Word has recently come in that Kelly will be featured as a solo performer at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas! It’s been some time since Kelly has been on the bill at this festival, where he appeared several times with the Plaid Family and in workshops for finger style guitar, fiddle, and odd instruments. This is an exciting development, and we will keep you posted about further details!
Kansas City finger style guitarist Kelly Werts, a veteran of the regional acoustic music scene, has released a solo album that reaches back to his personal roots. The CD, entitled “Crawdad”, features Kelly singing the title song, a reminder of his childhood days spent playing at the edge of the neighborhood creek. Other classic songs, like “Ring of Fire” and “King of the Road”, reflect Kelly’s earliest exposure to music on the radio, while “Rye Whiskey” and “The Darby Ram” are the products of research into the popular songs of past centuries. Werts gives them equal footing, figuring that they all share the same lasting qualities. The treatments are mostly simple, ranging from Kelly’s unadorned singing and nimble-fingered guitar to the added sounds of fiddle, mountain dulcimer, cello, accordion, spoons, pump organ and harmony vocals from nine guest musicians. An occasional gnarly fiddle tune serves as a reminder that life can get complex, yet the danceability of those melodies entreats us to navigate it all with energy and joy.
Kelly keeps busy with three ensembles, including Tiny Flowers, his duo with Connie Dover, and the Poke Salad Orchestra (in the Wichita area). To learn more about these groups, check out the Ensembles page.