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The WDVX Blue Plate Special – 9/13 – Kevin Daniel / Kelle Jolly
September 13 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Raised in North Carolina, Brooklyn-based Americana crooner Kevin Daniel is set on making NYC a destination for Nashville sounds. The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist brings southern rock, gospel, and blues to barrooms of Brooklyn and beyond. But Daniel wasn’t always chasing his dreams.
In the winter of 2013, during a dinner party in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Kevin received a phone call from his sister that would change everything. His mother and stepfather, adventure-seekers and amateur pilots, had been flying back from their mountain house in western North Carolina when their plane had crashed, killing both of them. Daniel’s life was turned upside down, his family torn apart and the world forever changed. During his return to North Carolina to help with family business, and while reliving his parent’s lives through photos, essays, and family stories, Kevin wrote over a dozen songs, all fueled by the grief of losing his parents as well as the celebration of the large lives they were known for. From those songs six were chosen to record, including one written specifically for Kevin’s parent’s memorial service.
The result of those recordings was FLY, Kevin Daniel’s inaugural EP. The six-song project was recorded in 2014 in Brooklyn and embodies the depth of Daniel’s emotions during a time of supreme distress. Southern sounds of banjo and country-loving three-part harmonies were backed by rock riffs and pop lyrics, which spoke true to life and the celebration of living. “I always knew I wanted to record my own music, and a life spent being in other people’s bands had prepared me to lead my own, both in the studio and on the stage. It was losing my parents that gave me the kick in the ass to finally do it”, says Daniel. The EP is available on all digital outlets as well as on 12-inch opaque blue vinyl.
In 2018 Kevin Daniel finished his second EP, Myself Through You, recorded at Degraw Sound in Brooklyn, NY, and produced, engineered, and mixed by Ben Rice. Kevin gathered together a host of talented, professional musicians from all backgrounds for the project, which resulted in a richly recorded blend of genres and instruments. “When I started thinking about this EP, I knew I wanted to get some of the best musicians I know in the studio. With Ben’s help we created a space where people could come in, lay down their own version of the parts, and create something unique to them as well as the record,” says Kevin.
Featuring instrumentation as diverse as pedal steel guitar, flugelhorn, and bluegrass banjo, the songs on Myself Through You deliver sublime lamentations of the country-tinged Americana Daniel has created over the last few years. The EP’s title track Myself Through You’ is Daniel’s attempt to take a subjective look at his own life. “I often find myself trying to take a step back and see life from someone else’s eyes,” says Kevin. “This song came into being at a time where I was really struggling to understand someone else’s point of view. I think we all struggle with that daily.”
Kevin followed up his sophomore release with his first full length LP, ‘Things I Don’t See’. The 11-song album brings together some of New York state’s most talented musicians and producers, including Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors), The Restless Age, John LeDeau (The National Reserve), and Kenny Siegel (Old Soul Studios). The album has taken Kevin all over the US and UK, touring both solo and with a full band, gaining global radio spins through tunes like “Used To Be”, “Pour Me A Drink”, and “Time To Rise”. Americana Highways Magazine says “Things I Don’t See showcases Daniel’s fluid ability as a songwriter to seamlessly incorporate bits of rock, soul, country, blues, roots, and Appalachia into his thoughtful examination of pain and awakenings, visceral and spiritual.” Kevin Daniel continues to tour, obtaining official selections from Mountain Jam, SxSW, Celebrate Fairfax, The ListeningRoom Festival, and more.
Vocalist Kelle Jolly, “The Tennessee Ukulele Lady”, is one of East Tennessee’s most celebrated jazz musicians. She and her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd, were the 2015 MLK Art Award recipients in Knoxville. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan as Knoxville’s Sister City representative at various jazz festivals and events. Kelle Jolly is the host of Knoxville’s newest radio show on WUOT 91.9FM (www.wuot.org), Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, an hour-long show that celebrates great local, national and international singers of jazz. She is also the founder of the Women in Jazz Jam Festival.