“The last songs that made me cry were by a young New York singer, Kelley McRae. One was called “Time,” and the other one “Break Us.” – Wim Wenders
In 2011, after 7 years in Brooklyn and with a growing national fan base, Kelley traded in her apartment for a VW camper van and hit the road. Her husband Matt, who is also her guitarist, was on board. “At the beginning of the year we quit our jobs. We sold the furniture, the piano, everything,” Kelley said. “We took off on ‘The Great VW Camper Van Tour’ and we’ve played shows all over America. It’s been insane and absolutely amazing.”
Since leaving New York City, they’ve played over 100 shows, driven 25,000 miles, teamed up with tour sponsor True Lemon, been featured in a national American Airlines campaign, and been filmed for a major French documentary.
With no end date in mind, McRae’s tour is driven by the same grit and grace that has defined her music.
“I grew up in Mississippi and the music that I loved the most was, at its core, Southern music: The three part harmonies of the hymns they sung at my grandparents Baptist church, the Bill Withers tape my dad played on car trips, the stories my grandpa would tell me of hearing Blind Lemon Jefferson playing on the hood of an old car out in front of their house at the farm” shared McRae. “And the artists that would eventually come to influence me the most – Lucinda Williams, Aretha Franklin, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Uncle Tupelo, Richard Buckner, Mary Gauthier – they may not all be southern, but they sure do sound southern. This was the music that felt like home, even when Brooklyn came to feel more like home than anywhere else ever has.”
McRae’s albums ‘Never Be’ (Producer JD Foster: Calexico) and ‘Highrises in Brooklyn’ (Producer Brian Deck: Iron and Wine, Josh Ritter) have found impressive fans: Paste Magazine gave her four stars, WNYC’s ‘Soundcheck’ named her performance one of the year’s best, Wim Wenders says her music makes him cry and Bob Harris of BBC Radio called her ‘brilliant.’ Her songs have been featured on MTV, in the Sundance film ‘Children of Invention,’ on an international Unicef commercial, a national American Airlines campaign and on the hit TV show ‘Army Wives.’