Jadea Kelly: Live at Hamilton’s Mills Hardware

Jadea Kelly

With the recent release of her latest EP, “Met While Incarcerated,” singer-songwriter Jadea Kelly just embarked on a brief tour of Southern Ontario to promote and share the new music. Seeing Jadea perform a handful of tracks at the Home County Music and Arts Festival in London, ON, last summer, we knew that a future full concert date with her was essential, and with the announcement of a Saturday night show in Hamilton, ON, it was one we absolutely could not afford to miss.

Entrusting the opening duties to her friends, and local country-rock band, The Redhill Valleys, this talented quartet delivered their up-tempo and infectious music for their home town venue. Comprised of Tim Allard (guitars/vocals), Danielle Beaudin (guitar/vocals), Chelsea McWilliams (bass/vocals) and Matt Soliveri (percussion), The Redhill Valleys shared a selection of music from their 2016 self-titled album, and added a few new compositions into the mix too.

With more than a fair share of their local fan base in attendance on this Saturday night, the crowd were delighted to hear some of their popular tracks, including both “Lay Me Down,” and “Either Or.” “This one is a very special song for us, it’s on our first album,” offered Chelsea when introducing “Either Or.” “Our only album,” added Tim, with perfect comedic timing. Tim would also add a little extra sauce on the lead guitar during “Lay Me Down,” working in the popular riff from “Tequila” midway through the song. “We have been slowly, but surely, working on some new songs for a new album,” explained Chelsea, before offering the lead vocals to Tim for a brand new number, “Travel Well.”

The band would later perform their recent 2018 single, “Take A Lot Of Pain, which is always a pleasure to experience live, and add another new track, the bluesy “Finish Line. With time for one last number, the lead vocals were passed from Chelsea to Tim once more for their loud and lively finale, “Ragged & Run Down.” Another great set from this Hamilton quartet, who warmed up the crowd with ease, and once again left me wondering why The Redhill Valleys are not yet headlining their own shows. A very talented Hamilton band that everybody should check out.

The Redhill Valleys Set List:

If I Didn’t Know You
Lay Me Down
Either Or
Living In Yesterday
Travel Well
Don’t Wanna Leave
Take A Lot Of Pain
Finish Line
Ragged & Run Down

Following a brief intermission, Jadea Kelly and her band would appear from the dark confines of the backstage area and take their places on the stage at Mills Hardware. Launching straight into her slow and moving interpretation of “Amazing Grace,” Jadea would share all five tracks from her brand new “Met While Incarcerated” EP throughout the course of the evening. Joined on stage by Brian MacMillan (guitars/vocals), Johnny Spence (keyboards), Bret Higgins (bass), and Gary Craig (percussion), Jadea would quickly address the room. “We wanted to make you guys feel special tonight, so we’re all wearing cosmetic glitter on our faces,” she shared, eliciting chuckles from the room as she turned to the drums. “Gary, our drummer, he’s never put it on before; he went a little overboard, but he looks good though.”

Prior to the performance of “Bad Like Me,” also from the EP, Jadea would surprise the room by introducing her friend (and Brian’s musical partner from ‘Kennedy Road’) Sheila Carabine, who added her phenomenal harmonies for the remainder of the evening. “Tonight we’re here celebrating an EP, which is actually a soundtrack to this amazing new documentary called ‘Met While Incarcerated,’ and it’s airing on the CBC right now,” explained Jadea. “I was approached by the director about a year and a half ago to write all of the music.” Two of the tracks on the EP are reworked versions of both “Mercy” and “Beauty” from her 2016 “Love & Lust” album, and both would be performed on this evening.

Endearing herself easily to the room with her natural charm and good natured humor, Jadea would offer props to her drummer “Gary Glitter” after his great contribution during “Mercy.” Sharing “Beauty” later in the set, Jadea would address the room once more. “Are you all ready to cry as a group of people?” she asked. “Sorry, it’s part of the set, everyone has to cry, we might as well just let it all out together.” Sandwiched between the two “Love & Lust” tracks, Jadea would perform a brand new composition titled “Roses.” “This next song is actually brand new and I nearly fainted the past two nights playing this, but you guys seem like a supportive audience, right? You’ll catch me if I fall?” she asked. “I think in our lives there is light and love falling around us all day long, and often times we get so concentrated on that little thorn in our side that we can’t really let the love right in, and that’s what this song is about.”

Offering gratitude to both Brian and Sheila, Jadea asked the audience to show their appreciation for Kennedy Road, before announcing that the duo would be opening all of her remaining ON shows. And as both Gary and Johnny took a brief hiatus from the stage, Bret would remain with his upright bass to accompany Sheila, Jadea and Brian, who huddled together around one microphone to deliver the remaining EP track, “Make Peace With It.” Offering some stunning and deeply moving three part vocal harmonies, this was easily the highlight performance of the evening. Appreciative of the applause and audience response to this moment, Johnny and Gary would discreetly return, before the band closed with “Good Girl,” a track from Jadea’s back catalog that she stated was requested prior to the show.

Returning to the stage for an encore performance, Jadea opted to close her Mills Hardware set with another brand new composition, titled “The Birds. “About two years ago I did some edibles with some friends, and I wrote this song,” she explained, whilst sporting a mischievous grin on her face. “And this song, when we were all in the moment of laughing our asses off for five hours straight, we thought it was amazing, and then we listened [again] the next morning, and we were unsure.” With the audience fully engaged, Jadea would pause for effect, before continuing with her tale. “This song is about being an artist; it’s about flying with the birds, and flying into the unknown, and trying to have faith and flying away from the pack. If you’re an artist in the room tonight, you’ll get it.

Jadea Kelly Set List:

Amazing Grace
Bad Like Me
Any Old Boat
Make It Easy
Make Peace With It
Good Girl
Encore: The Birds

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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