Kelsey Lewis was born on December 31, 1994. She is from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and has been singing and performing since she was six. Her debut album is BEAUTIFUL VIEW (2013, Vintage Pig Productions). It was produced by Richie Biggs who has worked with the likes of The Civil Wars and George Strait, and Mark Hill who has worked with Reba McEntire. In the liner notes Kelsey writes: “First, I want to thank my God, who knew me from the beginning; who has loved me then and still loves me now. He has walked me through each triumph and battle, and has placed music in my heart”.
The title track ‘Beautiful View’ is up first. It was penned by Kelsey (a co-writer on all nine originals), Mark Hill, Mike Manning, and Richie Biggs. It is a light pop love song: “You flipped my wild world upside down/Perspective’s turning new/Now down is up and you and me equals two/Getting lost inside your big brown eyes/There’s nothing I’d rather do/I’m so hypnotized and mesmerized/Ohhhhh/What a beautiful view (2X)/Honey looking at you/Oh, you’re beautiful”. Charlie Peacock’s son Sam Ashworth performs backing vocals on ‘Ruby Red Shoes’. It is the folk/pop song of one infatuated with another: “Dancin’ with the fireflies/Under the starlit sky/Up, up away it’s true/Just two clicks of my shiny shoes/I’m soarin’ higher/Just past cloud 9/Get up, get out, get away/Come on fly with me/Jump up, what’s your fantasy?/Sha-shake that sugar tree/Do just what you wanna do/Just take a walk in my ruby red shoes”.
‘Up in The Air’ is a wonderful ballad that uses strings and glockenspiel. Christine Dente, of Out of the Grey fame, sings backing vocals. Those who are facing uncertain situations will relate to these lyrics: “Don’t know where I’m going now/I’m excitedly scared/All these changes getting me prepared/I’m all up in the air from here/Don’t know where this wind is gonna blow me/Holding on to my prayers and tears/Cause I know that in time, they’re gonna grow me/Think I’m half way there/Don’t know where there is/I’m all up in the air”. Dustin Ransom plays piano and Matt Slocum the cello on ‘Falling’. It is a song of contentment: “Breathing in and breathing out/This wonderful lift within me now/No words exist to explain this/Sweet love I’ve found inside/And swaying to my strumming heart/As music slowly begins to start/Notes form a song, I’m singing along/A romance lullaby”.
‘Don’t Write a Song’ is a groovy rock tale of heartbreak: “You led me on like a dog to a bone/But in the end, I was really alone/The whole time/I thought you would be mine/But I guess I was wrong/Can’t believe I could be this naive/You seemed so sweet, but were merely a tease/Opened my heart, left it fully exposed/And so the storyline goes”. ‘Naive’ uses piano, electric guitar ambience, violin, viola, and cello. It finds Kelsey hurting: “And now/Why did I ever trust you?/Your words were just a lure/To hook my naive heart/And how could you just easily turn away/Without an ounce of apology?/I guess I really had you wrong/So long, so long”.
‘When Pigs Fly’ is a peppy pop song that finds Kelsey reflecting on a guy: “Time moves on/I’m glad you’re gone/Fixing you is like/Trying to teach a pig to fly/Up in that ba-loo-loo sky/You’re never gonna happen, but hey, why not try?/You’re like waiting for the sunshine in the darkest time of night/Twelve o’clock to be exact/You’re never gonna happen/It’s just a fact/Just a fact (2X)/But I still keep on dreamin’”. One of the co-writers on ‘Talking to the Sky’ is Mark Heimermann. This song uses B3 organ and violin and puts into words how it feels when God seems silent: “Show me something to lift me/Out of this empty atmosphere/Take me somewhere that frees me/So all this doubt can disappear/Give me a sign/Talking to the sky/Searching for an answer/Silence in my life/Are You even there?/Waiting for a sign/Help with second guessing/Feeling unaligned/Do You even care?”
Jerry McPherson plays electric guitar on ‘Calendar’. It conveys a sense of romantic longing: “I miss those brown eyes/The way they talk and whisper into mine/I miss those starlit skies/Where we spin our dreams and secrets side by side/Oooooo/I miss your laugh and your smile/Why couldn’t you stay for a while?/You got me counting off the days”. Ending things off is a cool cover of the playful classic ‘Catch a Falling Star’. It was penned by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss. Perry Como made it famous in 1957. It was his last #1 hit.
Kelsey Lewis has quite simply knocked BEAUTIFUL VIEW out of the ballpark! Her sweet and convincing vocals are right at home with the alternative pop, jazz, and folk sounds on this album. Kelsey’s influences include: Adele, Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, and Etta James. The production is spot on. The lyrics seem genuinely born from her experiences in life. I would in the future though, like her to write a few more songs about her faith journey. Kelsey Lewis is an exciting up and coming artist who deserves to get a lot of airplay. The pics of Kelsey included with this project are lovely. I’m rating BEAUTIFUL VIEW 95%. For more info visit: www.kelseylewismusic.com.