June 30, 2023
McKinney Performing Arts Center, Courtroom Theater
111 N. Tennessee St.
McKinney, TX 75069
$34 advanced. $37 day of show. Reserved seating
McKinney Main Street & MPAC Presents: Kelly Willis
Friday, June 30, 2023
The Reigning Queen of Americana
Kelly Willis, Austin’s reigning queen of Americana, was emboldened by a jolting shot of nothing-left-to-lose early in her career. Signed by a major label in 1990, she released three strong, critically acclaimed albums that just never took off. Dropped by the label and free of those restrictions, she set about making 1999’s aptly-titled “What I Deserve” her way and it changed everything. “A big part of making that record was me thinking, ‘I’ll probably never get to make another one after this, so if this has to be my swan song, I’m not going to compromise,’” she says today. “That was a really big sea change for me to take the reins like that… It was a pivotal moment that fueled the rest of my career.”
Nearly twenty-five years later, after four children and six albums, Willis is slowly embracing the most recent sea change in her life and career, a divorce from singer-songwriter/producer husband Bruce Robison. She candidly admits that the whole business of “starting over” — especially musically — can be scary, but she’s getting the hang of it.
She’s happy to be playing shows again, connecting with fans old and new, and excited about working on a new trio project with sister soulmates Brennen Leigh and Melissa Carper. She’s writing more, in the creative process of planning an album she wants to release in 2024 and, gasp! Dare we hope for more? Perhaps a 25th anniversary re-release of "What I Deserve," expanded with bonus demo tracks and maybe even a vintage live show?!