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Minnesota folk musician Kelley Smith recently released her first record, Moon Child, just after her 40th birthday. Raised in the woods by musicians, she always had music in her bones, but it wasn’t until her late 30’s that she attached to her guitar and began songwriting. She did so as a practice in freeing herself from social anxiety. “I was tired of being tongue-tied,” she says, “…I just wanted to paint little word pictures of what was in my head with no pressure to be profound, or correct or catchy. Just me, my soul, coming out.”
Described as ‘the musical love child of Gillian Welch and Doc Watson,’ Smith is a guitar picker with an old-timey voice. An emotive performer, she provides “a safe space for folks to feel their feelings.” Her first record, Moon Child, comes across as a mid-life coming-of-age story. As an insomniac, Smith wrote this first batch of songs by moonlight. They evoke a sense of belonging, juxtaposed with escapism, as she croons about long-term love, grief, and her draw to the night sky.
In a short while, Smith has become a regionally recognized folk artist, and has shared stages with legends like Charlie Parr, Dave Simonett, and Drew Peterson.