Vibrant singer-songwriter Taylor Kelly joins us for a Key Studio Session this week, showcasing new songs and a stellar live band. With a half dozen years in Philly and a robust catalog of independent projects under her belt, she’s an artist whose work grows more impressive with each release; and we were pretty impressed when we first heard her in 2017.
Writing about her at the time for the Bandcamp-hunting Items TaggedPhiladelphia feature, I said “blending jazz tones and electronic pop, Do U Feel Me, Kelly’s third long player…sits nicely along the work of Eryn Allen Kane, Sampha and Sylvan Esso.” Since that time, I’ve been drawn further into Kelly’s reliably great catalog, from collaborations with artists like Zeek Burse and A Day Without Love, to projects like the neo-soul vibing All I Need EP. I’ve been wowed by her live sets opening for Monophonics at World Cafe Live and St. Paul and the Broken Bones at Brooklyn Bowl Philly, or headlining the Kimmel Center’s happy hour sessions; she’s a charismatic entertainer with boundless energy, and a relatable friend sharing a vulnerable moment with you from the stage. And with a big Johnny Brenda’s gig next week, we brought Kelly and her expansive band into WXPN studios to document that experience.
Backed impressively by keys player Lonell Johnson III; guitarists Eoin Murphy and Dave D’Arville; the suave rhythm section of bassist Zachary Guise and drummer Matthew Chenery; and horns care of sax player Ravi Seenarine, trombonist Jasyn Brazoban, and trumpeter Andrew Carson, Kelly and her songs sound divine in this performance. For added excitement, the setlist is almost entirely made up of unreleased cuts. After the opening of performance of “Maybe,” a smooth single from 2021, we hear pensive soul vibes (“Sometimes”), psychedelia wrapped in fervent drum-and-bass rhythms (“Take Me”), and a soaring pop song based around a hooky piano lead (“Let You Go”). The next thing Kelly plans to release is a live album — recorded at that aforementioned Brooklyn Bowl Philly gig — but this session has us incredibly excited for her next next release, where we imagine these songs will get studio treatments.
Watch Taylor Kelly’s Key Studio Session below, and for more, make plans to see her play Johnny Brenda’s with Great Time and Jasmine Cassell on Wednesday, April 12th; tickets and more information can be found at WXPN’s Concerts and Events page.