By Peter Cronin
Kevin Welch Makes His Move
Kevin Welch spent the last three decades building a stellar catalog of songs and acclaimed solo and collaborative releases earning a reputation as one of Nashville's most admired singer/songwriters. Dead Reckoning - the freewheeling musical consortium he co-founded with Michael Henderson, Fats Kaplin and his fellow SESAC affiliates Kieran Kane and Tammy Rogers - has been the label home of 21 critically lauded releases over the past 15 years. For all that hard work, the artist currently finds himself living in a one-room country cabin in a tiny Texas town somewhere between Austin and San Antonio. And he could not be happier.
Signed to SESAC over a decade ago, Welch started his Nashville writing career at Sony/ATV back when it was still called Tree Publishing. Welch learned the songwriting craft alongside now-legendary songwriters like Curly Putman, Bobby Braddock, Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran.
"I was at Tree for 17 years, and it really was like going to school," Welch says. "I remember distinctly when Bobby and Curly finished 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' and the day George Jones sang it. We listened to that vocal, and it was so cool and so good and so strange; it was like we'd been visited from another planet."
Welch's move to the map dot known as Wimberley, Texas was less a case of the Music City blues than a chance to recharge creatively and get closer to his grownup kids, two of whom have followed their own musical muses to Austin. Son Dustin just finished up his first solo project, while daughter Savannah is working with up-and-coming Americana quartet, the Trishas.
With a world-class recording facility just around the corner, Wimberley is not your typical tiny Texas town. In fact, Welch started his Lone Star life in that studio, producing singer/songwriter Jason Eady's debut release. And already gestating within his cabin walls are two new solo projects, the first of which represents a distinct departure for the singer/songwriter.
"On this particular record I'm after something a little different," he says. "There's a stronger R&B element in a lot of these songs, but I'm not going to record them with a typical R&B band."
Between his own homegrown recording sessions, hanging out and performing around Austin with his talented family and scouting out the area for creative collaborators, Kevin Welch is in a very good place these days.
"My first year has been about finding out who does what around here," he says. "I've discovered some really nice rooms, some really good engineers, and so far it's been a very positive experience."