WILKES-BARRE — Kelsey Waldon is a different voice from a different place.
The Monkeys Eyebrow, Ky. native’s approach to roots country is at once a callback to the artists who inspired her and a modern evolution of the genre. The singer/songwriter will bring her live show to the F.M. Kirby Center For the Performing Arts Dec. 2 when she co-headlines with Massachusetts country group Girls, Guns and Glory. Waldon may fit in best on tours with country acts, but she said she and her band have played to diverse crowds since the release of her 2014 debut album “The Goldmine.”
“I think we seem to resonate with people that love good music in general, not only roots country fans or traditional country fans but also just, like, good music fans,” Waldon said. “We’ve been able to play the traditional bills and also the hipper bills or whatever you want to call it. It’s been interesting.”
The Kentucky singer/songwriter’s newest release, this year’s “I’ve Got A Way,” is a step away from her inspirations and into her own sound. She said it’s a representation of the growth of herself as a person — the growth of her soul. That doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her roots though. “I’ve Got A Way” includes two classic country covers in The Gosdin Brothers’ “There Must Be Someone” and Bill Monroe’s “Travelin’ Down This Lonesome Road.”
“I’ve kind of found out that making a cover song or making someone else’s song your own is kind of like a whole ‘nother art I’ve come to know,” Waldon said. “There’s something to be said, I think, for that too — and for doing it well — so we tried to execute that properly. It really, kind of organically, happened where it turned out to be the perfect fit for the record.”
Waldon said artists she admires including Willie Nelson and Linda Ronstadt also included covers on their records, and she wanted to do the same while including new arrangements for two songs that mean a lot to her. Waldon’s musical intelligence comes from a long-time infatuation with music. She said as soon as she picked up the guitar it became natural — she “quit all other things, quit sports, quit everything.”
“It just seemed to be where I finally found my niche and I was certainly a healthier person because of it and I still am,” Waldon said. “That just kind of seemed to be my place in life very naturally. I honestly always wanted to do music, so as crazy as it sounds, I just kind of made my mind up.”
Waldon said she moved to Nashville when she was a teenager, left and returned when she was in her early 20s. That’s when she found her place among the city’s many musicians, and now, two albums later, she’s playing around the country, making her own place in music. She said patrons at her Dec. 2 Kirby Center show should expect “a great show with no frills” that’s just like her infatuation with music — natural.