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Nora Kelly Band’s first full-length album Rodeo Clown roams the range of country-inflected styles–slow burners to foot stompers—but a theme ties it together. The painted smile of the clown, says band leader Kelly, is something she can relate to in some ways she likes–and others she is working to overcome.
“We all know that a clown’s role is to act goofy and make their audience laugh, but underneath we have no idea how they are really feeling. I can relate,” shares Kelly. “I can be too much of a people pleaser, too worried about putting others at ease even when I’m not smiling inside. It’s something I’m working hard to move past, and a lot of the songs on this album reference, in some way, that journey I’m on to break those habits and stand up for myself.”
Kelly is quick to point out that just as many songs on the album are joyous and fun, embracing her authentic inner clown who laughs and winks at life’s absurdities. “In my previous punk band, DISHPIT, we’d do crazy stunts in our performances, like walking the drummer through the crowd on a dog leash or spraying them with fake blood. I played all sorts of characters in the lyrics of those songs. And you’ll meet a bunch more in the Nora Kelly Band songs.”
From blazing bangers to mysterious moments of beauty and intrigue, the ten songs on Rodeo Clown offer a winding ride towards an inner horizon. Nora Kelly lyrics suggest a destination: Play by your own rules and not the ones others set for us.
RIYL: Neko Case, Big Thief, Lucinda Williams, Pavement, Kurt Vile, Orville Peck