Kelsey Waldon Inks Deal With John Prine's Oh Boy Records
Hailing from Monkey's Eyebrow in Ballard County, Kentucky, Kelsey Waldon is certainly no stranger to the rural, workingman's world in which John Prine's songs come to life. Both artists are admired for their often candid, occasionally humorous view of normal, everyday life, so when it came time for Waldon to find a home for her songs, Prine and his long-independent Oh Boy Records welcomed her with open arms. Waldon has played shows with Prine before, but none as impactful as their appearance on last night's Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. After performing her own Opry set, Prine called Waldon back to the stage to sing his classics "Unwed Fathers" and "Paradise" together. Following their duet, in front of a sold-out Opry audience and in honor of all the legends that have graced that stage before her, Prine announced Waldon's new partnership with Oh Boy right in the center of the famed Opry circle. Watch here.
It's been a hard fought journey up to this point in Waldon's career, but a strong dose of perseverance and patience has led her to greener pastures as of late; spending the last year opening for Tyler Childers, Jamey Johnson, and the head of her new label, John Prine, as well as completing her third full-length album which is due out this fall on Oh Boy.
"It's hard for me to put into words what it truly means to me to be signed to Oh Boy Records," says Waldon. "To have someone like John, who I have looked up to my whole life, who I have set my songwriting standards after and my general music making standards after, to have someone like him endorse my music and care enough about it to make sure it reaches a wider audience...that means everything."
It has also been some time since Oh Boy Records recruited new talent. With Kelsey's signing, their first in fifteen years, Oh Boy is keen on ushering a fresh, inspired artist into a world where important traits like authenticity and honesty have been replaced with marketability and catchiness. Jody Whelan, Director of Operations at Oh Boy, says of the signing, "It's an honor for us to work with Kelsey. There is an honesty and commitment in her music, both as a performer and songwriter, that we've long admired. Evident in all her work is a strong point of view, and a reverence for the culture and history of country music and songwriting, she is exactly the type of independent-minded artist that Oh Boy Records was founded to support."
Prine echoes Whelan's excitement adding, "I am bursting with pride to have Kelsey Waldon recording for Oh Boy Records. Her music continues an important arc of traditional folk and country music. I love Kelsey's singing. Her voice is one of the more authentic country voices I've heard in a long time. I'm looking forward to all the shows we'll be performing together this year." Speaking of shows, Waldon will join Prine for a handful of dates starting in July. See below for announced tour dates and stay tuned to https://www.kelseywaldon.com/tour-dates for additions in the coming months.
"All I have ever wanted in a label home was for it to feel real, like a little family, and for a label to really 'get it'. I couldn't ask for a better dream team, in all seriousness. I'm so thankful I kept on my true north," Waldon graciously stated. "After everything I've been through up until this point, Oh Boy feels like home."
June 28 - Lexington, KY - The Burl (with John R Miller & the Engine Lights)
June 29 - Galax, VA - The Blue Ridge Music Center
July 13 - Central City, KY - Lu-Ray Park and Amphitheater (with John Prine)
Aug. 11 - Lexington, KY - Railbird Festival
Sept. 7 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Festival
Oct. 1 - Hollywood, CA - John Anson Ford Amphitheater (with John Prine)
Oct. 3 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater (with John Prine)
Oct. 4 - Davis, CA - Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (with John Prine)
Nov. 11 - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic - All The Best Festival
Dec. 6 - Orlando, FL - Bob Carr Theater (with John Prine)
Dec. 7 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall (with John Prine)
Since the release of I've Got A Way, Waldon has been busy touring the country with a tight-knit band of extremely talented musicians opening for artists such as John Prine and Jamey Johnson. Waldon has played on the Grand Ole Opry and has been featured on some of the country's biggest festival lineups, including ROMP Fest, Pickathon, Willie Nelson's Luck Reunion, National Folk Festival, and Gasparilla, to name a few. 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."
Oh Boy Records is an independent American record label located in Nashville, Tennessee and founded in 1981 by Grammy Award-winning songwriter John Prine and his longtime manager Al Bunetta. The label has released almost 50 audio and video recordings by singer-songwriters Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Daniel "Slick" Ballinger, Shawn Camp, Dan Reeder, and Todd Snider, along with a dozen reissues of classic country music artists.
In 1980, Prine finished his recording contract with Asylum and moved to Nashville. Rather than sign with another label, he decided to start one of his own, and was joined by Bunetta. The new Oh Boy label's first release was a red vinyl Christmas single with Prine singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" on the A-side and "Silver Bells" on the B-side. The first full-length release was Prine's Aimless Love in 1984. Oh Boy is the second oldest artist-owned independent label in the country and the oldest in Nashville.
Photo credit: Laura E. Partain