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Kelsey Waldon

Larson Sutton | January 30, 2015

Jukebox Dreams

To listen to Kelsey Waldon’s self-released debut, The Goldmine, is to imagine a quarter dropped into a tableside jukebox, her stolenheart voice consoling the lonely in some diner off Highway 40. Dripping with the most sought-after currency of authenticity, the 26-year-old Kentucky native—who financed the record, in part, with pay from her “other” job tending bar in a Nashville honkytonk—has found inspiration in everyone from Porter Wagoner vet Becky Hinson and legends like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, to early-‘90s star and fellow Bluegrass State native Patty Loveless. “I feel like I have a closer grip on who I am as an artist,” says Waldon, who began writing and recording her own songs at 14 on a gifted 10-track. “This record is, hopefully, showing that.” Increasingly, Waldon has proved her might onstage, as well, with short, regional runs in support of The Goldmine, and done her best to hold together her band of Music City risers. As for the rigors of the road, “I love it,” says Waldon. “It’s always refreshing to see someone’s reaction—getting that ultimate connection with a crowd is one of the most satisfying things you can do as a performer.”