Tim Kelly Realizes A Lifelong Dream With The Release Of His Debut Album, Ride Through The Rain
Not only did singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly produce his dad, Tim Kelly’s debut album, he was instrumental in getting him into the studio to record it. After touring and playing pedal steel on his son’s last two albums, it was encouragement from his entire family that helped Tim fulfil a lifelong dream of recording his own music, capturing his voice and story. Ride Through the Rain is a collection of nine songs, covering his life from his teens to the present day. I caught up with Tim about these songs, taking direction from his son and if this experience has inspired him to keep writing.
AnaLee: Congratulations on releasing Ride Through the Rain, Tim. Can you start with a little about your life growing up and how music became a part of who you are today?
Tim: I was born in south Alabama, but have lived all over. My Dad worked on construction projects and my Mom stayed home with five kids. We had a piano, so I started tinkering with it when I was about 7 years old. I learned to sing in church. By the time I was 12, I became interested in guitar. My Dad bought one for me for $36 and told me if I stuck with it for a year, he’d buy me an electric guitar. He had to pony up! So, music became an ever increasing part of my life and will always be.
Ana Lee: It’s been really fun and inspiring to see Ruston’s live shows with you and Abby in the band. When did the idea of putting some of your songs together in the studio start to surface and what transpired from there? I’m curious about the dynamic in the studio between you as the artist and your son as the producer.
Tim: Ruston and I have talked about me recording some of my songs for years, but as they say life got in the way and Rusty wasn’t available. When the pandemic hit and his recording/touring cycle got interrupted, he put the pressure on me (along with the rest of my family) to finish some songs I had started and get them recorded. So we did. Being in the studio together was a lot of fun. The vibe was great and the team was great. I had no problem taking direction from Ruston. I respect him as a musician and I asked him to produce the record. He took a lot of pride and ownership in gluing everything together. It was a special experience, especially having all my kids contribute.
Ana Lee: These nine songs span most of your life. How do songs you wrote from a teenage perspective and songs from the present day intersect?
Tim: Well, “Old Friends” I wrote at 18, and it feels a lot more relevant today, but maybe for different reasons. “Free” was later on in my 20’s. It still feels relevant, but again for different reasons. The rest of the songs are from the past few years and the present. I wrote “Grandma’s House” the weekend before we were to start recording. I started writing and singing songs as a way to express my feelings, like most songwriters I guess, and that’s a fundamental element still today. I’m really grateful I have the opportunity to write and play.
Ana Lee: You recently released a video for the song, “Leave This Town”, filmed at Chateau Noir studios in Nashville. Would you tell us a little about the inspiration for this song and about the video?
Tim: “Leave This Town” came out of me thinking about what it takes to overcome inertia to make one of those life altering decisions, to leave comfort, security, family, or whatever gravity is holding you back. And then actually doing it and dealing with the fallout; and then in retrospect discovering the only thing that ever held you back was you. The video was to promote the record, get it out there that I really do play and sing my songs, since I haven’t played out in a good while, and it was an opportunity for Ruston and I to sing together, something we really don’t get to do that often.
Ana Lee: I also wanted to include the video for the song, “Better Man”. The song is so descriptive, it really made me think of my dad, who was born in ’23. The opening line being, “he was born in ‘24”. Is this about your dad?
Tim: Yes. My dad was a big influence on me. He grew up during the Great Depression and he actually did drive a blue Chevrolet Cheyenne. He had a lot of homespun wisdom that I benefited from. I miss him everyday.
Ana Lee: Has the experience of recording and releasing Ride Through The Rain stirred your creative spirit to write and record more songs? Thanks for chatting today, Tim.
Tim: It has. One of the goals for me writing all the songs that wound up on the record is, hopefully, to open the door to writing more with the creative people I’ve met in Nashville and if I’m lucky, a few of my songwriting heroes. I’m always working on songs and hope to have a collection to record again when the time is right.
“Leave This Town”