A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Dec 2, 2010
In a word, Beth Kille is ready. On the verge, and glad for it.
Her life will soon change in a most profound way and she’s about to share her most personal album to date with the world.
In just two months, the Madison musician and her husband will welcome their first child. And tomorrow she’s releasing a new album, not-coincidentally titled Ready, at the Cadillac Joe Memorial Winter Festival at the Majestic Theatre.
The album is her first full-length solo project since her band, Clear Blue Betty, split up in 2008. The group racked up several Madison Area Music Awards and released three CDs, but disbanded when Kille and her husband Tony—a doctor and the band’s drummer—moved to Texas for his work.
“It was good to be forced to expand and be on my own,” Kille says. “It was startling how much I hid behind the band.”
In Texas, she started taking guitar and vocal lessons, and spent time in Nashville studying the craft of songwriting and music theory. She eventually transitioned from working as a physical therapist and performing on the side to being a fulltime musician.
Allowing herself unlimited time for making music changed Kille’s life—and the way she experiences it. Grand events, years-deep worries, messages on license plates and the details of everyday life found their way into her lyrics. “As you start walking through the world as a songwriter, you see it everywhere,” she says of her inspirations.
Such variety helped inform Ready, which she began recording at Paradyme Productions in Madison this spring, just after she learned she was pregnant.
One of the songs, “Feel My Love,” carried new meaning now that Kille was expecting. She wrote it while she was struggling to get pregnant, wondering if pursuing her music dream had eclipsed her desire to be a mother. And the title song “Ready” was also poignant. It’s about being open to whatever comes along in life, Kille says, and she couldn’t help but break down as she recorded it. “This song is just so meaningful to me,” she says.
But not all the songs on Ready are so emotionally heavy. “Left to Imagination” touches on Kille’s fear as a performer that people might admire her from afar but be disappointed when they take a closer look. And “Cricket in Kitchen” is a rocking reminder of how wildlife had taken over their Montecello home during their stint in Texas.
“I feel like there’s a lot of honesty on this album—and a ton of diversity as well,” she says.
Ready is deeply personal, not just in Kille sharing her dreams and fears, but also in how much control she had over all the decisions, including choosing guest artists. Her husband performs on drums, and she hand-picked local artists such as Chris Wagoner and Mary Gaines of the Stellanovas, Scott Lamps, Jaye Barbeau, Brian Schiro and Aaron Williams to be featured.
Kille considers the album a good reflection of where she’s at—growing and gaining confidence musically and at a turning point in her life personally.
“It’s scary but liberating,” she says.
But she’s ready for it.
Beth Kille performs and releases Ready at the Cadillac Joe Memorial Winter Festival at the Majestic Theatre on December 3. For more information, visit majesticmadison.com, bethkille.com or myspace.com/bethkille.
Photo by John Murray and courtesy of Beth Kille.