Kelleigh Bannen never made the trek to Nashville — she was already there. Born and raised in Music City, she was singing and writing songs when she was 2 years old. Well, actually, as she notes in her self-written bio, “it was a little song with two lines that I would sing to myself inspired by the ‘word of the day’ from ‘Sesame Street.’”
Safe to say, at least, that her ears were wide open at an early age, taking in music beyond the Country playlist and kiddie show themes to include Frank Sinatra, Patty Griffin and other eclectic performers. However, Country proved to be her true calling, so after graduating from college in Virginia, she hastened back home to develop her writing and discover her own sound as a singer.
That sound shines on her upcoming debut album, produced by Paul Worley and Jerry Smith and set to release on EMI Records Nashville. Written by Bannen and Troy Johnson, its first single, “Sorry on the Rocks,” recounts a relationship melting down, like ice in an untended glass past last call. Bannen’s strong, assertive vocals underscore the clever metaphor that flows through each verse and chorus.
Similarly, the words on another Bannen/Johnson tune, “Rose Colored Glasses,” balance playfully between the prosaic poetry of getting up in the morning and more elevated appreciations of how love can add color to “the whole world covered in ashes.” The music, strutting at medium tempo over a guitar riff that might recall “American Woman,” underscores Bannen’s ability to animate a sunny tale as handily as a lost-love lament. Her confidence and her Country soul make it sound like she never left Nashville at all.
IN HER OWN WORDS
CD IN YOUR STEREO
Lee Brice’s Hard 2 Love and the Gotye record (Making Mirrors).”
SONG YOU WISH YOU’D WRITTEN
“Easy — ‘The House That Built Me.’”
“Loud chewing noises at the dinner table — gross!”
MOMENT YOU WISH YOU COULD RELIVE
“The last Christmas before my little brother passed away.”
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
“I was bitten by a rattlesnake the summer before my freshman year in high school.”