Kelly Lang captures magic within her music.
By: Gina Kay Singerhouse
It’s a cool, crisp autumn morning as she stands outside next to her pool. A gentle, but brisk wind sends a shiver down her spine. Her hands are warmed as she holds a cup of hot tea amongst them. The steam from her cup circles around and around as it ascends, reminding her of the impending snow filled winter winds.
A gentle gust casts a brilliant red colored Maple leaf from a near by tree. She watches as the leaf quietly dances its way to the earth. With barely a splash, the leaf glides into the water that is left in the pool. Today is the day. The pool will be closed for the winter and the magic of the summer will cease once more.
She has always been drawn to the water and the magic of it. For her, water is an energy force that she can tap into to create music, her music.
She begins to smile as the memories of this past summer relive in her mind’s eye. Memories of family and friends who came to visit, with her and her husband, bring love into her heart once more.
Nonetheless it is the memory of one particular visitor that still peaks her interest. She was stunned at first when a dragonfly landed upon her finger as she lounged next to the pool, relaxing while crafting her music.
When the wildlife, that we rarely see, starts meddling within our lives, we tend to stop what we are doing to enjoy the moment presented to us. The moment presented to her was quite alluring and even magical. Some believe that dragonflies contain magic within themselves. Truth be known, dragonflies are born of water and then they begin to fly—just like her music.
“My very first song was written in a bathtub, I never really thought about that before. It has always been that way! I have song lyrics like with water stains all over the ink spots on papers all over the house.” laughs country music singer and songwriter Kelly Lang. “My album—99% of it was written either in a tub or in a pool. Every time I’m in my pool the dragonflies swarm around me...its just crazy! They land on my fingers and they stay on me the whole time I’m in the pool. It’s really beautiful! It’s kind of irritating after a while, but it’s really weird… dragonflies are born in the water and they begin to fly. Just like my music. I just thought that was a beautiful picture of what I feel about my music. I just want them to be born and then I want to let them go…”
Ms. Kelly Lang is no stranger to the music industry. She is however, one of the utmost underrated singer / songwriters in all of music. In her infinite wisdom, she has created some of the most authentic artistic pieces of work the industry has perpetually seen. Her eclectic pieces have been recorded by some of Country Music’s most notorious entertainers; including Lorrie Morgan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lee Greenwood, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Crystal Gayle and TG Sheppard.
On October 20, Ms. Lang will release her latest album, appropriately named Obsession. For once you get to know Kelly Lang and her music, you too will be obsessed!
In this twelve-cut album, Kelly creates a collection of self-penned pieces that are quite sophisticated, cleverly-written and highly-listenable songs. More so, this album features an array of tunes that you will certainly indulge in as Kelly takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
The album opens with the title track called “My New Obsession.” Performed in a soft and gentle, modern 1950’s style melody; it’s Kelly’s elegant vocals that makes this song a great opener as it draws you into this album as it makes you demand more!
What makes Ms. Lang’s music so sculpted is that she has this unique ability to capture the best of country music’s styles and creatively incorporates them into her songs. A great example of this is found in her song “One Day Too Late.” Lang, integrates a nice blend of George Jones-esque charisma while performing this heartfelt ballad. So much so, that I believe that Mr. Jones would have considered recording this song if he were still among us.
Then in the next song, “Hell Hath No Fury,” Lang blends the music of Conway Twitty and Lorrie Morgan with a hint of Elvis Presley. Performed in a Memphis feel, this one is sure to get your feet tapping in it’s easy swagger.
When you strip away the musical influences and get to the heart of Kelly Lang, you will find a solid, real entertainer who knows how to capture your heart and soul while entertaining you with her creative genius. Performed in a slow and elegant melody, “Lay Me Down Easy” is an extraordinary love ballad. A type of sincere love ballad that we have not heard on radio since the 1980’s.
The album closes with “I’ll Just Hold My Breath.” You will experience pure elegance and sophistication while listening to this exquisite ballad.
“All of them have a real important meaning to me. I wrote them at different eras of my life. The last few that I wrote was ‘His Guitar,’ ‘Mr. Right,’ ‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘My New Obsession;’ those were the latest ones.” shares Lang. “Out of all of them I believe ‘His Guitar’ is probably my most unique… the subject matter of that song is most unique to me. It’s kind of out the box, more than anything that I’ve done.”
