He made a name for himself as a pop singer-songwriter, but Josh Kelley is now the latest in a string of folks seeking solace in Nashville. The Georgia native has signed with Universal Music Nashville on the strength of some demos he cut for other artists, and hopes to release a soul-flavored country music debut early next year. “Country is where I’m going to live out the rest of my career,” Kelley tells EW. “This is the style and level of songwriting that I’ve always wanted. I’m coming home.”
Of course, there’s already a prominent Kelley in country music: Josh’s younger brother Charles, one-third of Lady Antebellum. “Charles is the main person that convinced me [to go country],” Kelley says. “And if Charles says something — all 6’7” of him — you really do listen. He wears a damn song out if he likes it. And when I sent him ‘Gone Like That,’ he said he listened to it every day, all day long.” Give it a spin after the jump and see if you agree:
[ewbrightcove “29888952001”, “51181592001”, “400”, “400”]
Other tracks Kelley has pegged for the album include “Naleigh Moon,” written for the daughter he and wife Katherine Heigl recently adopted from Korea, and the upbeat track “Great Idea” — for which Heigl might try to direct a video. “It’s her favorite song,” Kelley says. “She’s never wanted to do that with any of my songs, but when she heard that, she perked up. There’s gonna be a lot of upbeat songs on this album, because at the end of the day, people wanna shake it.”
What do you think, Mixers? Any Kelley fans out there ready for this transition — and can he separate himself from the rest of the very large pack of dudes vying for country radio airplay? Does “Gone Like That” get it done fer ya? And who’s psyched for the prospect of a Heigl-directed music video?
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)
More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Allison Iraheta’s ‘Friday I’ll Be Over U’ video: Slezak breaks it down!
Norah Jones: Current listening
Peter Gabriel covers Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Regina Spektor: When rock worlds collide
Neil Young’s ‘One of These Days’: An EW exclusive stream from his new live album
New Grizzly Bear video ‘Ready, Able’: Viva la claymation