Snow White Memories from Irene Kelley Available Today
“Come Some Winter Morning” featuring The Kruger Brothers Debuts at #2 on Bluegrass Today Top 20 Singles Chart (January)
“Irene Kelley is one truly gifted tunesmith who also happens to be blessed
with a sweet, expressive voice.”
– Bob Allen, Bluegrass Unlimited
” …the album unfolds as an ever-evolving journey, one that ebbs and flows from effusive instrumentation to songs with a distinctive folk-like finesse, a sound that’s both charming and challenging all along the way. ”
– Alan Cackett, Music Journalist
“Snow White Memories conveys the depth of Kelley’s lyricism and her ability to deliver straight-to-the-heart songs filled with emotional resonance.”
–Henry Carrigan, No Depression
NASHVILLE, Tn. – Irene Kelley is pleased to announce the release of her fourth full-length album, Snow White Memories, available everywhere today.
Deemed the “Appalachian Angel” by the Nashville Scene, Kelley is akin to a recently uncaged bird spreading her wings with the self-released Snow White Memories. Apart from co-producing the album with her daughter, Justyna Kelley, the artist co-wrote 10 of its 11 songs with collaborators Ronnie Bowman, Terry Herd, Mark Irwin (who also teamed with her for the Alan Jackson gem, “A Little Bluer Than That”), Billy Droze, Steve Leslie, Steve Cropper, Billy Whyte, Donna Ulisse and Justyna.
Given the star power Kelley brought to the album, she might just as aptly have called it “Winners’ Circle.” Among her array of co-writers and studio players, 10 have won individual musicianship laurels from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Kelley’s approach to this recording has paid off as the first four singles have already charted with the debut single, “Wild Mountain Stream,” being named #1 of the Top 50 Songs of 2021 by Bluegrass Today.
Kelley says the album arose from two sources. The first was the COVID pandemic that isolated her from normal activity and led to her co-writing some of the songs via Skype rather than face to face. It was a cabin fever situation at its most confining. The second source was re-discovering a vinyl copy of Dan Fogelberg‘s 1985 album, High Country Snows, itself an all-star venture into “progressive bluegrass.”
A native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which lies squarely in the state’s tenacious Snow Belt, Kelley says she related instantly to what Fogelberg was singing about. “Holed up at home, I had this record on repeat,” she recalls. “From that first spin and the cover art, I knew my next album was going to have a winter theme. There’s a vision that happens to me—settling on a theme—and then there’s also the organic part. If it’s a great song—something I like singing—it ends up on there too.”
“Snow White Memories” and “Come Some Winter Morning” both stir memories of past loves, one bittersweet yet still comforting; the other forlorn, frozen in time, a glimpse into what might have been. There’s a wintry aspect as well—albeit an emotional rather than a physical one—to the songs “Lonely,” in which loneliness for a departed lover is personified as an actual, haunting presence, a ghost perched on the shoulder, and “Six Feet Down,” wherein a love affair is so dead all there’s left to do is bury it deep in the “cold, cold ground.”
But make no mistake, Kelley can bring the heat, too, and does so with “Satan Get Behind Me,” a real foot-stomping, camp-meeting altar call that’s almost certain to have the listener singing along by the second chorus.
The most surprising cut in this collection is a cover of the band Kansas’ 1974 single, “Can I Tell You.” “The lyrics are so timeless,” she says, “and especially right now.” Under a cloud of foreboding, the lyrics scold, “If you expect the freedom/that you say is yours/prove that you deserve it/help us to preserve it/or being free will just be/words and nothing more.”
Snow White Memories concludes with the sweetly serene benediction “Safe Travels, My Friend.” Kelley says she knew the song was destined to be the album’s closer when it existed only as a possible title. “Uncertainty is a silent reality,” she reflects, noting the many farewells she’s bidden to friends, never knowing when or if they would return. “I found myself saying and typing ‘safe travels’ many times over these last few years. It’s a prayer of sorts.” And it applies whether you’re eagerly going or reluctantly leaving that home of your fondest dreams.
While the theme of Snow White Memories may make for perfect cold weather listening, the liquidy warmth of Irene Kelley’s voice will stave off even the bitterest of winter chill. Consumers may purchase or stream the album here. Radio programmers may download Snow White Memories via Airplay Direct. For more information, visit IreneKelley.com.