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Blogging Bluesfest 2013: Kelly Sloan

By François Levesque on July 3, 2013

Kelly Sloan‘s a country girl at heart. She was born in the Ottawa Valley and still plays most of her shows there. Proof of this is her series of recent past gigs: Almonte, Perth, Calabogie, Ashton… so it will be a special treat to have Kelly at Bluesfest, even if it’s off-site at the Rideau Centre. She (re)discovered her singing voice living on the East Coast and has since been performing all over Ontario. She has two albums under her name, Always Changes (2008) and Kelly Sloan (2010), on which she brought musicians like Rob Crowell (Deer Tick), Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!), Dan Ledwell (Kathleen Edwards) and Mike Farrington (Garret Mason).

Back from a busy Canada Day weekend in Almonte, she took a few minutes to answer our questions over the interweb.

How would you describe your sound?

I always have a hard time coming up with the proper description, but in a nutshell, indie folk with a soul vibe. I tend to just write whatever I feel like writing. Sometimes it’s a jazzy tune, sometimes it’s a soul ballad, sometimes it’s a folk song.

How long have you been playing music, and how long has your sound evolved over that time?

I started classical training when I was 10 and eventually rebelled around 18 and gave it up for a while. About 6 years ago, I ended up in Halifax recording some backups for a friend. Someone suggested that I try writing a song and so I did. We recorded that one, then 10 more, then had an album. I eventually made another and figured I might as well try the songwriter thing for while. Now here I am. Totally stuck in this. It took me a long time to break from the mould of my classical training and find my voice. It’s still a work in progress. But I’m starting to become more confident with my sound and my performance. I think the new songs for the upcoming album reflect that.

What are you hoping to get out of your bluesfest performance? 

Basically, I’m hoping some rich person will be walking by and will say “hey, I have a yacht and I will pay you a million dollars a month to play on it.” That’s basically what I’ve been working towards.

Are there any other bands on the bill you are excited to see?

Well, usually I just go to Bluesfest and wander around watching different shows. That’s how I discover incredible new bands that I had never heard of. But of course, I’ll be checking out the favourites: B.B. King, Neko Case, Wu-Tang.

What’s your favourite make-out spot in Ottawa?

I haven’t been in Ottawa long enough to know the best make out spot. However, I’ve definitely observed late night on Elgin St. to be a favourite of many.

Below is Kelly playing “If I Need You” at Slungshot Studios in Almonte, Ontario.

Kelly will play at the Rideau Centre, Saturday, July 6 at 12pm.