tell that she’s enjoying what she’s doing.”
Waldon is grateful for the opportunities. “I think the real reward is just being able to do what you love for a career,” she said.

This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2213, which originally aired on April 15, 2017. Watch the full episode.