NASHVILLE, Tennessee (February 8, 2012) – Most artists hoping to make it big in country music move to Nashville instead of away from it, but not Sara Jean Kelley. She grew up right here (what if people not in Nashville read this?) in Music City, born into a family of musicians that encouraged artistic expression and never hesitated to jump in the car and head across the country for the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.
Sara Jean could hardly wait to set off on her own adventure, and just days after graduating high school, that’s exactly what she did, loading up her car for a long road trip that would inspire her next move in life. A gal has a lot of time to think while behind the wheel, hours upon hours of asphalt flying by underneath, and what started as a simple vacation turned into a two-year sabbatical spanning the west. She reveled in the vast Colorado wilderness that would become a temporary new home and soaked in the inspiration that surrounded her, never forsaking her Southern roots.
After 2 years in Durango, home called to Sara Jean and she hit the road back to Nashville. She was sharpened by the journey, having had plenty of time to discover what she was put into the world to do and hone her skills as a performer.
Since the age of 16, Sara Jean has been captivating audiences across the country with her classic beauty, sultry voice and haunting lyrical stories. She has both roughed it out on the road, singing for her dinner and a bed to sleep in for the night, and snagged her own private dressing rooms in some of the most notable US venues, sharing stages with her icons: Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Rodney Crowell, just to name a few. Her slew of original songs offer the familiarity of traditional country and bluegrass while mixing in a healthy dose of modern Americana.
Like many great artists whose ambition is driven by their passion, Sara Jean is her toughest critic. In 2010, she performed for thousands of fans at Mobile, Alabama’s BayFest Music Festival. After a heart-wrenching performance received by thunderous applause, she kicked herself unforgivably for reversing the lyrics to a line of one of her songs during the encore. She was almost inconsolable until the next day when, despite the fact that the festival’s bill included a long list of major headlining acts, it was her picture that appeared on the 1A cover of the Mobile Press-Register, under the headline “Perfection.” It was no surprise that she was invited back to the same festival in 2011.
It is that tenacious spirit that drives Sara Jean to always improve, to always challenge herself. She is carrying the torch for a new generation of Americana artists. With her sights set on recording a new album this year (a follow up to 2006’s “Dollhouse”), Sara Jean has been writing relentlessly on her own and with several other Nashville songwriters including Jedd Hughes, Big Kenny and Will Kimbrough (guitarist for Emmylou Harris). Kimbrough is also slated to produce the project, along with Dave Coleman of The Coalmen, which will be released by the end of this year.