Jadea Kelly – Living in Clover

Alt-folk singer-songwriter launches her new CD at The Spill on June 26

Jadea Kelly (photo: Jen Squires)
Jadea Kelly (photo: Jen Squires)

When you choose to pursue a life in music, triumphs can be few and far between, and finding a unique and compelling voice can be as rare as finding a four-leaf clover.

Thankfully, with her new release Clover, Jadea Kelly has found her voice, and it’s an intriguing marriage of both old and new.

Featuring heavy orchestration, layered harmonies and sonic space, Clover represents a significant musical shift for Jadea — a unique union of Iris De Ment’s vocal ache and heavy Portishead ambience and percussion.

Inspired and named after her grandfather’s farm in rural Ontario, Clover touches on the relationship between farming and working as a musician.

“Much like farming, working as a touring musician offers little financial reward, nor does it provide a guaranteed retirement,” explains Jadea. “Despite this, I am fully dedicated. It is my passion and it is stitched into the very fabric of my being. Whether performing in a large hall or sowing a field with seeds, both professions are a calling and require a love of land and art.”

Although she was raised in suburban Whitby, Jadea’s family has worked the land for three generations, and it was at the family farm in the Kingston area where Jadea composed most of the songs on Clover.

Even the record’s production is rooted in tradition. Recorded at the Woodshed Studio in Toronto and produced by Stew Crookes (Hawksley Workman, Doug Paisley, One Hundred Dollars), Clover was tracked in analog to two-inch tape.

“For a majority of the band — including myself — this was the first time in our recording history that we had tracked without the trance of a glowing computer screen,” Jadea says. “Instead of judging a song based on how it appears and physically looks on screen, we closed our eyes and chose a take on how it felt.”

Best known for her vocal work with Canadian folk artist Catherine MacLellan and metal band Protest The Hero, Jadea hadn’t released a solo record since Eastbound Platform in 2010. That independent effort earned her a nomination from the Canadian Folk Music Awards for emerging artist of the year, appearances on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café, Canadian festival performances, European house concert tours, and a CBC-recorded performance at the Stewart Park Folk Festival.

Unfortunately, it also led to exhaustion from heavy touring. In 2012, she finally left the road, moved into the rented room of a Toronto home, and grew her first-ever garden. Perhaps it was the familial farming spirit, but solace, peace and reflection came while she rested and tilled the soil — as did 30 to 40 acoustic demo recordings. These demos were completely stripped down and quickly circulated throughout the musical community.

Stew Crookes took note of the emotive and angelic vulnerability of these demos and managed to lure the core strength and determination you can hear in Jadea’s voice on Clover. With the help of Toronto players like Jason Sniderman (Blue Peter), Tom Juhas (Ride the Tiger/Friendly Rich), Nigel Hebblewhite (Run With The Kittens), and Gary Craig (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), Stew weaved a unique assortment of ambient guitars, haunting organ pads, synth bass, and delayed string arrangements to support the rich texture of Jadea’s voice.

Album art for Clover
Album art for Clover
Released through Darth Jadea Music and Divergent Recordings in May, Clover is available worldwide.

Jadea is kicking off the release with a small promotional tour in Canada — including a stop in Peterborough at The Spill on June 26 — to be followed by tours in North America and Europe over the fall and winter.

For more information about Jadea, visit her website at www.darthjadea.com.

You can also like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter at @JadeaKelly

“Wild West Rain” from Clover by Jadea Kelly

“Wanderers” by Mayhemingways

Peterborough alt-country band Mayhemingways — featuring Benj Rowland (vocals, guitar, and accordian), Josh Fewings (drums), and Diamond Dave Russell (bass) — will open for Jadea at The Spill. For more information about Mayhemingways, visit their website at mayhemingways.wordpress.com and their Facebook page.

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Jeannine Taylor
Jeannine Taylor is the CEO, founder, and publisher of kawarthaNOW.com and a contributing writer. She's a self-professed geek and early adopter. Jeannine has over 30 years of experience in marketing, media and communications, and web development. She has been a digital media publisher for over 25 years since kawarthaNOW.com was launched online as Quid Novis in 1996. Her awards include Peterborough's Business Woman of the Year in 2005, a Premier's Award nominee in 2003, and a City of Peterborough Civic Award for chairing the development of Millennium Park. She's also a vegetarian, music lover and, cultural enthusiast. Jeannine would rather be at the cottage kayaking or hanging out with @caitthebordercollie. You can follow her on Instagram @wired_woman or on Twitter @wiredwoman.