“I want to work towards a new southern strategy because my South is a South for all people,” says Nashville recording artist and proud Kentucky native Kelsey Waldon. The next step forward in Waldon’s mission for progress and equality in her beloved homeland is releasing her new E.P., They’ll Never Keep Us Down, a collection of timeless yet timely cover songs; from Neil Young’s “Ohio” to Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” to Waldon’s late friend, mentor, and record label founder John Prine’s “Sam Stone.” The E.P.’s title track, Hazel Dickens’ “They’ll Never Keep Us Down” is a power-to-the-people traditional bluegrass burner with refrains like “They’ll never shoot that union out of me” and “Your welfare ain’t on the rich man’s mind.” They all share a strong common thread; accepting the need for change and what it means to push for it. “Today in 2020, as we push for progress, sometimes it still feels like we are going backwards.” You can hear the title track below.
Additionally, Waldon is releasing three different, limited edition, colored vinyl versions of They’ll Never Keep Us Down; proceeds from the red vinyl will benefit Hood to the Holler, a non-profit organization aiming to end racial injustice in Kentucky and beyond. The blue vinyl will benefit Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, who represent coal miners and their families on issues of black lung and mine safety, and the green vinyl will benefit women veterans in the Lexington, Virginia Health Care System.
Waldon recently curated a playlist for part of Oxford American’s annual music issue. Entitled “Women of the Rural Blues,” Waldon’s playlist includes choice cuts from Ola Belle Reed, Hazel Dickens, and many more. “The music on this playlist is what I would consider to be part of the foundation of what we know as ‘country’ music today,” says Waldon. “What is the rural blues, one might ask? It’s the country blues, the mountain blues, the Delta blues, the hillbilly blues…it is country music.”
They’ll Never Keep Us Down is currently available.