Singing country tunes has been a labour of love for Halbrite singer Kelly J. Gill, and when a single began doing well in the huge Los Angeles market, he found that he is very much enjoying the success this is bringing him.
Gill recorded an album, “One More Mile”, in Nashville, and released “The Stranger” as a single. He was informed late last year that the song placed No. 1 on L.A. radio station KMIX and their affiliated stations, the first time he’s experienced this level of success for one of his songs. The album was also named by the station as the best country album by an independent artist.
“It’s a depiction of the Old West, where a sheriff got shot in the back and he came back for revenge,” said Gill in describing the song. He noted a second single from this album, called, “Another 26 Oz. Illusion”, is currently doing well in the same market and is trending towards that same No. 1 position.
Another song that has been finding popularity as an inspirational song, “The Valley”, benefitted from fiddle work provided by Jason Roller, who is the fiddle player for Wynonna Judd, and was able to sit in on the recording when he was in Nashville.
Gill keeps busy in the Halbrite area as a rancher and a battery operator, so when the radio station held a reception to hand out the award for his No. 1 song, he found he was too busy to make it down to Los Angeles.
His life on the ranch has provided some inspiration for song-writing, and even to funny incidences, as he related one story about a song he had an idea for while driving his tractor.
One day he was driving a 1949 Massey with a swather, and was cutting grass in a ditch, and a song idea came to him. Lacking a pad of paper to write down the words, he wrote it on the fender of the tractor.
At one point, his swather hit a rock, and he had to stop and get down to fix it, and found when he returned to the tractor that he had smeared the words on the fender, and was frustrated when he tried to remember what he wrote that he couldn’t come up with words in the way they first came to him.
Gill performs with a band of local musicians, called the Hired Guns, and has been able to keep fairly busy with gigs in the region. His band includes bass player Neil Atkinson, Wayne Honig on piano and Grant Honig on steel guitar. He doesn’t have a drummer currently, using an electronic drum program to help keep travel costs down for the band.
He and the band have some upcoming dates lined up, including at the Long Creek Saloon in Radville on Saturday, May 19, and the Alameda Fair on Saturday, June 9.
“It keeps us busy and we enjoy it,” said Gill. “We love to interact with the crowd. We just include them as much as we can, and have as much fun as we can.”