Published on August 18th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
Lost American Homecoming Show During Americana Fest
Lost American will return home for a special one-off show during this year’s Americana Fest. Lost American is the name that native Nashville singer-songwriter Chris E. Kelley currently performs under with his band in Barcelona, Spain.The outfit includes keyboardist Shorn Keld (Orto Grut) and drummer Simon Mille (Big Summer, King of Prussia). Starting his music journey in Nashville in the eighties, Kelley returns to play a special gig on September 14th at Proper Sake (628 Ewing Avenue www.propersake.co).
Wait – did it say Sake? Yes, Sake: this Tennessee native, an ancestor of whisky distilling ne’er-do-wells, is celebrating his hometown’s emerging “it-town” status by deliberately choosing a venue that illustrates his fine city’s growing reputation for creating excellent experiences that are off-the-beaten path. Oh, and his friends also run the company, so that helps too.
Lost American’s show at Proper Sake is a celebration of the release of new music and a new phase for the band. They most recently released music in late 2016 with a single entitled ‘Put Me In A Spell.’ The track has had nearly 55k views on YouTube since and upon its release received heaping praise from LOGO’s NewNowNext calling the track “Today’s version of (Pet Shop Boys) Being Boring.”
Kelley’s musical journey began when he was three years old when his parents noticed him playing along to a Temptations record on a toy piano. They enrolled him a Blair Academy of Music in Nashville, whereupon he suffered through a variety of classical composers. His older siblings introduced him to rock music; once he was old enough to wrap his hands around a guitar, he began playing in bands. He started playing Nashville’s legendary punk dive Cantrell’s when he was fifteen. Local college station WRVU started playing his band Chapel of Roses and they started to see some local buzz, releasing a 12″ single. Television’s road manager started managing them and they played all over the South, playing 40-Watt club in Athens, 608 in Atlanta, and hitting the New Music Seminar in NYC. (Kelley laughs: “I met RuPaul during his punk rock days, he’d driven up with his band from Atlanta.”) As the story goes, they eventually broke up. (More info about the band is in Rev. Keith Gordon’s book The Other Side of Nashville.) His band Saint Christopher had a productive period in the nineties in Los Angeles, creating demos, playing clubs, and even had a song featured in a foreign art film (“Not porn!” Kelley maintains.).
Lost American has certainly been inspired by a life off the beaten path, off the reservation, and off the map. The name Lost American suits Kelley well because he has been living out of the US for almost twenty years, trying to understand his homeland from abroad (and chasing handsome strangers). His wanderlust begin in earnest after the 9/11 attack on New York City: he was flying to Novosibirsk, Russia when the twin towers were felled. He soon decided he wanted to immerse himself in a life outside the United States to try to understand the often divergent opinions of his home country. Falling in love with a Bulgarian rascal sealed the deal.
Kelley kept writing and recording in his ersatz lodgings during his years living in Bulgaria and South Africa in the noughties. By the mid-teens, he and his husband were able to settle in Spain whereupon he started Lost American, playing venues in Barcelona. At this point, he was able to reflect on his experiences, recorded a bunch of songs, and released the first Lost American record in 2016. The video clip ‘Put Me in a Spell’ gained worldwide attention in gay media – no doubt for the song’s infectious chorus – or is it the handsome devils? Chris E. Kelley recently turned his attention back on his home country with the release of the video ‘Fearless Leader’ – featuring a space-bound Trump animation by Spanish artist Adolf Rodriguez, and is now focusing on live performances in the US and a new, more personal single.
Lost American is coming home. Returning to Nashville has been on Kelley’s mind for several years now. There is a keening of the spirit that calls us home. Being closer to an elderly parent and long-lost childhood friends and cherished cousins resonates deeply in him at this point of his life. Songs inspired by this journey – this path apart, beyond, and back – will now be rooted in his genesis: Nashville.Tweet