Joshua Hedley – Tickets – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR – October 24th, 2018

Joshua Hedley

That classic country sound from Nashville

Joshua Hedley

Kelsey Waldon

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Joshua Hedley
Joshua Hedley
With the release of his highly anticipated debut album Mr. Jukebox via Third Man Records, Joshua Hedley will embrace the role he was born to play: this generation’s classic country champion.

An accomplished fiddle player, Hedley felt inexplicably drawn toward the instrument as a child. He got his hands on his own fiddle at age 8, and by 12, he was playing with middle-aged pickers at the VFW. At 19, he moved from his native Florida to Nashville, where he became an in-demand sideman at Robert’s Western World and other bars, and ultimately, a well-respected frontman. Armed with an easy croon and prodigious fiddle playing, he became known as the Mayor of Lower Broad. He hit the road to perform with artists including Jonny Fritz, Justin Townes Earle, and more, while the 2015 documentary Heartworn Highways Revisited featured Hedley prominently.

Hedley didn’t start writing his own songs until he was about 28 years-old. So on the backend of his 20s, he finally started writing, eventually unlocking a flood of clarity and creativity. The heartbreaking, distilled, defiantly classic country that poured out of him became Mr. Jukebox, a salve and beacon for 60s honky-tonk devotees everywhere.

Album opener “Counting All My Tears” carves out the collection’s gloriously tear-jerking territory from the jump. As “oooooohhhs” and “aaaaahhhs” serve as spine-tingling harmonies––a classic-country flourish carried throughout Mr. Jukebox––lonely piano is joined by a familiar cast including steel and of course, fiddle. “Mr. Jukebox” is a swinging nod to those beloved machines––both inanimate and breathing––that dependably play a lot of songs for a little money. It’s impossible to listen to the tune and not smile thinking of Hedley’s years logged in cover bands on Nashville’s Lower Broad. Lush strings kick off the sauntering “Weird Thought Thinker,” which features harmonies that evoke both bass walkdowns and angels. An ace fiddle intro opens “Let Them Talk,” a carefree ode to being in love and not worrying about who knows it. “Let’s Take a Vacation” pleads for one last lovers’ getaway to try to remember what’s been lost. Hedley delivers a masterful recitation over crying steel, soft harmonies, and rich supporting strings. He penned shuffling “These Walls” about FooBar, a beloved East Nashville dive Hedley lived near before it shut down.

“This Time” paints a vivid picture of leaving that’s both proud and blue. Simple and brilliant, “I Never Shed a Tear” sounds like a standard, but just like all but one track on Mr. Jukebox, it’s a Hedley original. “You’re trying to say as much as you can in as few words as possible,” he says. “Trying to convey an emotion to make people feel their own emotions.” Hedley’s ability to capture feelings is on spellbinding display in album standout “Don’t Waste Your Tears,” a soaring, gut-punching vocal performance. The final track is the only cover: a goosebumps-inducing version of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Hedley picked the song to honor his dad, who passed away about three years ago without seeing the record deal, glowing press, and peer admiration Hedley’s earned. “We spent a lot of Christmases at Disney World,” he says. “When I was searching for a cover song, it dawned on me that my dad didn’t get to see any of this happen, but he always wanted it.”

When asked what he hopes listeners get out of Mr. Jukebox, Hedley doesn’t hesitate. “I just want people to remember they have feelings, and that they’re valid,” he says. “Not everything is Coors Light and tailgates. There are other aspects of life that aren’t so great that people experience. They’re part of life, part of what shapes people. And that’s worth noting.”
Kelsey Waldon
Kelsey Waldon
Over the past seven years, Kelsey Waldon’s life has changed drastically. Since moving to Nashville, she’s found her place in a lush, supportive, and versatile artist community. She’s released two albums, played with some of music’s biggest names, and toured nationally. She made her debut performance on the Grand Ole Opry at the hallowed Ryman Auditorium, and she’s already been bestowed with one of Nashville’s highest honors: playing the historic Station Inn, the go-to spot of the 70’s, where intimate, post-Opry jam sessions were hosted by legends like Jimmy Martin, Bobby Osborne, and Bill Monroe. While most musicians work a lifetime to achieve that status of success, Kelsey Waldon’s talent has earned her way to the top in a matter of years. And even though she traded her small town for the city, she’s making moves in country.

