Just Plain Folks Finalist!
"Birds and Stones" was chosen as a finalist for Best Americana Song! According to their website, they screened over 17,400 Albums and 240K songs, in over 70 genres of music... from entries submitted between 2010-2016.
Americana UK review of "Hearts and Home"
Talented Americana singer-songwriter from America’s Northwest makes her return to the music scene, with a sensitive, wistful and lyrically excellent set of material.
'Hearts And Home' is Kelly Brightwell's first album in ten years. Presently living in Portland, Oregon… [she] won praise back in 2004 with her debut EP, 'Wait For Your Spring'. It wasn’t till now she felt there was a way of combining marriage, being a mother with her beloved music. Combining folk, 1970s Laurel Canyon-era and a little country Brightwell builds up emotional impetus on such pleading songs as ”The Rain And The Radio“ with the loose, pop hinted ”Prairie Fairy Tale“ and languid ”Clouds In The Water“. This as she speaks of how the city takes her as she walks down by the river and sees the reflections of clouds in the water. While her song, the introspective ”Walden“ oozes a rare quality as her beautiful vocals alongside sympathetic playing of guitar, percussion and keyboards (Jean Pierre Garau) it seems to gain strength and a powerful momentum lesser acts struggle to access, never mind develop.
Displaying similar attributes to Shawn Colvin on her best tracks (as in the poetic ”The Rain And The Radio“; hints of Colvin's Fat City days?), as shows of great pluck and determination take hold. And as like spring flowers the songs blossom beautifully. It helps a little to hear some tracks a time or two before the depth of her mature songwriting is appreciated fully. Tracks of significant impact include the pedal steel, travel-like song ”Treeline“, this as she gives, considerable room for Paul Brainard (he also plays slide) to establish his sound, lead guitarist, Bob Dunham likewise is given the opportunity to shine on the record. Amidst the tightly woven, tapestry of sound Brightwell reaches out in impressive style on the melancholy, steel etched ”Lightning’s Goodbye“; and on pulling into the station at the end of the journey Brightwell and her band, Blame perform ”Already Home“. A wistful affair it has her focus, strongly on carving out an inimitable vocal style; arguably her finest attribute. For she leans into a lyric, and not only sings it or drift along with the music but meticulously nurture the product. Why not, she wrote them.
by Maurice Hope, Americana UK Magazine
Praise for "Hearts and Home"
Kelly writes songs that are evolved, with themes that are literary, meditative, and explore parallels between our lives and nature. She sings with the smoothness of Sarah McLachlan, but with a bit more Americana grit and charm."
-Rob Stroup, 8 Ball Studio, The Blame
“The music on this album is a living reflection of the warmth, intellect, intensity and light that pours from within her.”
-Tom D’Antoni, Oregon Music News
“With her new album, "Hearts And Home", Kelly Brightwell has marked a wonderful return to music making and has established her gorgeous voice and stellar songwriting as a true talent in the over-crowded folk and Americana scene.”
-Justin Kreitzer, Dayton City Paper
Buzz about "Wait for your Spring"
Honorable Mention in the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase, 2004
"Kelly crafts achingly beautiful songs and delivers them with simple grace.”
-Green Note House Concerts – Chicago, IL
"...clear acoustic guitar and lush, flowing vocals…”
-The Onion A.V. Club
"Her smooth, evocative contemporary folk recalls Jonatha Brooke, but she’s definitely her own woman.”
-Isthmus – Madison, WI
“Haunting… never ceases to be mesmerizing… amazing lyrical prowess"
-Reader Weekly – Duluth, MN
“Deeper than your standard java-fueled folk"
-Minnesota Monthly Magazine