OFFSTAGE: Kristen Kelly on Life After "Ex-Old Man"

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OFFSTAGE: Kristen Kelly on Life After "Ex-Old Man"

Published on January 18, 2013 by CMT News

Kristen Kelly
(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and
out of the spotlight.)

There’s a real good reason for the drink in Kristen Kelly’s hand. Actually, there are two.
Her ex-boyfriend and her ex-best friend. They are together in real life like they are in Kelly’s hit debut single “Ex-Old
Man,”
and they’re happily married as far as she knows. “I do not speak to them,” Kelly told me when
she was in Chicago on Tuesday (Jan. 15)
. “That’s a chapter of my life that’s over and done with.”

So now that
that’s over and done with, she has a new single (“He Loves to Make Me Cry”) and is on the road with Rascal
Flatts
. She said she’s bonded with the guys and even spent a day watching football with Jay DeMarcus, Joe Don Rooney and
Rooney’s dad. “I played the Texas scene — the dives and honky-tonks and festivals — for six years. But nothing to the extent
of these 20,000-plus arenas. It’s nerve-wracking, but I kind of feed off that energy. And the band’s been so gracious,” she
said. But as much as she loves that kind of show, she really loves the stripped-down shows that feel like you’re playing around
a campfire in somebody’s backyard.

Kelly’s list of influences is as big as her home state of Texas. From Fleetwood
Mac and Jason Mraz to Merle Haggard and Gretchen
Wilson
to Bob Seger and Will Hoge. Of course, Kelly’s tastes lean
close to home, and she’s a fan of fellow Texans Miranda Lambert,
Cory Morrow, Roger
Creager
and the Eli Young Band. But her own musical style isn’t
an exact replica of any of those sounds. “I have respect for what all those artists do,” Kelly said, “and I pull from those
influences, but I still do my own thing.”

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