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Ever More Nest

The Place That You Call Home – 2018 (Parish Road Music)

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

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The unusual name Ever More Nest is the project name for New Orleans-based, Shreveport, La.- raised singer-songwriter Kelcy Wilburn (aka Kelcy Mae). She has the poet's gift for lyrics and an engaging, lovely voice.

Mae journeyed to Nashville for "The Place That You Call Home" and gathered some of Nashville's best musicians including noted songwriter and producer Neilson Hubbard (Kim Richey), multi-instrumentalist Will Kimbrough (guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano) and Grand Ole Opry house fiddler Eamon McLoughlin. Hubbard also plays drums and Dean Marold rounds out the rhythm section. Kenny Hutson (guitar, pedal and lap steel, Dobro) joins Kimbrough, but especially shines on pedal steel. Kimbrough takes the guitar lead on eight tunes while Hutson takes two. Kelcy Mae plays guitar and piano as well.

The band name 'Ever More Nest" came from a line in a poem by Mary Ann Samyn, which Wilburn found striking in its ability to evoke both nostalgia for and discomfort with place. Thus, the song titles like "North Mississippi," the stars in "Major Tom" or her home city in "Broken Bones." Mae builds on the idea of her relationship with place, describing some songs as feeling dark, others light, some rural, others urban. Her observational songwriting is all served up for reflection as she and the band expertly meld Americana, alt.-country and rock. Her wonderful voice is so pleasing that it almost masks her gift for words. Here's one short example from the opening track "Unraveling" - "How many dotted lines will I drive alongside unraveling this life? How many will I recognize , encounter for a second and shower with lies?"

Musically, in true Hubbard style he blends the instruments beautifully, creating whatever the song needs whether it be an upbeat push or a dark, atmospheric backdrop. Some key highlights are Kimbrough's pulsating banjo in "North Mississippi," his driving electric guitar in "Paper Dolls' and the overall band sound in "Major Tom" where they create a different kind of spacy dark, but a similar vibe found in Peter Schilling's song of the same title.

With Ever More Nest's clear, soaring, emotive vocals and top shelf musicians, this is a can't miss recording.