Radio Add Date January 24, 2023. Available 01/27/2023 on all platforms.
“SNOW WHITE MEMORIES”
The long awaited new
full-length bluegrass album from IRENE KELLEY
This is the fourth full-length bluegrass album from Irene, which includes guest appearances by luminaries like Trisha Yearwood, The Kruger Brothers, Ronnie Bowman and was co-produced by Kelley and her daughter Justyna Kelley. Snow White Memories has already garnered three songs that topped the Bluegrass Today Charts at #1. Her rendition of the classic rock band Kansas’ tune, “Can I Tell You,” will surely surprise and delight fans.
On her new album, Snow White Memories, Irene Kelley's gaze throughout is not as much toward a remote, amber-preserved place and time as it is a yearning for the soul's safe harbor, a state of emotional ease, which, if not always achievable, is always imaginable. Even her cinema-specific “Fourth of July in My Hometown” is less the celebration of an event than an embrace of belonging. “Nothing heals me like a memory,” she sings. With a bell-bright voice and earnest phrasing, Kelley has steadily sung and written her way to bluegrass eminence. A year ago, Bluegrass Today ranked “Wild Mountain Stream,” the first advance single from this album, as the most played song of 2021. It, too, conjures up an escape, a going home to nature, “away from all the worry that gets trapped inside my mind.” Hardly a seasonal album despite the presence of the title song and the advance single “Come Some Winter Morning,” Snow White Memories is an ambitious project.
Apart from co-producing the album with her daughter, Justyna Kelley, Irene 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. Among her array of co-writers and studio players, 10 have won individual musicianship laurels from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), eight of them multiple times, including four time top female vocalist Brooke Aldridge, bassist Mike Bub, mandolinist Adam Steffey and dobroist Rob Ickes.
“I had really good luck with the musicians,” Kelley says. “They had enough respect for me as a songwriter to honor whatever it was I asked them to do. If they weren't
comfortable [with a particular song] then I knew I could turn to another player. And
that's kind of what happened.”
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 only a possible title. “I found myself saying and typing 'Safe travels' many times over these last few years,” she says. “It's a prayer of sorts.” And it applies whether you're eagerly going or reluctantly leaving that home of your fondest dreams.