A brief chat with Jadea Kelly

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Canadian singer-songwriter Jadea Kelly has been described as “Patsy Cline writing songs with Feist,” which is an interesting and not-inaccurate description. Starting out as a country artist, her third album, Clover, has seen her go in a folk direction. She’s performing at the Ark in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, so took the opportunity to have a quick chat.

Have you ever been to Detroit or Ann Arbor before?
No, never. I maybe passed through once or twice but this is my first American tour. I’ve been wanting to tour the States for years, but getting the visas in line is quite a lengthy process. But so far, I’m enjoying everything.

Clover is your third album – how do you think you’ve grown?
I feel like since I moved to Toronto and meeting other songwriters, now that I’m part of the songwriting community, my songwriting has become stronger. Growing up, I was the only songwriter in my town. It’s such a privilege to be surrounded by other writers.

Do you classify yourself as a folk or country artist nowadays, or doesn’t it matter?
I don’t know what it is. It’s just music. I guess you’d call it folk. We’ve been jokingly calling it fire-folk. I’m a fiery person. I grew up listening to country music and, who knows, I might gravitate towards that on the next record. It’s always my main path. I love the honesty and vulnerability of country music.

What are your plans for the Ark set?
I’ll probably play songs from the newest record, Clover. I’ll be there with my guitar player Tom Juhas – he’s all over the record. I’ll also be there with a fellow Canadian, Del Barber. He’s insanely talented – he’s from the prairies. He’s opening up.

What’s next, after this tour?
I’ll be spending the summer writing and finishing up the new record. I’ll be playing the Calgary Folk Fest and a bunch of festivals in Ontario. I’m mostly just going to be writing, gardening and enjoying the summer after the horrible winter that we had. I haven’t gardened since I wrote Clover, so I think it’s time I got my hands in the soil again.

Jadea Kelley plays with Del Barber at 8 p.m. on Tuesday May 27 at the Ark; 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, 734-761-1800; no cover.


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