“His Guitar” is a cleverly-written piece. Kelly takes the musical instrument, in this case the guitar, which has been used to enhance many messages of love and heartbreak as a symbol of heartbreak.
“Truthfully, I don’t know where the idea came from!” tells Kelly. “I just kind of woke up one day and it was there. I believe...not to get to heavy or anything… but I believe that all inspiration or creativity comes from above. Who knows why certain things are imprinted in people’s brains, but that one was a real easy song to write. I wrote that one in a matter of an hour or so. The ones that I write quickly, I think, are truthfully inspired and I can not not write them.”
When you follow Kelly’s musical career, you will find that she has an innate ability to take a simple subject and create a masterpiece of pure conceptual narrative. A great representation of this is found in her song “Don’t Play Games With Me (Barbie & Ken).” Also known as “Barbie & Ken.”
“I like to look at simple things that people normally would do and twist it around to make a point about it—like the ‘Guitar’ song.” tells Lang. “’Barbie & Ken’ every little girl plays with Barbie. Every little girl thinks that there is a knight in shinning armor kind of thing. It doesn’t exist! You know once you realize it doesn’t exist, you’re like ‘oh man, Barbie is a joke! You got to be kidding me!’ I was watching my own children play with their Barbie and Ken. I didn’t want them to grow up thinking that was a façade or whatever. Of course when you have your own children, you look through them back at your own past. It just kind of came to me one day...I was going through my divorce when I wrote that and I was basically wishing that I could warn my little girls that this does not, this is not necessarily reality.
“However—there’s an addendum to this! I am EXTREMELY happily married now! Extremely happily married. So it does exist. I didn’t know it at the time I wrote the song.” shares Kelly. “Therefore, the song ’Mr. Right’ is about my man!”
Kelly Lang is married to Country Music legend TG Sheppard. A match made in heaven and in music as well.
Kelly gives the listener a glimpse of her relationship with TG in “Mr. Right.” Performed in a early 1990’s country pop feel, this one is sure to get your toes tapping with it’s catchy melody and simplistic lyrics.
On the flip side, Lang bestows a message that many can relate to in “What Do You Do When You Don’t.”
“I wrote that when I went through my divorce. My kids were five and nine years old...their twenty-two and twenty-six now! I did good!” laughs Kelly. “But at the time, five and nine that’s really, really young and I just realized that it was not getting any better. It was only going to get worse and it was a bad example of a good relationship for my children to see. I didn’t want them to grow up thinking that, that was it you know. You settle and you are just miserable. So I took the chance on… it wasn’t just me… it takes both to be the problem. We were unequally yoked, I’ll put it that way. It wasn’t in any body’s best interest for us to stay together. That song was written when I was making that decision and I think a lot of truth comes out in that when it says ‘do you stay, do you go, do you pray it gets better and hope that it don’t.’”
“What Do You Do When You Don’t” carries a lot of truth within the lyrics as it rides an inviting melody. So much so, that it is the first song from this album to hit our list of Top Songs of 2017 while earning a nomination for the 23rd Annual Spirit Award’s Song of The Year Award.
Of course “Don’t Play Games With Me (Barbie & Kenn)” has also hit this list. Another song to hit the list and earn a nomination is “Under A Tennessee Moon.”
“I was riding towards Memphis in the car with my Mom. You know we’re from Oklahoma originally… and she was telling me how beautiful the state of Tennessee was and I was like ‘Yeah Mom. Yeah, I understand…’ ‘Oh Kelly, the trees here are so much more beautiful then Oklahoma!’ ‘Yeah Mom.’ She said ‘Oh look there’s the Tennessee River!’ And she goes ‘Kelly why don’t you just write a song about how beautiful the state of Tennessee is?’ I thought—you know Tennessee is a pretty word. I just love the look of it. I looked at my Mom that day and I thought, I love the fact that she sees beauty in everything! What a sweet thing!” shares Kelly. “I like to make my Mom happy. So, I began thinking about all the different areas of Tennessee that I’m familiar with and what is unique about the area and the song just started coming to me. I basically wrote it as a gift for my Mom. When I finalized writing it, I wept. Not only because I pleased my Mom—I realized that I could finally see the beauty through her eyes of what she was talking about once I wrote about all of these things.”
