This interview was originally published on April 11, 2012. See Kelly McFarling at Eddie’s Attic on December 28, 2014.
Homegrown and haunting,Kelly McFarling‘s voice spirals powerfully, and progressively over a bed of oldtimey instrumentation. She is from Atlanta, GA, where she learned to sing in church choirs and baseball stadiums, and learned to write through the stories of Flannery O’ Connor and Toni Morrison. She has since wandered out West, where she can be found in the back rooms of San Francisco bars plucking her Banjo and singing siren songs. Dubbed ‘original rhythm and Bluegrass,’ her songs are inspired by hard truths and transitions, with bold honest lyrics and authentic melodies that stay with you long after the song is over. McFarling’s outgoing and adventurous spirit comes through in her lyrics, her live performances, and in the music’s indulgence in elements outside its clear influences of folk, oldtime, blues and country.
What’s the first gig you’ve ever attended?
My first big gig I went to was Dave Matthews Band Satellite tour at the Omni in Atlanta. My Dad came and sat across the amphitheater with binoculars.
What is the best gig that you’ve ever played/performed?
That’s a tough one – as I’ve played so many different ones…I think one of the best was winning the Eddie’s Attic open mic shootout, and then playing a full set at Eddie’s the following night to a bunch of family and old friends.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
I saw Bon Iver play at the Independent in San Francisco on Easter Sunday in 2008. I was falling in love at the time, and the show was so beautiful and unexpected. He had the whole place absolutely silent, and it was just three of them. I had never heard his music before – I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I saw him again at the Greek Theater two years later – but I’ll always remember the smaller more intimate show as being a very special musical experience for me.
Gig you would most like to play?
I’d absolutely love to play the Hardley Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco someday! Its my dream gig!
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
Hmmm – thats another tough one –
I would love to play with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlins on the Banjo Stage at Hardley Strictly Bluegrass Festival. They have been huge inspirations to me, and I always go see their set at Hardley Strictly. They create a wave of magic over the whole park. I’d love to be part of that. I also love to share a bill with either Neko Case, Laura Marling or Anais Mitchell at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. They are all amazing and haunting women who writeincredible songs. I admire folks who are great musicians but who can also spin their truth in elegant and honest ways. The Great American Music Hall is a great place to see a show in San Francisco, and the green rooms are classy too:)
Don’t miss Kelly McFarling at Eddie’s Attic on December 28th, 2014.