Crooning cutie Kelsey Lewis is a 19 year-old singer-songwriter based in Texas. She has been performing since she was 6. Lewis says: “I have always loved music! There is just something about it; how notes and beats and sounds can make one so free and so happy or sad, or mad, or inquisitive, or daring and the list goes on and on . . . .”
At 13 Lewis learned she loved songwriting and has gone on to compose a wealth of songs about “love, life and . . . lessons learned”. She has since gone on to perform at various venues including The Palladium Ballroom, The House of Blues, Poor Dave’s Pub, The Opening Bell Coffeehouse, Arlington Music Hall and Lonestar Coffee Bar. Of her live gigs Lewis comments: “I haven’t met anyone, yet, that doesn’t like music. Maybe people that don’t like certain types of music, but music in general? Nope.”
In 2011 Lewis sang for the judges of the X-Factor show. This past December she stepped into the recording studio in Nashville to lay down tracks for her 10-tune debut disc Beautiful View.
Backed by multi-instrumentalist Mark Hill (bassist for Reba McEntire), Lewis put together 8 original songs co-written with (among others) her producers Hill and Richie Biggs (Amy Grant, George Strait). The album opens on the titular track “Beautiful View” which while a strong enough lead-in is not even the best song here. Lewis and Hill are joined by drummer Evan Hutchings, pianist Dustin Ransom, guitarist Jeff King and background vocalist Christine Dente.
“Critic’s Choice” goes to the upbeat “Ruby Red Shoes” which evokes mental images of Lewis dancing around like a delighted Dorothy who just returned home to kickin’ Kansas. It features Drummer Steve Brewster, keyboardist Jason Webb, guitarist Jerry McPherson and background vocalist Sam Ashworth.
The anxious, expectant “Up in the Air” is a different slice of life song. The work is fleshed out with the addition of Jimmy Mattingly on strings. It is unfailingly followed by “Falling” featuring Matt Slocum on cello. This one unabashedly borrows from childhood rhymes in terms of lyrics: “Wish I may, and wish I might/have this star I see tonight” but still works well as a romantic lullaby of sorts.
“Don’t Write a Song” is a sad song about a man who broke Lewis’ heart. (It’s so embarrassing when your randy writer is exposed in song. Yeah, right.) Seriously though, this fan favorite with accompanying video reveals that the bright-eyed songstress has also experienced heartbreak and hard life lessons as well. It’s not a particularly positive piece but it’s not meant to be. It’s a sincere moment that makes it one of the best tracks here.
The next number, “Naïve”, is a quieter cut. Lewis’ vocals become a bit breathier on this beautiful bit highlighted by violin and viola by Dave Davidson, cello by Anthony LaMarchina and string arrangements by Jason Webb. Lewis vocally vents on an “ex” on “When Pigs Fly” which includes Steve Brewster on drums and Sam Ashworth on backing vocals.
“Talking to the Sky” quietly comes in next in a somewhat thoughtful song before fading away into the cut “Calendar” which reveals Lewis’ potential “happy ending” in terms of the hopeful discovery of new love. The album’s end-note is a noteworthy cover of the Perry Como classic “Catch a Falling Star”. Her signature sound, labeled by some as “vintage futuristic”, shines is obvious throughout as her new songs reveal the influences of such established artists as The Civil Wars, Adele, Etta James, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and Patsy Cline.
Lewis works hard to tell tuneful tales that come from the heart. Her Beautiful View may just have music fans “Falling” for her.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.