Song of the Day – Sep 13/07


Today’s song is by Irene Kelley. Most of you will recall Alan Jackson’s version, however the song was written by Irene and recorded on her Simple Path album a few years back. Here’s the full length audio file and TCB’s original review.

Bluer Than That

From the moment you slip Irene Kelley’s “Simple Path” into your stereo you’re taken on a journey through intrinsically simplistic images of life. Inspired by life’s natural circumstances Kelley’s songwriting gives credence to the words of renowned author, Aldous Huxley, who said: After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. The journey begins with ‘Bluer Than That’, a hauntingly familiar and yet, artistically unique offering that will have you hitting the replay button more than once. Kelley’s sound has a bluegrass feel, reminiscent of Dolly and Emmylou and yet her music is distinctly her own. ‘Bluer Than That’, Kelley’s current single, is more than worth the price of the CD and yet Kelley doesn’t stop there and delivers the song only as an appetizer.  Particularly touching are “Not So Different After All” and “Constant State of Grace”, both inspired by her own encounters with homeless women in her day-to-day life.  Of  ‘Constant State of Grace’,  Kelley shares, “This is a true story about a homeless woman out near where I live. She has her cart and sometimes a puppy, and she has a boom box. Some days she is singing loudly along with her music and other days, she just sits by the side of the road. She enjoys for people to stop and talk with her, but the only thing I ever did was write a song for her. It was the bravest thing I could bring myself to do.” Collaborating with the likes of Claire Lynch and Kim Richey, Irene has had a successful career as a songwriter. Her music has been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Brother Phelps, Carl Jackson and Ricky Skaggs, just to name a few. Irene reclaims “O Mexico”, (Trisha Yearwood) and ‘Not So Different After All’ (Brother Phelps) for ‘Simple Path’ making it seem like they’d never even left home. Irene Kelley is no stranger to taking what life hands her and giving it her own mark. As a 15 year old she tried to introduce the music of Dolly Parton to the other members of a local rock and roll band during a band rehearsal. Preferring the music of Led Zeppelin to Dolly, Irene was promptly dropped from their roster. So what’s a girl to do? Go out and strike up a country band and that’s just what she did.

When an MCA record deal didn’t produce an album, even after a couple of relatively successful singles, she created her own record label and put out “Simple Path” to immediate critical accolades.

Performing Songwriter magazine: “‘Simple Path’ is a warm and wonderful collection of bluegrass-tinged country music that’s hard to find on the radio these days. It has the timeless sound of a standard; something Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn would be proud to call their own.” Music Row magazine, Robert K. Oermann wrote, “She sings with immense hillbilly heart and writes like a champion. Like so much of what we label ‘Americana,’ this is simply a simple (and wonderful) country record.”

It wasn’t long before Relentless Records picked it up for national distribution, and its no wonder. When all’s said and done, Simple Path is a patchwork quilt of Kelley’s life experiences and she eloquently and quietly takes us along for the ride, putting music and lyrics to a life that in many ways may not be so different from ours, after all.

Visit Irene’s official website at:

  May 2001 – Laurie Joulie – Take Country Back 

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