Totally Biased Fan Review – Back Being Blue – Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis has worked on a couple of projects with her husband over the last eleven years but this is her first solo project in that time. She now has four children under 17 and she has been busy with other projects.

It is so good to hear her back again, one of the sweetest country voices in America and a talented songwriter. Under the banner of Americana but really, Americana/Alt. Country often sounds more like country than what is posing as country these days, which is something that Kelly feels strongly about too.

There are a couple of covers on here but mainly it is Kelly’s writing. She borrows wisely, including Rodney Crowell amongst the mix.

The songs are undeniably country but they are a mix of shades. The musicians are polished and they are perfectionists. Kelly doesn’t try too hard, she doesn’t need to. This is one of those albums that just sounds effortless.

It is smooth where it needs to be and country rocky where it wants to be. Kelly has always had this charming little lilt to her vocals and the vocals do dominate, despite of, or inspite of the technically spot on musicianship.

Kelly has a similar kind of voice to our own Anne Kirkpatrick. She can mix it up and it all comes out not sounding disjointed or convoluted. It just is. All of the usual subjects are covered in a number of guises.

It is a real relaxing album with the vocals being the hero. Let the fiddles flow over you, and enjoy the voice that has been practicing quality over quantity for nearly 3 decades.

So glad to have you back where you belong, Kelly.


Back Being Blue

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 3:48


2 Only You

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:38


3 Fool’s Paradise

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 3:19


4 Modern World

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:27


5 Freewheeling

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:40


6 Afternoon’s Gone Blind

Karl Straub

Kelly Willis 3:17


7 What the Heart Doesn’t Know

Kelly Willis

Kelly Willis 2:42


8 I’m a Lover (Not a Fighter)

Ronnie Light

Kelly Willis 3:03


9 We’ll Do It for Love Next Time

Rodney Crowell

Kelly Willis 3:12


10 Don’t Step Away

Jeff Rymes / Randy Weeks

Kelly Willis 4:22



Gina R. Binkley Art Direction, Cover Art, Package Design
Joshua Blue Drums, Percussion
Rodney Crowell Composer
Geoff Queen Dobro, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Lap Steel Guitar, Pedal Steel
Ronnie Light Composer
John Ludwick Bass
Steve Mazur Engineer
Dave McNair Mastering
Trevor Nealon Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Piano, Wurlitzer
Cover Photo   Amy Robinson

Bruce Robinson Harmonia, Mandolin, Producer
Jeff Rymes Composer
John Michael Schoepf Bass
Mark Spencer Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
Karl Straub Composer
Jim Vollentine Mixing
Randy Weeks Composer
Bonnie Whitmore Harmonia
Eleanor Whitmore Mandolin, Strings, Vocal Harmony
Kelly Willis Composer, Harmony, Primary Artist, Vocals
Todd V. Wolfson Inside Photo

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