Kevin Stephen Welch is an American country music artist. He has charted five singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and released eight studio albums. He is also one of the cofounders of the Dead Reckoning Records label, which he founded with fellow musicians Kieran Kane, Tammy Rogers, Mike Henderson, and Harry Stinson.
After looking at the cover of Gillian Welch's debut album, Revival, and listening to the first two cuts, "Orphan Girl" and "Annabelle," you'd be tempted to imagine that Welch somehow stumbled into a time machine after cutting some tunes at the 1927 Bristol, TN, sessions and was transported to a recording studio in Los Angeles in 1996, where T-Bone Burnett was on hand and had the presence of mind to roll tape.
When Gillian Welch released her debut album, Revival, in 1996, plenty of listeners and critics were taken aback by her strikingly accomplished re-creation of the sound and mindset of country music of the '20s and '30s, as if she'd miraculously stepped out of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music into Nashville in the late 20th century. It soon became common knowledge that Welch was born in New York City and had attended the Berklee School of Music, leading many to question the sincerity of the artist and the validity of the work. Twenty years later, Welch has released Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg, a collection of outtakes, demos, and alternate versions committed to tape before or during the making of Revival.
While it wasn't unexpected given his advanced age and health, the death of gospel bluesman Leo "Bud" Welch in 2017 felt altogether too soon. The Delta bluesman from Sabougla, Mississippi had been performing for most of his life. He gigged in juke joints, opened for touring artists such as B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, and John Lee Hooker, and played in church, but he didn't release an album until he was 81. 2014's Sabougla Voices was a "Sunday morning" gospel-blues album of songs he'd learned, written, or improvised on the spot. He followed it a year later with his "Saturday night sinner's record," I Don’t Prefer No Blues, and toured the globe. In 2018, he was the subject of the documentary film, Late Blossom Blues: The Journey of Leo "Bud" Welch. Welch cut The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name in Nashville with producer Dan Auerbach and his band the Arcs (that included the late Richard Swift), at his Easy Eye Sound label and studio in Nashville in 2015.
Kevin Welch is a card-carrying member of the Texas school of songwriting, and it is easy to reel off the names of some of his classmates: If you like Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Joe Ely, or any one of a dozen or so other literate singer/songwriters with a Southwest sensibility who have been in and out of Nashville since the 1960s, then you'll like Kevin Welch, too…