By Marilyn Delk
Elden Kelly will bring his talents to Arcanum Historical Society’s Wayne Trail House on Thursday, April 20 to close Darke County Center for the Arts Coffee House Series season; however, those talents are somewhat difficult to describe. According to the agency that handles bookings for the singer/songwriter/guitarist, Elden “really needs to be experienced in person,” a recommendation that I feel confident to pass along because his agent is Jamie-Sue Seal.
Jamie-Sue, herself a delightful artist who has performed in our community, enthusiastically represents an array of excellent artists who make their living doing what they were born to do in spite of the fact that they are not (yet) famous; and I have learned that she can be trusted to never represent anything less than first-rate musicians who fit perfectly into DCCA’s delightful Coffee House Series which provides first-rate entertainment in a casual intimate setting at a low ticket cost. And here is what she said when contacted to comment on Elden Kelly: “He is simply extraordinary and one of the kindest people you will ever come in contact with, almost unnervingly full of grace, quiet confidence, and calmness. You will enjoy him so much!”
Jamie-Sue’s comment is re-assuring and impactful, because I know that I can trust what she says. However, it doesn’t exactly provide great publicity fodder. The description provided in Elden Kelly’s promotional materials tell you that he is a seasoned jazz improviser, highly skilled guitar stylist, and songwriter who will “add a remarkable flair to any lineup.” Elden captivates audiences with his impressive guitar techniques, virtuosic songwriting, and a voice that has been compared to Jeff Buckley’s. He mixes classical, jazz, and world music, evoking traces of American roots, Latin, flamenco, Indian, modern swing, and African polyrhythms. Obviously, Elden cuts his own path through the music world to bring uniquely outstanding music to his audiences.
Originally from Vermont, Elden earned a degree in Contemporary Improvisation at Boston’s prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, where he also served as a teaching assistant. In 2008, Michigan State University offered the aspiring musician a full scholarship coupled with a teaching assistant position; there he earned a graduate degree in Ethnomusicology. He continues to be an active educator, teaching guitar and leading workshops in Lansing while working as a composer, guitar virtuoso, and vocalist to create music beyond genre borders.
My informant Jamie-Sue admits that her talented client is impossible to pigeonhole, but says that he possesses the multi-faceted talents of stellar musicianship and engaging performance. Skills. “A once-in-a-lifetime lightning strike of talent makes him an amazing artist … much in demand from venues who look to bring in the extraordinary.” So okay, Jamie-Sue has made her point that Elden Kelly needs to be seen to be believed. You are invited to join me as I take Jamie-Sue’s advice to see for myself, and experience what promises to be an excellent concert by an outstanding musician.
Another enticement to attend this show is that it will take place in the charming, welcoming space of Arcanum Historical Society’s Wayne Trail House where Historical Society members generously go to great lengths to provide an enticing array of food and drink for concert-goers; their exemplary hospitality helps make for a delightful and memorable experience. To purchase your tickets, contact DCCA at www.DarkeCountyArts.org, or call 937-547-0908. Tickets are also available at the DCCA office located on the third floor of Greenville Public Library, and, if any remain, will be available at the door the night of the show. DCCA office hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m., and by appointment.