Tennessee is a beautiful state and Kelly captures it’s essence in this passionate and harmonically rich tune. You can view the video of this elegant song on our website. Nonetheless it was the Nashville floods of 2010, that made this song even more precious to it’s writer.
“It’s actually one of my favorite songs on the project.” shares Kelly. “I wrote that song a little while back. I wrote it before we went through the Nashville floods. Something about that flood and the way that Nashvillians took care of each other and loved on each other and took that catastrophe and made it into a beautiful positive; it made me even more appreciative of what we almost lost here. So that song had much more meaning to me after the flood.”
Many songs in country music have been written about women. Although very few songs show a positive side about women, other than their sexuality. Kelly includes a very powerful and deftly written song about women who influenced her in her song “Wonder Woman.”
“I better not say, but its someone you would know!” laughs Kelly when asked who inspired her to write the song. “Actually it’s about a lot of different women that I know. When people come over and hang out with me at the pool, the first thing they say is ‘I look awful in my bathing suit don’t look at me!’ In my opinion they’re perfect, beautiful—you know! ‘I look fat today’ ‘Shut up! You look amazing!’ It’s a combination of a lot of, lot of women. Truth be known—it was highlighted with...on it. To me she is a rock star! To me she is wonder woman. It’s about a lot of women.”
Performed in a country rock flare, it’s the realistic lyrics that will touch your soul as Kelly places the everyday women upon the pedestal. This is another song that will also grace our list and earn a nomination for the Spirit Awards.
On an inside note about this song, Kelly is looking into possibly hosting a contest with video, that may take place around Mother’s Day 2018. We’ll keep you apprised of this, if and when it comes about.
The final song from this album to hit our list and earn a nomination for the Spirit Awards is “Last One Standing In The Rain.” When you first listen to this song, you may think that it is a song about a bad break-up or the loss of a loved one. However, Kelly assures us that it is a song about her friend Barry Gibb and being the last of the Bee Gees left standing on stage.
“I wrote that song about Barry Gibb. I was walking around my pool one day and I had back surgery and I was really down, really blue. I was thinking about him—he had just lost his last brother and he was telling me how sad he was. It’s so weird for him going on stage being the last man, the last man standing. He was so sad, so depressed about it.” solemnly shares Kelly. “I was able to travel with him to Australia to see where his brothers and him grew up, played on the golden shore together, dreamt together, they sang together… he can hear his brothers still in his ears when he is on stage. So that song is all about Barry Gibb and the loss of all his brothers.”
If you listen closely you will here some of the Bee Gee lyrics within the song. When she shared the song with Barry, he was honored but requested that she change the words ‘man’ to ‘one.’
Words can not describe the sheer magnitude of creativity and authenticity that this album contains. Very few albums that come into our offices have the genuineness that this album and Kelly Lang have. It is the purity and artistry of this album that we celebrate. So much so, we pulled the entire album and nominated it for The 23rd Annual Spirit Award’s Album of The Year Award. Interesting parties can vote starting December 10, right here at Strictly Country.
Kelly Lang will join us on our Friday night radio show—Around The Campfire—to talk about this album in a special cut-by-cut featured show. The show is slated for an early January air date.
My only complaint about this album, is that I do not have enough money to purchase a ton of copies to share and give as gifts this Christmas season! The pure creative genius of Kelly Lang is a complete Obsession that should be shared with friends and family all year through!
Just before she is about to walk inside to get her day started, she takes one final sip of her tea. In the gentle breeze that is sure to bring winter to her front door—brings her ‘friend’ back once more.
Upon her right hand he lands, as to say—thanks. Thanks for the summer with her at her pool. But it is with a whisper that she says ‘thank you.’ Thank you to the magic of the dragonfly. For in her heart, he shall soar and dance upon the water once more. Gracefully he leaves her hand and flies off into the world unseen…
Just like the music she has just released...
(This article was printed in the November / December 2017 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
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