Straddling the junction of the Ohio River and the Mississippi, Waldon was born in Ballard County, Kentucky, and raised in one the county’s even smaller, unincorporated communities, lovingly named Monkey’s Eyebrow. The destination has been spotlighted by NPR and Roadside America, but the Western Kentucky town is about as “rural America” as it gets. Waldon’s family roots in the Bluegrass State date back over ten generations, from tobacco farmers to cattle raisers, and a general cast of real strong-spirited characters. “Farming and planting tobacco were some of the first jobs I had growing up,” she says; but dating back even farther, to some of her very first memories, is her relationship with music. Inspired by ‘a melting pot of influences’, Waldon took notes from a wide variety, spanning from legends like Merle Haggard and Mavis Staples, to bluegrass luminaries Ralph Stanley and Ricky Skaggs, and songwriting greats John Prine, Bob Dylan, and Townes Van Zandt. When she picked up the guitar at 13, she never looked back. “I finally felt like I was a part of something when I started playing and writing music. It was something that finally made everything make sense, and it was a very essential and healthy thing for me during my younger years, and still is.”
While Waldon faced a multitude of obstacles during adolescence, music always remained a constant source of stability in her life — and out of that adversity, she crafted a distinct sound that meets at the juncture of classic country, bluegrass, soul, R&B, and rock and roll. “I wasn’t one of those kids that applied for college or probably even took it very seriously upon graduating high school. I wanted to do things my own way, so I didn’t go to college and I moved to Nashville, on a whim really,” she says. Despite her initial feelings, Waldon ended up at Belmont University, studying Songwriting and Music Business, and became the first person in her family to graduate college. While working toward her degree, she played gigs at ‘any bar that would let her in the door and on the stage’ and worked 45+ hour work weeks at a minimum wage job. After graduating, Waldon continued playing local dive bars and venues, including one of Nashville’s most famous honky-tonks, The Palace, where she also worked as a bartender.

Waldon’s traction skyrocketed with the release of her debut LP The Goldmine, which The Fader dubbed as “the brightest country debut of 2014”. Relix claimed it was “dripping with the most sought-after currency of authenticity.” The album was named one of Rolling Stone’s “10 New Artists You Need To Know: Summer 2014,” with journalist Marissa Moss calling Waldon, “Tammy Wynette on a trip to Whiskeytown, as unafraid of heavy twang and spitfire pedal steel as coffeehouse confessionals.”

By the time I’ve Got A Way hit in 2016, she had established herself as one of Nashville’s founders of the female-pioneered twang revival — a movement that is quickly redefining the modern country music narrative. Her sophomore album ranked on two of NPR’s most-acclaimed lists of the year; Fresh Air host Ken Tucker’s “Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2016” alongside Beyonce, Miranda Lambert, and Stax legend William Bell. The album’s shining single, “All By Myself” was named on their list of “Top 100 Songs of 2016.” The video for the single, filmed in her hometown of Monkey’s Eyebrow, was featured on Rolling Stone Country and Billboard. One of the most notable supporters of I’ve Got A Way was Ann Powers, who admired the record’s “delightfully direct language and delivery enhancing vivid musical settings that demonstrate her vast understanding of the traditions she mines.” Powers went on to praise Waldon’s unique talent in NPR's First Listen, saying, “It’s the immediacy of her storytelling, utterly unsentimental yet deeply heartfelt, that makes Kelsey Waldon a queen of the cool rejoinder and an all-around contender.”

Since the release of I’ve Got A Way, she’s been busy touring the country — sometimes solo, but more often than not, with a tight-knit band of extremely talented musicians. But despite the fame and notoriety she’s seen in the past three years, Waldon remains humbled by her success. “I’ve spent a huge majority of my life studying my favorite records, my favorite songs, and my most-favorite singers,” she says, adding, “You never stop learning or gaining from it. I’m still doing it all the time… all the while still writing my own story and hopefully becoming an entity in my own right.” If one thing is set in stone with Kelsey Waldon, it’s that she does have a way — and it’s straight up from here.